We’ve all had it happen before. We want to light a nice fire, but find out our wood is wet. Wet wood doesn’t burn that well on its own, so what’s the best firestarter for wet wood?
Tinders such as cotton balls, dry grass, or paper sheets are the best firestarters for wet wood. Like dry wood, you need the same firestarters, but if the wood is wet, you need about 4-5 times more. Wet wood takes longer to catch fire, so you need more of your tinder before the flame finally catches on.
Starting a fire with wet wood is definitely possible, although a lot more difficult. Aside from the correct firestarters, you also need some specific techniques to ensure the fire will keep burning. In this article, we’ll go in-depth on what the best firestarters are and any other important things to consider!
What Are The Best Firestarters For Wet Firewood?
When it comes to firestarters, there are many options. A firestarter is basically something that can easily catch flame, so you can use it to start a fire with bigger chunks of wood. Firestarters can both be bought and found in nature.
Firestarters such as cotton balls, wood shavings, dry grass, paper sheets, or steel wool are great for starting fires with wet wood. In addition, you need proper kindling, some slightly larger chunks of wood that will more easily catch fire than the large logs.
There are many different options when it comes to tinder. As a general rule, basically anything that’s dry and easily catches fire will work. But, some definitely work better than others. We compiled a list of several tinders that work especially well, paired with a list of materials that also serve great as tinder.
1. Cotton Balls
Cotton balls are a very common tinder, or firestarter, as cotton is extremely flammable. They consist of thousands of fibers that can easily ignite, even from the smallest of sparks.
Usually, these cotton balls are coated in vaseline to slightly slow down the burning, prolong it to about 4-5 minutes of burn time. They make for a great firestarter.
2. Dry Grass
Dry grass pretty much speaks for itself. It’s a flammable material, and it’s natural. Make sure to get a nice bunch of it together and light the top. Aside from grass, you can also use dried leaves as well. Both work fine; just make sure you don’t burn yourself.
3. Paper Sheets
Paper sheets are also a great firestarter. We all know that paper sheets can easily burn, and since they’re readily available, you can just keep adding them until your wet wood finally catches fire.
Most people have some form of paper sheets, whether it’s a newspaper or an old notebook you used to write in, so they can be perfect for starting a fire with wet wood in your outdoor fireplace!
4. Anything Flamable
We highlighted three different types of firestarters, but as you can imagine, pretty much anything flammable can serve as a firestarter. Here is a list of several great firestarters that can either be bought or found in the wild.
- Steel Wool
- Dryer Lint
- Saw Dust
- Cotton Socks
- Dried Leaves
- Wood Shaves
- Tree Bark
- Pine Needles
Can You Start A Fire With Wet Wood?
You can start a fire with wet wood, provided you use about 4-5 times as much tinder and enough kindling. You will also need to build your logs strategically around your tinder and kindling so that it heats all of the log. This leads to the moisture evaporating more quickly.
While it is more difficult, it’s certainly not impossible to start a fire with wet wood. To do so, you do need to keep a few things in mind.
First off, as mentioned earlier, you’ll need a lot more tinder. Expect to use about 4-5 times more tinder than for your normal fire with dry wood. Since the wood is moist, it has a harder time igniting. The longer your logs are surrounded by flames, the more moisture will evaporate, leading to your wood finally catching fire.
But tinder alone won’t get you there. Tinder is a firestarter, but you need something to keep the flame going. That’s where kindling comes in. These are slightly smaller chunks of wood that will more easily catch fire than your larger logs. The kindling should be added once you’ve got your tinder bundle going.
Lastly, make sure to place your tinder, kindling, and wood strategically. Don’t just throw everything on at once; take your time. Get your tinder bundle going, slowly add your kindling, and make sure that your wood is exposed to the flames.
Does Wet Wood Burn Faster
The moisture inside your wet firewood will slow down the burning process. Wet firewood also has a harder time catching fire, and as the moisture evaporates, it will also produce more smoke than usual.
Burning wet wood really doesn’t have many benefits to it. It doesn’t really burn faster; in fact, it usually burns a little slower, and you’ll also get way more smoke than usual, caused by the evaporating moisture.
How Do You Dry Wet Firewood Quickly
To quickly dry your firewood, place a dehumidifier near it to suck out the moisture. If you don’t have a dehumidifier, you can also lay your logs out in the sun, where the warmth of the sun, paired with the breezes of wind, will quickly dry up your wood.
Dry firewood is best used for your fires. Usually, dry firewood contains less than 20% moisture, which will ensure it burns efficiently. To dry your firewood, there are a few things you can do.
The first one is to lay out all your logs and let the sun do its magic. This is an efficient and free way, but sun-drying your wood can take a long time. Still, it is faster than letting your logs dry whilst stacked up against each other.
Secondly, you can also place a dehumidifier near your wood. Dehumidifiers will suck out the moisture, resulting in a much quicker drying process.