I'll argue that a candle stub is an easier helper. Why?

You have the consistent flame to dry off and get the small (pencil lead or twice pencil led size) tinder going. Once that goes, you can get pencil sized stuff going. And then you can work your way up bit by bit to wrist sized branches; which make the good coals you want to cook on. happy

All carrying more robust firestarters helps you do is skip some of the wood collection steps necessary to get a fire going when you don't have them (a section of newspaper lets me skip to logs in my home fireplace all the time).

The trouble with more robust firestarters is that often they fizzle out before you get sustainable ignition in the wood (think of the newspaper example) - and then you are back to square one. cry

Generally speaking, I've found that building the fire slowly helps to ensure success - and garunteed my dinner when I was a Boy Scout.

The big advantage of a candle is that if your initial blaze doesn't destroy it, will keep going for a while, helping you to work through issues when wood won't light.

Has anyone empirically worked thought the weight merits of the various methods of firestarting?