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Vaseline-soaked cotton balls are an amazing component of my emergency fire-making supplies. Being prepared is a huge part of wilderness survival and obtaining fire is one of the top survival priorities. A good fire can warm a shelter, purify water, and cook food. I live in the very wet Pacific Northwest and camp year round, so keeping a nice stash of dry tinder and Vaseline-soaked cotton balls is a key component to my emergency kit.

Vaseline-soaked cotton balls have proven valuable more than once during a downpour. I have tried many different types of store bought emergency fire tinders, and although they may work to some degree, they just don't hold up to the wind and rain like Vaseline-soaked cotton balls.

On one of my camping trips many years back, we ran into some pretty nasty, rainy, and windy weather. No one, including myself, had thought to pack any dry tinder. After struggling for what seemed like forever with our lighters, we were just not able to light the wet tinder we managed to scrounge up. Then I remembered I had some Vaseline-soaked cotton balls in my backpack! I ran and got them. Up until this point I hadn't had the chance to test them out, and even though it took two of them to get our fire going, they worked! Even with wind, rain and wet wood, I was amazed at their ability to stay lit and the length of time that they burned. We had to baby our fire at first, but the cotton balls were enough to get it going and eventually we had a beautiful warm blaze!

Not only will Vaseline-soaked cotton balls pretty much guarantee you a fire in some of the worst conditions, but they are lightweight and compact too. Building a fire in the outdoors is one thing, but doing it when everything is wet is quite challenging and can lead to frustration. Like I said in the beginning: being prepared is key, not only to wilderness survival, but also to ensure a more enjoyable time in the outdoors!

So, how do I make them? You may be asking….

Well, you're in luck because that is exactly what I am about to show you.


  • An Essential Survival Fire-starting tool

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