The Best Fire Starter for Igniting Your Next Campfire with Ease

By Ryan Wilson

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A camping trip wouldn’t be complete without a campfire to sit around with friends, roast marshmallows over, or stay warm. We can start campfires by scrounging around a campground for kindling or wadding up some old newspaper, but starting a campfire with EASE requires using the best fire starter.

Go into an outdoor or hardware store and you’ll often find a dozen or more different types of fire starter. If you’re like me, I never know which is the best for starting a campfire. Often, fire starters make tall claims about burn times or how easy they start. They sound great, but do they really live up to those claims?

How do we know which is the best fire starter among all of the choices in stores and online?

I tested 8 different fire starters to determine what the best fire starter is for starting a campfire.

Hands down, the best fire starter I tested was the Jealous Devil Boom! Firestarters. They kept a flame the longest, even longer than the box claimed!

Below I provide information how each of 8 different fire starters compared in starting a campfire in my Solo Stove Bonfire. I also provide results for how long each of the starters lasted and how they performed related to product claims.

Best Fire Starter: Jealous Devil Boom!

I tested 8 different fire starters to determine which was the best fire starter for igniting a fire in my Solo Stove. I was surprised how much variation there was in their performance. But one was the hands down best. The Jealous Devil Boom! Firestarters had great burn times, easy lighting, and lived up to most of their packaging claims!

IMG 7443 1 scaled

Jealous Devil Boom! Firestarter

Things we loved:

  • Lights easily
  • Produces an 8″ flame
  • Lasts over 20 minutes!
  • Made from all natural, non-toxic materials

Things we didn’t like:

  • It didn’t live up to its claims about being waterproof. I couldn’t get it to start when wet from sitting in the rain for 10 minutes.


  • 100% Natural Coconut Fiber
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How Did the Fire Starters Do Starting a Campfire?

I tested how each of the fire starters performed at starting a campfire in my Solo Stove.

I tested the following fire starters:

I built a fire as I normally do when I go camping with a few small pieces of wood (spruce) 10-12″ in length and approximately 2″ thick.

I definitely wasn’t starting with smaller fuels like pine needles, or wood shavings. Starting with small combustable fuels like that would ensure optimal performance of each fire starter tested.

But because I rarely start a fire while camping like this, I wanted to make sure a fire starter was able to light relatively large pieces of fuel. I also only used one match from a matchbook to start the fire.

Boom! Fire Starter
Example of the setup I used for testing

All of the fire starters I tested in my Solo Stove except lint were able to start a nice campfire. Only the Fatwood was somewhat difficult to light with a single match, but it ultimately did.

I use Fatwood all the time in my house’s wood stove and it makes a great fire. But I also use a blow torch to start those fires. So the Fatwood may just need a hotter ignition source to work in a desirable way.

I will say, each of the fire starters I tested would have worked great at starting a campfire that starts with fine tinder.

Below I give my general impressions of each fire starter

Lightning Nuggets: A Great Runner-Up

Lightning Nugget scaled

Lightning Nuggets

Things we loved:

  • The patches are easy to affix
  • Can be easily cut to size
  • Able to conform to irregular surfaces
  • Doesn’t require any additional adhesives
  • See-through so can be used on any colored air mattress

Things we didn’t like:

  • Only comes with one patch which needs to be cut to size. But it’s large enough it should be enough for multiple repairs.
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Coghlan’s Fire Starter Sticks: A Solid Choice

Coghlans firestarter

Coglahn’s Fire Starter Sticks

Things we loved:

  • I have been using these fire starter sticks for years and they have always worked great
  • Good burn time
  • Good flame
  • Water resistant
  • Made from non-toxic materials

Things we didn’t like:

  • I personally haven’t had any problems using these, but some reviewers noted that it made their food taste bad. So maybe not the best to cook with.


  • Does not state, except that it’s not toxic. Based on their its appearance, I would guess sawdust and some sort of wax-type fuel.
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Tumbleweed Fire Starter

tumbleweeds scaled

Tumbleweed Fire Starter

Things we loved:

  • Easy to start
  • Lasted nearly 10 minutes
  • Made of all-natural materials

Things we didn’t like:

  • Nothing. They were a reliable and easy to use fire starter.


  • Natural wood and wax
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Zippo Tinder Shreds: A Solid Choice

Zippo Tinder Shreds scaled

Zippo Tinder Shreds

Things we loved:

  • Easy to light
  • Decent burn time
  • Created a good campfire
  • Made of all-natural materials

Things we didn’t like:

  • The packaging stated it could be started with sparks, but I did not find this to be true.


  • Pine shavings coated with paraffin wax.
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SOL Fire Lite Fuel Cubes

SOL Fire Cubes scaled

SOL Fire Lite Fuel Cubes

Things we loved:

  • One of the easiest fire starters to light
  • Clean burning

Things we didn’t like:

  • It didn’t burn for very long, definitely longer than stated on the packaging
  • Each tab comes in a separate plastic package, which I didn’t like because then I had to throw away trash and not have it blow away.


  • Made from waste crops, contains no fossil fuels.
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Fatwood Fire Starter


Fatwood Fire Starter

Things we loved:

  • Made from all-natural materials
  • Works great to start fires in a woodstove
  • Once burning it produces a great flame

Things we didn’t like:

  • I couldn’t get a piece to burn with a match. Perhaps a lighter would work better


  • Resinous pine
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Dryer Lint


Dryer Lint

Things we loved:

  • Free
  • Readily available
  • Can start a campfire

Things we didn’t like:

  • It takes a lot to start a campfire
  • No waterproofness


  • Cotton and other clothing fibers

Longest Burning Fire Starter

While you don’t need a fire starter to burn for a prolonged period of time to start a roaring campfire, it certainly helps. Longer burn times give you more leeway when starting a fire with larger pieces of wood. So, if you’re going to use a fire starter for starting a campfire, why not choose one that you know will burn a long time.

IMG 7403 scaled

I tested each of the 8 fire starters I reviewed for this article to see how long they would burn on their own. I lit each fire starter with a hand-held lighter until it caught fire. I didn’t include any other fuels, just the fire starters themselves to see how long they burned.

Fire Starter Burn Times Results

Fire StarterBurn Time (minutes)
Jealous Devil Boom! Firestarters20.00
Lightning Nuggets17.75
Coglahn’s Fire Starter Sticks10.00
Tumbleweed Fire Starter9.75
Zippo Tinder Shreds6.50
Sole Fire Lite Fuel Cubes4.50
Dryer Lint2.00
Fatwood Fire Starter0.00

There was one clear winner when it came to how long the fire starter burned. The Jealous Devil Boom! burned for slightly longer than 20 minutes.

The Jealous Devil Boom! had a large cherry ember even after there was no longer a flame present which lasted a couple of minutes.

I was impressed by how evenly the Jealous Devil Boom! fire starters burned throughout the test.

JealousBomb Timelapse

While the Jealous Devil Boom! outperformed all other fire starters, the Lightning Nuggets were a close second, burning for over 17 minutes. It also had a nice cherry ember when the flame died.

Fire Starter Claims Tested

A number of the fire starters I tested have claims about how they perform listed on their packaging. I wanted to test these claims to see how accurate they were.

Jealous Devil Boom! Fire Starter

Best Fire Starter

Claim 1: Burns for over 20

True! The Jealous Devil Boom! burned for just over 20 minutes!

Claim 2: Produces a 12 Inch Flame

Not quite. While the Jealous Devil Boom! produced a significant flame (8 inches), I never saw it reach 12 inches. But you can see the good flame the fire starter produced in the short video below.

Jealous Devil Boom! burning at 13 minutes.

Claim 3: The Fire Starter is Waterproof

False! I tried igniting a Jealous Devil Boom! after it was left sitting in a decent rain for 10 minutes. I was able to get the wick to light, but once it reached the fuel it stopped burning. I tried a couple of times to get it to relight but it wouldn’t.

Lightning Nuggets

Lightning Nugget scaled

Claim 1: Burns for over 15

True! The Lightning Nuggets burned for over 17 minutes, easily living up to their claim.

SOL Fire Lite Fire Cubes

SOL Fire Cubes scaled

Claim 1: Starts with a single spark

True! I used a flint and steel to see if sparks would light the SOL Fire Lite Cubes. While it didn’t light with the very first spark, it did after just a couple of tries.

Claim 2: Burns for 8 minutes

False! When I tested burn times, the SOL Fire Lite Cubes only lasted 4.5 minutes, far short of their 8 minute claim.

Zippo Tinder Shreds

Zippo Tinder Shreds scaled

Claim 1: Can start with sparks

False: When I tried to start this with my flint and steel I was unable to produce a flame with the Zippo Tinder Shreds. I’m sure eventually I would have succeeded but it wasn’t easy like the packaging indicated.

Claim 2: Burns up to 8 minutes

False: When I tested the burn time of the Zippo Tinder Shreds they only burned for 5.5 minutes, far short of the 8 minute claim.

Coghlan’s Fire Starter Sticks

Coghlans firestarter

Claim 1: Waterproof

True. Their website states that if a fire starter stick is submerged in water and then re-dried it will burn. This is accurate.

Claim 2: Burn time approximately 9 minutes

True! When I tested these they burned for 10 minutes.


Based on all of my testing, the best fire starter, hands down, is the Jealous Devil Boom! It started a great fire with ease, lived up to expectations on the package (except for flame height, but it was still 8 inches!), and was the longest burning fire started I tested.

Most of the other fire starters also did a good job at starting campfires and had decent burn times, so you really can’t go wrong with most.

I would likely avoid fatwood fire starters for starting a campfire just because it takes a hotter flame to get a fire going. They would likely do great if you also added some newspaper to your fire starting arsenal.

But why add more things to your packing list when any of the other 6 commercially-produced fire starters can get the job done on their own.

There’s only one fire starter I wouldn’t recommend for starting a campfire and that is dryer lint. It still works, but you need a large supply of it if you want it as your primary fire starter.

If you’re interested in cooking over a campfire during your next camping trip, consider looking at our reviews of camping cooking gear.

Photo of author


Ryan is an avid outdoorsman who loves camping, hiking, and backpacking. He was initially reluctant to join the camper world, but after his first camping trip in one, he became a convert. He especially loves how camper ownership extends the camping season and makes it easier to be more adventurous with young kids. When not enjoying his free time, he works as a professional wildlife biologist studying the ecology and conservation of large mammals in Alaska.