Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cattail Used As Flash Fire Tinder

Cattail Used As Flash Fire Tinder
Last weekend I was out collecting a few wild edibles for the "In The Bush" Facebook Group wild edible challenge and decided I couldn't pass up picking up a few cattail seed pods while I was there digging up the roots as an edible. So from that stash of seed pods I bring you the best flash tender in the woods cattail fluff. Nothing goes up easier or faster picked from nature and as long as the pod has not been broken open you can virtually guarantee that the tender will be dry and ready to ignite! So as always a quick video demonstration and then I will follow that with a step-by-step picture tutorial and my final conclusions.

Step-By-Step Instructions:
1) Gather your cattail seed pods from dead cattail by breaking them off about 2-3" down from the seed pod.  
2) Transport your cattail seed pod to the place you intent to make your fire. Don't break the actual head open until you are ready to light you fire as it will remain water retardant so long as it retains its structural integrity.
3) Once you are ready to build your fire simply break open the seed pod and spread out your tinder at the base of your fire lay. I highly recommend forming a "V" of smalls around your cattail and filling that V with fluff and then placing a few smalls over the fluff and laying a marginal tinder bundle on top of that with a 3/4 tepee fire lay around that. With that fire lay setup you can essentially have a one ferro rod strike and and walk away from it sustainable fire. I will try to do a video on how I set this fire lay up this weekend if I get a chance.
4) Strike your ferro rod into the fluff and you have instant flash ignition...... I couldn't even get a picture of the ferro rod spark shower from the video the flame was that instant. 
5) Full tender bundle ignition within a few seconds and your marginal tender above and hopefully the "V" of smalls shortly there after. 

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Whomever dubbed fatwood the gasoline of the woods obviously had not experienced a cattail fluff fire! While fatwood has a natural accelerant to it (the reason it was dubbed the gasoline of the woods) cattail fluff reacts much the way gasoline does when ignited heavy flame quickly and ignition from just one ferro rod strike.  Now if given the choice I would always choose fatwood over cattail as it creates a more sustainable fire and can be used as both tender and also kenneling. Adding a little cattail fluff to a marginal tender bundle will greatly aid in its ability to start a fire or using it as a stand alone tender bundle in dry conditions is also a viable option. Without a doubt cattail is a tool you need to know how to use in your fire starting tool box.
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