How to make your own Tinder

Fire starting usually consists of three stages: lighting the tinder, kindling, and then the fuel. Tinder is the easily lit material that you light first in order to get your small pieces of wood (kindling) started. Then you can start adding your larger pieces of wood (fuel.)

How to Make Your Own Tinder

Dried grass, leaves, lint, inner bark, or anything else that can take a spark are considered tinder. Just be sure your tinder is dead and dry. It can be hard to find proper tinder in the woods since things found on the ground are usually wet or damp. Commercially made emergency tinder is available but you can create your own perfectly fine tinder in your home.

Home Made Survival Tinder

You can make your own tinder with some cotton balls and some regular petroleum jelly. Soaking the cotton balls with petroleum jelly will create an emergency tinder that will burn for about 8 minutes. This is plenty of time to get other tinder and kindling on fire.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is to melt the petroleum jelly in a pan over low heat and then place the cotton balls in the melted liquid. The cotton balls will soak up the liquid. Set the soaked cotton balls on a paper plate and let them harden. Be careful because the liquid is hot.

You should just let the emergency tinders cool completely before doing anything with them. Once they are cooled, put them in an appropriate tinder box and you're all set. I have a batch in a large zip lock bag as extras. Others I have in a couple of watertight match boxes.

Another great idea I've learned is to wrap the soaked cotton balls in aluminum foil. If you wrap them in aluminum foil, you can make a candle that will last about an hour. Take your knife and cut a couple of slices just through the aluminum foil. From the opening, you can pull out a few tufts of cotton that will act as your wick.

Light the wick and you have a candle. I've done this and got about an hour out of one petroleum soaked cotton balls. It went out once after about a half hour but I simply pulled a bit more cotton out and it stayed lit for another half hour.

Now you know how to make your own tinder.

Tip: put your cotton balls in foil and have long lasting candles!

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