Charred cloth is an excellent fire starter, one of my favorites for sure. It is easy and fast to make.
Step 1: Supplies
Only a few supplies are needed to make charred cloth:
- Cloth ( you need 100% cotton )
- A small tin ( I use an Altoids tin )
- A fire with good, hot coals
Step 2: Cut the Cloth
The size of your cloth scraps depend on the side of your container. They should be a little smaller than you want them to be after they are charred, (they shrink in the fire)
Step 3: The Fire Tin
The tin is very easy to make. I used an empty Altoids tin. All you have to do to is poke a hole in the top lid. Use a nail or a strong tack for this.
Step 4: The Fire
Now you will make a small, but hot fire. Let it burn down a bit, then pull out the coals to make a nice bed for your tin. Soon you will see smoke coming out of the hole in your tin, this is good. It will shoot out a strong stream of smoke for a little bit, will diminish to little curls here and there. At this point you need to remove the tin from the fire. Use sticks or tongs to pick up the tin, then set it down where it is not a hazard.
Step 5: Charred Cloth!
After the tin has cooled off, open it up. The cloth should now be uniformly black. If it is not black, put it back in the fire for a few minutes.
Step 6: Light It Up
To light the cloth, I use my Swiss fire steel. You simply shoot a few sparks into the cloth, and an ember will appear. Nothing can blow this ember out. This will burn, and slowly grow. If you want to make it bigger and hotter, you just need to blow on it. To light your tinder bundle or kindling, you simply put this ember inside, being careful not to smother it. Lightly blow or fan this ember, and your kindling will catch.
Happy Camping, hope this helps!