As any good survivalist knows, when caught in a survival situation, one of the first tasks at hand will be to build a fire. In addition to knowing how to construct a fire in the wilderness, you’re going to have to have the appropriate resources available which includes not only fuel, but the oh-so-important tinder needed to get the fire going. With regards to fire tinder, there will be many potential sources available – some of which you may not thought about before.
In a survival situation you may be able to find this type of tinder in the bottom of your own pockets. Dryer lint is compressible and easy to ignite and thus makes an excellent fire tinder. However, the disadvantage of dryer lint is that some lint from synthetic materials will not burn as easily as lint from cotton sources.
Cedar tree shavings
Shavings from the bark of a cedar tree make excellent natural fire tinder. The stringy pieces of cedar tree wood can be rubbed between your hands to create small fluffy balls of wood shavings which are very easy to ignite.
Cotton balls coated with Vaseline
Vaseline, a petroleum produce, is highly flammable. In your bugout bag or backpacking pack, you can store Vaseline-coated cotton balls in a waterproof container so you have a ready supply of tinder available. It helps if you merely coat the outside of the cotton balls with Vaseline, leaving the inside core as dry as possible. As an alternative to Vaseline, you can coat the cotton balls with Neosporin. Cotton balls coated with Neosporin, when stored in sterile, waterproof containers, can also serve as a pre made emergency medical supply.
Birch bark shavings
Similar to cedar shavings, birch bark also makes an excellent fire tinder. The bark from birch trees is similar to paper giving it natural ignitable properties.
Believe it or not, human hair packed in a fluffy ball also can be used as fire tinder. The primary disadvantage? It smells really bad when burning.
Other tinder sources
Other ideas for fire tinder include:
- dry grass, leaves
- Dandelion heads
- cattail leaves
- dry pine needles
- shredded tissue paper
- stuffing from inside of pillows or stuffed animals
- old book or newspaper pages
- Q tips
- wool clothing or blankets
- rope fibers
- corn chips
- alcohol prep pads
- steel wool
- shredded cardboard
- animal fur
- feather down
- dry deadwood pieces (i.e. punk wood)
- sock fuzz
- and of course premade char cloth.