Introduction: Better Sterno Alternative
How you pack for the outdoors depends on how you intend to spend your time exploring nature. Packing light seems to be a common goal of campers, hikers and survivalists. Most also agree that it’s wise to have a compact way to cook a meal, boil water, keep warm, and create light that will keep away animals like wolves. For all of these things you need a reliable source of long-lasting fire, but most of us don’t want to carry flammable liquids or gels in our packs. I will show you a safe alternative: a pocket-sized piece of survival gear that you will quickly start to regard as an essential item to pack for your next adventure — no matter what it is.
The items you will need:
Small tin container (altoids tin)
Disposable container for melting wax
First you will need to cut the cardboard to the depth of the container. Next, pack the tin so the exposed side of the cardboard is facing up. I use a spiraling shape but it makes no difference on how it’s formed to fit. It does, however, matter how tightly it is placed in the tin. If it is so tight that the cardboard’s zig zag pattern within its side walls is flattened then the wax won’t fill the inside and the burn time will be shortened. Having the best ratio of wax and cardboard is the goal.
Next, melt the wax and pour it slowly into the cracks of the cardboard ensuring that it has as little air as possible. The goal is to allow the cardboard to burn slowly. In short, you are creating a candle with a large surface area. The round one is what I am going to use to light a pumpkin!
This burns fast and hot! It will last a few hours and can be hotter then sterno and more “pocket friendly”. Making a few of these at a time will quickly show its value.