A guy named Zach emailed our tips line to let us know that Doritos make for excellent kindling for a fire. So our staff decided to experiment with a bunch of snacks you might bring camping for their multi-purpose potential. “Experiment” is a generous term; we took chips of all different sizes and surface areas, lit them on fire, watched them burn, and arbitrarily decided when to douse them with a cup of water to keep things moving. Every snack—except pretzels, don’t use pretzels—burned at least briefly, and their burns each had different qualities. Some oozed a deep, red-orange cheese-blood as they went up in smoke. Others yielded a stoic, sustained burn. The most oily snacks of the bunch disappeared in mere seconds.
Pure duration of burn is probably not a useful measure in itself; look for intensity and consistency of the burn. The olive oil seaweed chips, for example, erupted at the first touch of flame, but it all happened too fast for a camper to properly stoke a fire. A Cheeto might smolder weakly for a long while, but the flame at any given point could be pathetic. You’ll probably want to strike a balance between the two; Fritos were a viewer favorite. But basically all of these—except pretzels, forget pretzels—should work given some patience.
Here’s our ranking of the snacks we used in order of what might be most useful during a camping trip:
- Doritos JACKED
- All the other chips with oily flavor dust
- Mostly whatever else was left
- Seaweed chips
Or just pick whichever one you wanna eat.