Originally Published in Issue 33 of 4Low Magazine
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By Joel Moranton
I think we all have fond memories of being a kid and helping our parents start the campfire. I grew up using balled-up newspaper pages to start the campfire, but now newspapers are a rare find. So I started buying and trying other fire tender products. I am surely not going to rip up my 4Low Magazine to start fires. Over the years, I have tried a lot of different fire tender products. I have even used Duraflame logs while glamping, but stop after my s’mores tasted funny. My go-to fire tender became cotton balls covered in Vaseline. I have carried a small plastic canister stuffed with cotton balls in Vaseline for many years, and it worked great and was super cheap. Then I found Fiber Light, and I burned my last cotton ball.
The Fiber Light Fire Starter tender is a finely ground wood fiber and wax mixture. There are no accelerants or chemicals in the mix, so it provides a clean-burning flame. A pinch of this all-natural mixture can burn for 3-7 minutes, more than enough time to get a roaring fire. The wax in the compound slows the burn of the wood fiber and gives this tender a natural water repellant quality. The wood fiber is so finely ground that it easily lights from any spark. Since there is no accelerant or chemicals in Fiber Light, it cannot dry out or become less effective over time. Best of all, it is owned and operated by Veterans and is 100% made in the USA.
It only took one use for me to decide to replace my cotton balls in Vaseline with the Fiber Light. With the cotton balls, I would get Vaseline all over my hands as I removed it from the canister. If available, I would use rubber gloves when dealing with them. Then I would have to rip the ball in half and get the flint spark right in the center. Fiber Light beat the cotton balls on both those points. You won’t need a rag after using the Fiber Light, and a little spark anywhere on the Fiber Light will flame up. Fiber Light is also not much more expensive than using cotton balls and Vaseline. When you factor in no prep time of soaking your cotton balls in Vaseline at home, the Fiber Light is the clear winner. A package of cotton balls and tube of Vaseline is like, five bucks and would take about 15 minutes and a set of gloves to make up a much of fire tenders. A tin of Fiber Light is $10 and could have up to 30 uses depending on how big a pinch you use. It also comes in a watertight tin and has zero set-up time.
During the testing, Fiber Light was clearly the winner over everything I had been using for years. Now, remember, I have tested many other fire tender products, and previously cotton balls in Vaseline was my winner, but no more. When pinched into a ball about the size of my cotton ball, the Fiber Light burned for over 5 minutes. The cotton balls would last for 2-3 minutes. I also test another Prepper favorite, dryer lint in Vaseline, that lasts 4-5 minutes. I was never a fan of dryer lint because it is harder to cover in Vaseline and makes an even bigger mess. I also tested the Fiber Light in a looser configuration, and it burned for 3 minutes. When spread out, the Fiber Light made a large flame but shorter burn time. Even though it burned out blowing into the Fiber Light, an ember would glow. One cool feature of the Fiber Light that may not be useful, but is fun to try, is burning Fiber Light and floating it on water.
I am glad I found Fiber Light, and I now have a tin in my go-bag, truck and camping box. It is lightweight, water-resistant, and has no shelf-life. Super easy to light, burns for longer than you need and is inexpensive. I highly recommend Fiber Light. They sell it in a round tin that is watertight and uses recycled bike tubes for the seal. You can also get it in a square tin with survival fishing hooks and a small saw. Refill packs are also available and can save you money over buying another tin. Fiber Light also has a great Ferro Rod Striker that throws large sparks or a smaller Ferro Rod on a plastic whistle that is great for keeping inside the tin. Check out the full line of Fiber Light products at https://fiberlightfs.com/