Gear Tuesday: Charcoal chimney


I'm trying to get away from using charcoal lighter or self-lighting briquets. I don't like having both in the camper, even though I keep them in a sealed plastic bucket.

So, I started using the charcoal chimney again and it's not bad. On our last camping trip I filled the top with a layer of pine cones with charcoal on top. On the bottom I wadded up a bunch of newspaper and lit it.

The regular, non-fueled charcoal took off in about 10 minutes and was ready in about 25 minutes.
It didn't give off any of the chemical odor of the self-lighting charcoal.

Although self-lighting charcoal can come in handy when everything's wet and if you need to start a fire in wet conditions, for general use I'm going back to the chimney and regular charcoal.

You can get a charcoal chimney for about $20 at sporting goods stores.

Photo by Pete Zimowsky/Idaho Statesman

$20?!? You're kidding, right?

My dad would make ours from a metal coffee can and a punch-type can opener for nothing. Back in the day when nobody ever recycled anything.


I haven't bought starter or self starting charcoal since I found the Weber chimney. Gotta love Dad's from back in the day tho. Seems like they could do just about anything with whatever was laying around. Charcoal starter from a coffee can. Brilliant!


What is the chimney sitting in Zimo?


That looks like a car wheel. We just put our chimney on top of the charcoal grate in the grill until it's ready.

My firepan

It's comprised of two galvanized oil pans. One sits up-side down for the base to protect the soil and the other is right side up.


I see. Great Idea for two. And what do you carry them in to keep the soot off everything else?

Canvas army duffle

Works great. Also holds dutch oven lid lifter, pliers, and folding shovel.

Thanks for the tip, Zimo.

Don't know why I never thought of using natural kindling with the charcoal chimney. Might as well do it whenever I can (which is almost always), 'cause it's free and plentiful.

Detroiter - my dad did the coffee can thing too. Do they still sell coffee in metal cans?


The off brands are still in metal cans or you can find condiment cans in the dumpsters behind many commercial food locations if you're not a coffee drinker.


This Charcoal snob has to agree with crikey above. The chimney shown is cheesy and will not light half as well and will last half as long as the Weber brand- sold at Home depot and most Ace Hardwares. 2 sheets of newspaper and you're golden.