I was trying to decide if I should make my fire "from scratch" or demonstrate one of my methods of fire-starting from my day pack. I chose the latter.
Here's what you'll need to make your little cotton ball fire starters:
Put a few handfuls of cotton balls into the zip-top bag, add a dallop of the jelly, seal, and knead until the cotton balls are coated. If they don't quite all get a dose of the jelly, just add a bit more and knead again. So easy! Now you can put them in your day pack, along with your steel wool, magnesium bar, and sparker.
So, I set up my fire pit with some chunks of wood we wanted to get rid of. On top of that I placed some pine cones. Small, rough items such as pine cones or bits of bark with allow your flame to "catch hold" and grow. Typically you would start with very thin, papery items such as dry grass, moss, papery or fiberous bark, or thin wood shavings. Since our cotton balls are taking its place, we won't need papery items, just something for the flame to hold onto.
Take a few of your greasy little cotton balls and spread them open a bit. The spark will ignite the dry cotton you've uncovered by spreading it open, and the petroleum jelly-covered parts will act as a torch to keep the flame burning long enough for you to add kindling.
I attempted to use my sparker to ignite the flame, but I was using the notched edges on the side, which didn't throw off a very big spark. Willie took over and used the flat edge at the top to produce a spark large enough to start the fire.
Check out the video to see how easily these little fire starters ignited!