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Lightning Nuggets Lightnin' Bug

rated 3.5 of 5 stars
photo: Lightning Nuggets Lightnin' Bug fire starter

A very simple fire starter that provides a good robust flame and holds up well in storage.


  • Provide a good strong flame for several minutes
  • Can be stored a long time with little effect on performance
  • They are light
  • They're made in the USA


  • None

I have had these Lightnin Bug fire starters setting in a box of miscellaneous gear for almost a year and hadn't brought them along on a trip yet and wondered if they were still any good, so I decided to take a few out of the package to see if they would still light up.


The Lightnin Bug fire starters are about one inch in diameter with a flat side and are made up of resinous pine pitch wood blended with a small amount of food grade paraffin. The package of eight that I have says "1 oz" on the label, but I found the eight balls to weigh a total of 1.7 ounces.

I took one of the balls out of the package and used a Bic lighter to light the ball. The ball does not light instantaneously when you touch a flame to it and you need to apply a flame for several seconds before the ball lights and maintains a flame on its own.

Initially when I set the burning ball down on its flat side it started to go out so I picked it up briefly until the flame was bigger and then set it down and it burned fine from then on. I was actually not lighting the Lightnin Bug correctly, but I'll explain more about that later.

 Here is a short video of the Lightnin Bug burning so you have an idea of the type of flame it produces.

One the package label for the Lightning Bug it states that it burns strong for 7 minutes and while I found that it did burn for seven minutes, it only burned like the video clip above for about four or five minutes.

As I stated earlier I had owned these Lightnin Bugs for about a year and thought that it was great that they would still light up and produce a good strong flame. Since I had opened the package, I figured I would do a test to see how durable the Lightnin Bug was if exposed to adverse conditions.

I took one of the Lightnin Bugs and placed it in a baggie with water and closed it up so the ball would always be in contact with water as shown in the picture below.

I took another Lightnin Bug ball and set it out on my work bench in the open where if it had a volatile components they might evaporate off.

After about a week I took the one Lightnin Bug ball out of the baggie and let it set on my bench for about two days to let it dry out. The ball had swelled in size, was now whiter in color, and was more fragile and probably would have fallen apart if handled roughly.

I then did a simple test comparing how easy it was to light the ball that was stored in water with the one left out on my bench and with one that was stored in the original plastic package. Here is a picture of the three Lightnin Bugs to test with the one soaked in water on the left, the one that sat on my bench in the middle, and the one stored in the plastic package on the right:

I was able to light all three and they each burned for just about seven minutes with each producing about the same size flame.


So in the end the Lightnin Bug is a pretty robust little fire starter.

Earlier I had mentioned that I had a little issue with the Lightnin Bug starting to go out when I set a lit one down on its flat side. I hadn't read the directions until after I was done playing around with the Lightnin Bugs and the directions on the inside of the label state in bold to set the round side down after lighting which takes care of the issue I was having. Here is a picture of the directions that are inside the label.

Overall, the Lightnin Bugs are a nice robust fire starter that can be counted on to light even after long-term storage or being exposed to moisture.


I have been playing with matches since I was a little kid.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $2.95

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Price Historic Range: $2.95-$4.99
Reviewers Paid: $2.95
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