Fire and the ability to make it is arguably the most important ability to have in a SHTF scenario. If you’re in a bind and need to make fire quickly, be it for warmth, to boil water or to cook food, having a solid tinder bundle is crucial. A tinder bundle is a collection of material that is easily ignited. While some materials will ignite with the smallest spark, other materials are simply ill-suited for the task. Moisture is the enemy. Simply put, the more moisture content in your tinder bundle, the hotter your ignition temperature is going to be. Not all tinder is created equal, and below is a short list of excellent choices when it comes to firing things up.
Shaved bark can be achieved by feathering a stick. To do this, you simply select a stick, use a knife and press downward, peeling off layers of the stick you have chosen. If you’re lucky enough to find shaved bark chippings, count your blessings. Dry bark shavings are one of the best sources of fire tinder you can find in the wild.
Next time you’re doing the laundry, pay attention to the lint trap. It is full of excellent fire tinder. A great way to ensure that you have the ability to make fire is to store small amounts of lint from your dryer. Using a Ziploc plastic bag, an Altoid box or some other container, collect (and keep dry) your dryer lint. You never know when it could come in handy, and it works incredibly well.
Cotton is an incredibly effective fire-starter. Cotton balls are cheap, easy to store and light to carry. For an even more effective fire-starting tool, try dipping your cotton balls in petroleum jelly. This will permit them to burn even more successfully. Just remember that cotton, similar to all tinder, must be kept very dry. Wet cotton is a no-go in any survival scenario.
Need to make fire, your local newspaper is a great start. Twisting newspaper into a tube or balling it up into a legitimate tinder bundle is an excellent way to get a fire started. Newspaper is ideal in terms of paper-based tinder because it is not glossy finished, such finishing detracts from the flammability of paper.
Let’s say you’re in a bind and you don’t have cotton or bark shavings or newspaper, but you remembered to pack a snack. No problem. That bag of Funyuns (or really any type of potato chip) is an excellent source of tinder. Seriously, the hydrocarbons soaked in fat make for an excellent igniter. Cheetos and Fritos work incredibly well also.