We have a ripstrop nylon awning
we use when it's really hot. It's home made from a cheap (but noisy) reinforced plastic awning
kit. We just used the grommet sections and sewed them onto nylon yardage, then saved the telecoping poles for center and corners. We can bungee it to our roof rack, ladder, or side view mirror racks or use poles where we need them. It stores in a skinny roll behind the front seats.
Since we camp at bluegrass music festivals, the beach, the desert and the woods, we find ourselves on a variety of surfaces.
To peg our awning
lines to the ground, we carry several cheap large screwdrivers. The largest size we've found (at the dollar store) are a foot-long, not counting the plastic handle. They are easy to drive in, and easy to retriieve when you're ready to move.
Thanks for the dryer lint firestarter idea! And the trick candles would be great for backpacking! We carry a small kettle barbeque also for places where fires aren't permitted.