I was watching a terrible YouTube video this morning about a bushcraft hobo meal. I wont even name the video but I gave me a great idea that I tested out immediately. The video showed a trick of soaking cotton balls in olive oil to use as a fire starter. I use Vaseline with cotton balls to make mine and had never thought to use Olive oil. The guy said he always keeps a little jar of Olive oil in his pack to either cook with or use as a fire starter. I wouldn’t keep olive oil like that to keep it from going rancid but I know of an oil that won’t go bad. My idea was to use coconut oil soaked cotton pads to use. So lets get down to the how’s and why’s?
Why use Coconut Oil
As a paleo prepper I have switched to using and storing a lot of coconut oil. Coconut oil has a ton of health benefits and a never expires. Those are two of my favorite things. I was thinking the Vaseline soaked cotton balls burn well but don’t offer much more. Sure I guess you could use them as lip balm, or to lubricate the bearing block in a bow drill. If you use coconut oil to make fire starter then you are also carrying some calories. Not much, the ten pads I made had 2 tsp’s of oil for all of them. Calories are still calories though.
How to make them
I went with cotton makeup scrubs over cotton balls for this experiment. I thought the flat pads would absorb better than the fluffy cotton balls. I put two tsp of coconut oil in a bowl and microwaved it to melt it. Put the pads in and move them around and flip them
over to soak up as much oil as they can.
How Well They Work
To get them to catch you will need to tear a small rip to expose from finer fibers. I didn’t have much luck getting it to catch flame without exposing the fibers. Once It did catch fire it burned for 10+ minutes. I expected about four to five minutes burn time, I was excited to see how long it burned. Long burning tinder can make the difference between getting a fire started or being cold.
I shot some YouTube video of the pads burning. I figured it was time to shoot some more video and I like burning things.