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The ability to start a fire is critical for warmth in an emergency camping situation, but not so much when you just want to roast marshmallows on the back patio. In either situation, however, the ability to start a good fire quickly is a must. Here are a few ways to transform a few sparks into flames.

Gentle on the Nose

This product contains pine-wood shavings that don’t give off toxic odors or smoke when lit. Grill Trade

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There are two main types of fire starters—those with chemical additives and those constructed from natural materials. Most people prefer fire starters made from natural material because their safer to transport without igniting and they don’t give off any potential harmful vapors when lit. Starters made with natural wood shavings ignite fast and can help you get a good fire going in a hurry. The best ones also are lightweight and individually packaged so you can fit a few in a backpack or first aid kit.

Easy to Ignite

These individual chips are 100% natural and weather resistant. Bangerz Sunz

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Anyone who spends a lot of time in camp knows the best fire starter in the world doesn’t work well if it is wet. Fire starters treated with weather-resistant materials alleviate this problem. Some have a wax coating or are small wood chicks mixed with wax, which makes them light quickly with just a match or lighter, and the wax doesn’t give off toxic fumes like a petroleum-based propellant.

Totally Pure

This natural product uses the resin from Ocoee pine trees. EasyGoProducts

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Some seasoned campers are partial to old-fashioned fatwood as a fire starter, and for good reason. Fatwood is the resinous remains of a dead pine tree. When it dies, either upright or fallen, the sap settles into the heartwood of the branches and trunk. As the tree roots, the sap hardens into resin-soaked wood that’s highly flammable and starts fires quickly and efficiently. Fatwood is super light and it’s easy to put a couple pieces in a zippered plastic baggie and stash them in your gear bag. It’s waterproof, eco-friendly and it’s available in large boxes so you can also use a few around the house.

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