Charcloth can be bought on the Web at fairly reasonable prices.

It can also be made at home. Levi jeans marked 100% cotton are supposed to be an ideal source of cloth. Just snag a used pair at any thrift store.

However, I've found that some Levis marked 100% cotton definitely aren't.

There is an easy way to make charcloth on a small scale--enough to restock your fire kit, but not so much that you have to build a fire outside.

Take a 100% cotton cotton ball, unroll it, and cut it into 1" lengths.

Stack the pieces, then squeeze the stack down and wrap it tightly in Aluminum foil.

You want the package to look something like a Ramen Flavor Packet: Smooth, flat, and shiny.

Make sure the edges are sealed air-tight.

Using tweezers, hold the package over a candle flame or propane burner for a few seconds. Cook time is usually about 15 seconds, no pinholes and no smoke required.

Let it cool, then unwrap the package.

The cotton should be flat black. If it is, it's charcloth.

If it's not quite done, just re-wrap it and cook it again.

This is a good way to make a little charcloth without having to deal with a lot of smoke and soot.