Making Fire: Common Sources of Fuel to Use for a Tinder Bundle.

Posted: March 3, 2016 in All Others, SHTF Preparedness, Survival and Skills, Survival for Kids

The week of fire

As we all know getting an ember is only half the battle when trying to Make Fire. Once you have the ember, transferring the ember to a Tinder Bundle can be tricky and then turning the ember into fire is a whole different story. A large part of getting the Tinder Bundle to ignite into a small flame is a combination of oxygen and fuel.

For the final article we are presenting a listing of several fuel sources that we have tried with some success in the past.

Cotton Balls & Petroleum Jelly: Mix some cotton balls with some Vaseline and store them in a container. Vaseline (petroleum jelly) is flammable and will enable the cotton ball to burn much longer.

Tree Bark: First look for fallen trees in the area but avoid rotten bark. The inside of most bark will remain fairly dry even in wet weather. Shave it. Peel the bark from a limb. Cedar is particularly good. Birch bark is uniquely thin and easy to peel off and burn.

Pine needles (brown/dried/dead). These can be found in plenty. Be wary of damp needles though.

Very Small Twigs: From dead branches, snap off very small twigs and then shave them with a knife into shredded pieces. The key here is small shavings.

Leaves: They must be completely dry to burn well. Crumple into small pieces.

Dried Grass: Burns fast, but needs to be very dry.

Paper: All sorts of paper including newspaper, paper bags, etc., except glossy papers from magazines which do not burn well.

Shavings from Firewood: Use axe or knife to shave off small dry pieces which can be further shredded or chipped.

Cattails: Best in the fall and found near water. Look for the brown sausage shape piece. Take this off and break it open for the fluffy stuff inside.

Fine Steel Wool: Yes the fine steel wool which you might be using to scour your pots and pans is flammable.

Char Cloth: Make this ahead of time. Cut small squares / strips of 100% cotton cloth and insert in a metal container which can seal air-tight (e.g. metal water bottle). Place container on fire or hot coals for about 5 minutes. Remove and let cool off. Unseal the lid and check that the cloth has turned black. These pieces will accept a spark nicely and flame. Store in a weatherproof container.  (A How To Make Char Cloth article will be published soon.)

Dryer Lint: Collect some of this and stuff it in a small weatherproof container. Try it yourself – gather up a ball of dryer lint and try lighting it outside – it works.

Gauze Bandages: You can raid your first aid kit for this.

Tampons & Pads: It will burn. Mix with petroleum jelly for longer lasting flame.

Cigarette Filters: Pull apart to form a ‘nest’. With enough of them, this can make for an effective tinder bundle.

Dried Organic Plant Material: Just about any dead dry plant material will burn. Break it into very small pieces and fluff it up.

“Fatwood”: This resin-impregnated heartwood becomes hard and rot-resistant. The stump (and tap root) left in the ground after a tree has fallen or has been cut is an excellent source of fatwood.

String: Cut off several feet, spread out the fibers, and form into a bird’s nest.

Rubber Bicycle Tire Inner Tubes: Cut in to strips. The high density rubber is extremely flammable and long burning.

Steel Wool: Size 0000 steel wool and a nine volt battery works every time.

Please feel welcome to leave any feedback or ideas. And as always, you can find all your supplies for your survival & prepping needs at the Backyard Prepper US Equipment and Supply Store.

We hope you have enjoyed The Week of Fire…


  1. Steve B says:

    In regards to using pine needles for tinder, you can also stomp on pine cones (the opened up ones of course) and they make a pretty good tinder.. pitch can also help get your fire going!!


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