fire starter fire

How to Start a Campfire



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It can be easily argued that one of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors, to engage with it on a sensory level, is with a campfire.

Communing around that mainstay of every camp and picnic site and inhaling the woodsy aroma that only a campfire can make often causes feelings of happiness and peace. At least, that’s the way it is with me. So I’m all for anything that can make building them as easy as possible.

Recently, I tried some fire starter products, courtesy of Coghlan’s Fire Discs, to see if they were all they were cracked up to be, and was delightfully surprised at the results.

These discs are 4″ discs of wax and cedar sawdust. You plop them in a fire pit and hold a match to ’em.

Fire Starters Offer Ease of Use

They offer the obvious advantage of ease, as there’s no gathering of firewood, kindling, tinder, etc. necessary.  This can actually be quite an advantage, albeit ubiquitously so. In places where there is little of this to be found –such as desert places like Five Mile Pass in Utah–you don’t have to worry about the lack of wood.

Of course, these are also the kind of places where it’s usually best not to light fires (i.e., too hot). Conversely, if all you’ve got is wet wood, having a fire disc can mean you can still have a fire.

Start a Campfire with Coghlans Fire Starters

They also offer the advantage of strength. Although ours took four matches to light, it burned like a mini-bonfire with a couple of cypress planks thrown on top of it. And it was still burning strong after 45 minutes.

fire starter fire

The question then became, for me: are all fire starters like this? Are these advantages offered only by Coghlan’s Fire Discs, and are they comparable in price to other fire starters? I looked at the pricing and availability of  Duraflame Quickstarters, which are similar discs, and InstaFire Fire Starter pouches, which has somewhat similar materials but comes in a granular form within a pouch. This is what I found:

Manufacturer Quantity/pkg Price on Amazon Other sellers Projected Length of Fire
Coghlan’s Fire Disc Onethree $5.25 + free shipping$9.75 + free shipping Cabela’s, Sports Authority, REI, Emergency Essentials, Sportsmans Warehouse 45 min. +
Duraflame quickstarters Four $10.66 + $14.74 shipping Walmart ($21.99 out of stock), Albertsons, Winco, Dollar General n/a
InstaFire Fire Starter Pouches One $4.99 + free shipping n/a n/a


The Coghlan’s disc is not quite the most economical option, but comes in a close second. It is available at more places than the Duraflame quickstarters or the InstaFire pouches. I have not field-tested those latter products.

So, are the Coghlan’s Fire Discs a worthwhile purchase for someone who enjoys a campfire at their camp- or picnic site? Wholeheartedly, yes! They save effort, decrease depletion of natural resources since you don’t have to chop down any trees for firewood, and can be used in adverse conditions where you might not be able to start a fire without them.


Disclaimer: I was given a free Coghlan’s fire disc for review. The opinions expressed herein are my own.


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Jamie Moesser

Jamie Moesser

Jamie Moesser has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in public administration, and enjoyed a 10-year career writing grants and fundraising for non-profit organizations before becoming a mother. She now enjoys blogging at HobbyMamas.com, MomItForward.com, and AdventureMom.tv, as well as putting on science fairs and Fall carnivals at her sons’ school, reading, writing fiction, scrapbooking, and a plethora of other hobbies, including waterskiing, r/c car racing, and dirt biking.
Jamie Moesser

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