Using Tinder to Start a Campfire: Out of Natural & Man-Mad Materials

lit firewoods in firepit

When lighting a campfire, providing a tinder to keep the flame away from matches, lighters, or other fire-starting techniques, it is necessary to sustain the flame and to create a fire. Many types of tinders can be found in nature, while others can be bought from outdoor retailers.

Using Natural Tinder

Natural tinder comes in several ways, depending on the geographical area. The leaves of deciduous trees can be found in the eastern half of the United States. Pine needles and bark from juniper trees may be more common in the American West. Some of the popular types of natural tinder include:

  • Pine needles
  • Leaves
  • Grasses
  • Bark

Don’t gather material from living trees or plants to avoid eye and effect. In addition, tinder burns best when it is dry and it has no moisture content.

How to Start a Fire Using Nest of Tinder

  1. If the tinder has been collected, make a small nest or pile of stuff. The nest may be as large as a pair of hands carrying a tinder.
  2. Form a hole in the nest to keep the flame out of a match or an ember. The flame burns outward, so make sure the tinder will catch it and burn.
  3. If the tinder has caught a flame, it is possible to add additional tinder, as well as smaller twigs and sticks, to build up the fuel and produce a fire.
  4. Have the nest as well as smaller bits of fuel ready to ignite the blaze.

Using Man-Made Tinder

There are different types of material that are man-made and have the same function as natural wood. Some can be easily found in the backpack, others can be bought from an outdoor retailer. Some common ones that can be brought home are:

  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Cotton balls
  • Lint from the dryer.
  • Newspaper

Keep these items in a sealed plastic bag to keep them dry.

You Can Buy Tinder Online

Outdoor stores sell commercially manufactured tinders, which often have special properties. These may include being water resistant, having the ability to light quickly, and being portable.

Coghlan’s Emergency Tinder is one form of tinder. The tinder pieces look like cotton balls, but according to the manufacturer, they can be lit when wet and burn for a few minutes. Fire Paste is another product made by Coghlan. This flammable paste can be pressed onto a burnable material and then lit with a lighter or lighter. It is a good idea to apply the paste to the base of the fuel so that the flame can rise and the wood can ignite.

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