Char cloth is a great resource for fire-starting — we often carry a small tin of it in our packs, and this tin also doubles as the vessel for making more char cloth in a campfire. While char cloth definitely takes a spark easily and burns for a long time, it’s not the most energetic fire-starter. This can cause it to be less effective at igniting damp kindling.

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Traditional char cloth is created by heating cloth scraps in a tin with an exhaust hole.

If you’re looking to kick your fire-starter up a notch, the following video from Coalcracker Bushcraft shows how to make black powder cloth, also known as rub cloth. Like char cloth, this material starts with a scrap of 100% cotton fabric. But instead of charring it through combustion, the fabric is soaked with water and rubbed with black powder, impregnating it with the highly-flammable substance.

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Dan from Coalcracker lights the black powder cloth with sparks from his flint and steel, and the cloth burns in an energetic and almost-explosive manner. However, it doesn’t burn out immediately afterward, continuing to smolder like char cloth. Check out the video below to see for yourself:

What do you think of this fire-starter? Would you use it as an alternative to char cloth?

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