3 products to make your fall bonfires pop

A man using his full free lighter to light tinder for his bonfire.
Credit: www.surviveoutdoorslonger.com

Fall is the perfect time for bonfires and, with many of us gathering outside to socialize, they are the ideal addition to crisp evening hangouts. To have a successful bonfire, it is critical to have a roaring fire and seating. It’s also helpful if your gathering is insect-free. For my perfect fall bonfire, I looked for items that would help me accomplish these things. I found three products that fit the bill.

Fuel Free Lighter ($25)

The Fuel Free lighter is a windproof, waterproof, and rechargeable electric fire starter. Interestingly, it uses a relatively new type of plasma technology (essentially a high-voltage current passing between two nodes). The lighter will provide 45 lighter uses (4-hour battery life) without the need for traditional butane fuel on a single charge. On the lighter’s opposing end, I also liked the 3-setting flashlight (high, low, and strobe settings). Finally, the lighter comes with a 3-ft tinder cord to help start fires quickly. Best for me is that I lower the risk of my kids burning themselves!  

Cliq Chair ($90)

The Cliq Chair is a low profile, lightweight chair that is made of ripstop ballistic nylon that can handle up to 300 lbs. Made of aircraft-grade aluminum, the legs are not only strong but also rustproof. What is unique about this chair is that it is so small and compact. It is about the same size as my friend’s Hydroflask! One thing I found challenging was how low it sat to the ground. Having a husband and sons who are over 6’, I found it a little too low for their preference. Once I got down into the chair, it was quite comfortable; however, I prefer my chairs to sit a little higher. So, I would recommend this chair to more “average height” people rather than those who stand over 6’ tall.


Most everyone is familiar with the variety of Off! Insect repellents. We have used these for years in my family, but I don’t enjoy the smell of these products and thought I’d look for something new and possibly all-natural. The first product I tried was Natrapel, a non-greasy, DEET-alternative repellent. I liked the smell of this plant-based, lemon eucalyptus product; so much better than the scents offered in other products! Natrapel offers a spray ($12) and wipes ($7 for 12 wipes). The spray claims to provide 6 hours of protection against mosquitoes that may carry the Zika virus, Chikungunya virus, West Nile virus, Dengue virus, and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. In contrast, the wipes repel mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting insects for up to 12 hours. I found that the spray was most effective for the first 5 hours and then seemed to wear off.  The wipes appeared to work the best the first 6 hours, but I will say that it was sweltering outside, and we were sweating a lot, which may have impacted the protection provided.


The final product I tried was Ben’s tick and insect repellent.  Ben’s water-based 100% DEET provides up to 10 hours of protection from ticks and insects that may carry the Zika Virus, West Nile Virus, Lyme disease, and other infectious diseases. This fragrance-free, 30% DEET bug spray is proven to repel chiggers, biting flies, no-see-ums, and disease-carrying insects, including ticks and mosquitoes that may carry Lyme disease, Zika virus, West Nile virus, and dengue fever. Like Natrapel, Ben’s offers both spray ($8) and wipes. Since this product is fragrance-free, I liked it a lot.  As for protection, I found that this repellant was a little better at protecting against insects for longer, around 8 hours.  That’s a good value if you ask me!