Why Dryer Lint Is The Camping Essential You Never Knew You Needed

Dryers cause around 15,000 house fires a year, and many times the reason behind these fires is a build-up of lint in the lint trap. This is because dryer lint is extremely flammable and allowing it to build up in your dryer, where it is exposed to heat, is quite dangerous. However, while it is important to regularly clean your lint trap, you don't have to throw all that flammable lint away. If you love spending time camping outside by a bonfire, then it's a good idea to hold onto some of your dryer lint to use as a fire starter on your next outdoor adventure.


Dryer lint is the perfect tool to bring with you on camping trips because it is light, cheap, and extremely flammable for those situations when the weather isn't the best or your wood is damp and you need a little help getting the fire going. The National Park Service recommends storing dryer lint in empty cardboard tubes from used toilet paper or paper towel rolls. This is because cardboard is also a good fire starter, and combined with dryer lint, can help you get your fire burning quickly and efficiently. However, because these toilet paper rolls full of dryer lint are super flammable, storing them in a safe and dry place is important.

How to make your own dryer lint fire starter

Although packing leftover dryer lint into cardboard tubes seems easy enough, there are a few things you can do to make the best fire starter possible for your next outdoor adventure. First, it's important to make sure to pack the lint loosely into the cardboard tubes. If you pack the lint in too tightly, you are essentially removing the oxygen pockets inside the lint ball which are instrumental in the burning process.


While lint will catch and burn quickly, it won't burn for a long time. If you want to make a fire starter with a little more oomph, you can try adding another slower-burning fuel to the mix. On a post about dryer lint on the bushcraft forum of Reddit, quite a few commenters recommended taking an empty cardboard egg carton and placing a ball of dryer lint in each hole, then covering the lint with melted paraffin wax from an old candle. According to one commenter, this method is the best because "these fire starters will light even when wet, and last forever." If you don't have candle wax or don't want to go through the process of melting it, you can also use petroleum jelly as a substitute.

Other easy fire starters you probably didn't know about

Other than dryer lint, there are plenty of common household items that will work well as a fire starter on your next camping trip. One that is easy to pack and also works as a delicious treat is a bag of potato chips. Potato chips of all kinds are cooked in oil and are very flammable. To use as a fire starter, simply make a pile under your campfire and set it alight.


Some commenters on the survival forum of Reddit recommend using cotton balls soaked in Vaseline as an easy and cheap fire starter that will work everywhere and in all weather conditions. Other great fire-starting options include chapstick, duct tape, tampons, pine cones dipped in cooking oil, corks soaked in rubbing alcohol, and hand sanitizer.

If you want a natural fire starter that also smells good, you can try dried orange peels. Orange peels contain a flammable citrus oil that will easily catch alight and burn. However, for this to work the peel will need to be left out in the sun until it is completely dry.