Waterproof Firestarting Case




About: I'm a recent college grad looking for my place in the world, I've learned a few things along the way.

Hello everyone, this is my first project so bear with me.

A few friends and I decided to go camping later this week, and after my last camping trip I realized the difficulty in starting a fire without the right stuff. After looking around on the internet for some tips I decided to try to create my own little firestarting kit. I knew that it needed to carry everything I might need to start a fire, and it would ideally be waterproof. I found a little Pelican case I had gotten for my iPod a while ago, and decided to use that as my container. You can use pretty much any sort of box (I've heard Altoids tins work well) that is small and easy to carry or strap onto your pack. Really whatever works for you. This is a nice size, it can fit a lot of stuff, and it's definitely going to be water-resistant, which is key. The last thing you want is your book of matches soaking wet when you need to start a fire.

Step 1: What You'll Need

So for this you'll need a few things: your case (pictured here is my Pelican i1010 case), your firestarting materials (shown here: flint and steel, lighter, matches), a craft knife/box cutter/really sharp knife, silicone sealant, and a dime (or other small, circular object).

*NB: The dime is only used if you've got this case or something similar to it, as you'll see in the next step.

Step 2: Cut All the Unnecessary Things

ALL of them!

Sorry. Anyway, since my case was made to house an iPod in waterproof safety, there's a little hookup for headphones that goes through the outside of the case. Seeing as I didn't need to be listening to an iPod with this anymore (it was really a little bulky for that anyway) I cut out the wire. I didn't take a pic of it but really all you need to do is just get your knife, and cut out the wire on the inside, which will let you pull out the piece that's on the outside of the case (pictured). If you have anything else on your case like this, get rid of em. Don't want anything getting into the case (or out of it). Also, be sure to remove the rubber protector inside, but hang on to it.

Step 3: Patch Up the Hole

With the headphone connector out of the way, time to ensure that the inside will stay dry. Here's where the dime and silicone sealant come in handy. Keep in mind, this won't last long if you're planning on going diving or swimming with it, but if you're going to be camping and it rains out you should be fine. I got this sealant because it was cheap and it works for what I need, but if you need something more robust you can switch this out for something else. 

Anyway, put some sealant on your dime, around the inside edge, and place it up against the hole and let it set. The stuff I have dries in 15 minutes and cures in 12 hours, which is really nice.

Step 4: Cut the Rubber

This case had a little rubber insert that was used to keep the iPod stationary, but since I didn't need it I was just going to throw it away. I decided to keep it however, to use the edge as a lining to ensure that it would seal up around the edges of the case when I closed it. When you cut it, BE CAREFUL. It goes without saying that when you're using a knife you need to be careful, but since this stuff doesn't really hold it's shape very well, cutting it is extra difficult. That's why you need the sharp knife. Almost took off a good chunk of my finger when it slipped on me. 

Cut around the edges, and make sure you don't cut where it seats in the case.

Step 5: Optional Step: Silicone in the Well

So I didn't take a picture of this, but what I decided to do was put some silicone sealant in the well of the case, where the rubber insert goes. This is to double up on the waterproof ability of the case, as well as to make sure the cut edges stay in place.

Step 6: Finished

That's pretty much it. As you can see I packaged my firestarting materials in the pocket on the left (matches are behind the lighter). It fits pretty nicely, doesn't weigh too much and I can keep it with me wherever I go. The bag on the right is a ziploc bag full of PET Balls, a great little tinder that I found over at Willow Haven Outdoor (http://willowhavenoutdoor.com/general-survival/the-best-fire-starter-money-cant-buy-pet-balls-dryer-lint-fire-starter/). They've got some great tutorials and articles over there, you should check them out!

Thanks for reading, hope all goes well. If you need any help please leave a comment/shoot me a message!



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    8 Discussions


    Great Instructable, Thanks! :) I have invested in an Otter Box to use as a case as I don't trust my DIY ability - but the contents of the box was a great help, thanks a lot. I hope we are lucky enough to enjoy many years of firestarting in the future!

    2 replies

    Thank you! And don't worry, nothing wrong with giving it a shot! But Otter Box is definitely a great value, as well as other Pelican boxes.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Just wanted to add that I used this on my camping trip and it worked out great! I left it outside for the night and it poured for most of the night, and the next day I opened it up and it was still dry. Helped me start a breakfast fire too!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Why would you remove the purge valve? doesn't this compromise the waterproof-ness of the pelican box? those valves are there to help with pressure equalization, and are one way.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Mine didn't actually have a purge valve, it only had a hookup for headphones. But yeah removing one of those would not be a good idea. I didn't realize they had anything like that, this was the first case I had bought from them.