If you’re camping in damp and cold environments, finding a way to start a fire (and keep it going) can be difficult for even the most seasoned survivalists. When building a campfire or bonfire, there are a few crucial elements you need. The first is tinder, which are twigs and other small pieces; kindling, which consists of sticks; and firewood, which are the larger logs you probably associate a campfire with.
The problem is that the tinder and kindling around you might be less than ideal, making it hard to get it to keep burning long enough to light those larger logs. That’s why fire-starter squares come in handy. They often come in small, breakable pieces, which somewhat resemble chocolate or wafer bars. Firestarter squares will often be made out of materials like recycled wood pieces, wax and sometimes even old newspaper. They can help supplement tinder and kindling for starting a fire when you might be dealing with uncooperative wood.
It’s worth noting that fire-starter squares are not like matches or magnesium rods — they can’t in and of themselves be used to start a fire. Rather, fire-starter squares are intended to be used with igniters or lighters to make it easier to build a wood fire (remember to follow safe fire practices. Don’t let Smokey down).
These are the best fire-starter squares to get for your next camping adventure.
1. Rutland Safe Lite Fire-Starter Squares
If you’re a regular camper, then Rutland’s fire-starter squares are a great investment. Each order consists of 144 squares, and each square is a little less than 2″ x 2″. They come in bars with perforations for breaking into smaller squares, similar to a chocolate bar. That makes them easy to take on the go. The squares are made of recycled wood chips and wax. That means if you’re cooking over a flame with them, they won’t impart unwanted flavors.
Pros: Made from safe ingredients like recycled wood and wax. Value pack consists of 144 squares in 12 blocks. Trusted brand since 1883.
Cons: Some may be easier to light.
2. Midwest Hearth Fire-Starter Squares
Like the Rutland fire-starters featured on this list, these fire-starter squares come in small, breakable palets similar to bricks of chocolate. Also like the Rutland squares, these fire-starters come in a pack of 144 squares. While these and the Rutland squares both have wood and wax, these fire-starter squares also include recycled newspaper which can help spark even more easily. Since they’re odorless, they can be used for cooking food as well.
Pros: Each square is designed to light easily and burn for up to 10 minutes. 12 pallets with 12 squares each, totaling 144 squares.
Cons: Can require a little extra effort to light.
3. Lightning Nuggets Fire-Starter
As the brand name suggests, these fire-starters come in a rounded nugget-shape, rather than a square shape. They’re made from compacted pieces of pitch wood held together with food-grade wax. That makes them a non-toxic solution for lighting barbecues, fireplaces and campfires. This pack comes in a large box consisting of a 100 fire-starter nuggets, and, in good conditions, you’ll only need one to start a fire. Lightning Nugget’s fire-starters are made in the US.
Pros: Includes 100 fire-starter nuggets. Each nugget is designed to burn for up to 15 minutes, giving you ample time to build a fire.
Cons: Can take a little while for the nugget to actually catch fire.