Friday, April 24, 2015

So It's Time For a Tinder Bundle- What Can You Use?

So you need a fire but have no idea where to start with a tinder bundle. In this article I will talk about several natural and man-made tinder materials which have a wide variety of effectiveness. I will try to keep them in order by easiest to most difficult to light with a ferro rod within the categories of natural and man-made tinder.
Need Additional Help Getting Your Fire Started? Try a few of these methodsDryer Lint Tinder Bundle  (LINK); Gorilla Tape Tinder Bundle (LINK); Rub Cloth (LINK); Dragon Ball Fire Starters (LINK); Char Cloth (LINK); Solar Ignition (LINK); One Stick Fire (LINK); Fire Pad (LINK); DIY Fire Starter: Cotton & Petroleum Jelly Modification  (LINK); Camp Fire vs. Survival Fire vs. Cooking Fire (LINK); Building a Sustainable Fire In Wet Conditions (LINK); Split Match Trick (LINK); Survival Resources 4x Fresnel Magnifier (LINK); Fatwood Fire (LINK); Evolution of My Pocket Fire Kit (LINK); Split Wood Fires: Using Your Knife As A Spokeshave (LINK); Cattail Fluff Used as Flash Tinder (LINK); Wetfire Tinder (LINK); Twig Bundle Fire (LINK).
Natural Tinder Sources:
Jute Twine: Jute twine is without a doubt one of the easiest natural tinder materials to ignite (using a ferro rod, flint/steel, magnification, etc) weather in its standard rope form, separated into smaller strands, or made into charred material. The best part about this tinder is that is a multipurpose portion of your kit as it can be used as cordage and combustion. Carry it with you in cordage form and use it as such and when no longer needed simply process it down as far as possible and keep it for a flash tinder. Now for the bad news: this is a flash tinder and is not suitable for a tinder bundle on its own as you will not have a sufficient burn time to catch marginal smalls for you fire. To get around this you simply must add a little more marginal tinder to the bundle and you will have a much longer burn time.
Cattail:While this is another flash tinder it is also multipurpose and widely available. To use cattail fluff simply break off a small amount into a more marginal tinder bundle and you will easily ignite the tinder bundle with just one ferro rod strike.
Dry Dead Grass: Dead standing grass from right-of-ways is one of the easiest tinder bundles you can make from natural materials that is not a flash tinder. I like to use this type of tinder with my twig bundle fires (See How To Make One HERE- LINK) as they seem to go up like roman candles when you add them to the center of the twig bundle. This tinder is also one of the easiest to collect as you only have to grab some dead standing grass rip it up a little to process it and you have a tinder bundle ready to go.
Fatwood: I'm a huge fan and proponent of having fatwood in every fire kit as it is both a tinder, accelerant and flame extender. You can easily get feather sticks or shavings to take a flame with a ferro rod and if you process that down just a little further to tinder dust you will have a guaranteed flame with a quick strike of a ferro rod.
Inner Barks: While Tulip Poplar is my preferred inner bark there are many which can be used. To get to the inner bark just use the 90 degree spine of your knife to remove the outer bark and revel the inner fibrous bark. The more fibrous the inner bark the better it will be for processing down and making a great tinder bundle. For the most part these inner barks will be dry so pick up a dead stick and get to scraping. This type of tinder will easily light with a ferro rod if dry but if soaking wet and more marginal simply add some of the other tinder materials above to tinder bundle and you will have a decent amount of burn time to light your fire.
Split-Wood Scrapings:This can be done with both hard and soft wood but the hard woods are much more difficult and you would be better off just making feather sticks. With soft woods this is an easy way to get dry tinder and makes a bundle which will give you a nice ling burning bundle.

 Don't Have a fire Kit? Buy One Here

Man-Made Tinder Sources
Dryer Lint: Moisture is your enemy with dryer lint but I have got it to work well in the winter with flint/steel, ferro rods, and magnification, you just have to keep it in a sealed moisture proof container. If it gets moist you will have your work cut out for you. The great thing about lint is that you just need to scrape the clothing you are wearing with you knife and you will have ready made tinder ready to deploy.

WetFire:This stuff works extremely well; however, it does have a fairly short shelf life when opened and once that time frame is over its no good to you whatsoever. You can also reuse this tinder as it is fairly easy to put it out and reuse if needed.
Cotton & Petroleum Jelly: A lot of people love this fire method and I can understand why as it is so easy to ignite and get a fire going using this method. I personally don't like this method due to the mess it makes and the fact it isn't multifunctional in any way,
Fire Pad Fire Starters:This little fire starter is the perfect size to fit two into an Altoids container. I personally split it into four sections before striking my ferro rod into it and the newest ones I made will burn for up to 15 minutes with great intensity. The best thing about these fire starters are they are waterproof, can be made in a few hours and you only need cotton makeup pads, camp fuel and wax.
Dragon Ball Fire Tinder: These are essentially the same as the Firepad fire starters except cotton balls are used in place of the makeup pads and have a shorter burn time. These are also a little harder to light as they are more compact that the Firepads and you have to cut them into quarters instead of ripping them into quarters. 
Gorilla Tape: This multi functional item can be made into a Container (LINK), Cordage (LINK), used for first aid or even as a fire starter/ fire extender. I do have to say that this is one of the harder kit items to light on fire, as you have to process it down to very fine fibers which can be difficult due to how sticky it is. It can be added to a flash tinder bundle to extend your flame if needed as well so this is without a doubt one of the most multipurpose portions of your fire kit.

There are a wide varieties of tinder and sure fire options out there that can be used for a wide variety of circumstances. I personally prefer natural tinder like grasses or inner barks with a little fat wood mixed in on occasion. For some reason I find it hard to use my homemade or purchased fire starters when others are right there ready for you and help me hone my skills at the same time. While I do believe everyone should practice with sure fire type options and keep them in their kit I also think one should not get to the point where they need those man-made fire starters to start a fire. To hone your skills use as many different natural tinder materials as you can get your hands on each time your are out honing your skills!

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1 comment:

  1. Cotton and petroleum jelly can be used for: Chapped lips, blisters, scrapes, sun burn. Lubricating weapon actions, oiling blued finish rifles, carbon steel knife blades, to stop rust. Also patch material for black powder weapons. Just to name a couple uses, hope this helps. Preston/ Katcv's Edge Outdoors