Can chips (a.k.a. crisps) be used as fire tinder?

In an emergency situation a hiker may need a campfire fast. If all of your fire tinder is wet, it might be time to open a bag of chips (a.k.a. crisps). Chips are conveniently packaged in a watertight bag.  As a result the chips will be dry and ready to be used as fire tinder when needed. We tested seven different chips to see which one worked the best as fire tinder. Our results are shown below.

seven small chip bags next to each other

Common Fire Tinder

The barbeque chips made poor fire tinder.

1. BBQ Lay’s Potato Chip makes a Poor Fire Starter

  • Average Burn Time: 12.7 seconds
  • Average Mass Consumed: 0.031 grams
  • As a result of the short burn time, BBQ Lays potato chips make a poor fire starter.
plain potato chips made poor fire tinder

2. Lay’s Potato Chip

  • Average Burn Time: 15.3 seconds
  • Average Mass Consumed: 0.039 grams
  • As a result of the short burn time, Lay’s potato chips make a poor fire starter.
Ranch Doritos made poor fire tinder

3. Doritos Ranch

  • Average Burn Time: 18.7 seconds
  • Average Mass Consumed: 0.024 grams
Cheddar Ruffles as fire tinder

4. Cheddar Ruffles

  • Average Burn Time: 25.3 seconds
  • Average Mass Consumed: 0.061 grams
Cheetos as fire tinder

5. Cheesy Cheetos

  • Average Burn Time: 33.7 seconds
  • Average Mass: 0.086 grams
Nacho Doritos worked well as fire tinder

6. Nacho Doritos

  • Average Burn Time: 48.0 seconds
  • Average Mass Change: 0.073 grams
  • As a result of the good burn time, Nacho Doritos make a good fire starter.
Fritos made the best fire tinder

7. Fritos Original Makes the Best Fire Tinder

  • Average Burn Time: 84.3 seconds
  • Average Mass Change: 0.128 grams
  • As a result of the long burn time, Fritos make a great fire starter.

Results for Best Fire Tinder Chip = Fritos Original

We tested the chips by lighting the chip with a single match. On average, the potato-based chips performed the worst. The corn-based chips performed the best. The seasoning in the chips seems to act as a fire retardant. As a result chips with less seasoning seemed to burn longer. The corn-based Fritos Original without any seasoning performed the best with an average burn time of 84 seconds.

If you ever find yourself in a pickle on trail and need to find something else to burn, make sure to add a bag of Fritos to your pack! Just make sure you don’t eat them all. 😉

a plate with burnt chips on it after the fire starter test