Top Natural Fire Tinders
Getting a fire started in a Survival Situation is my second most important Survival Priority (just below Shelter). Hopefully, you will have the means to make fire in your Survival kit or Bug out Bag but what happens if you find yourself without a source of Tinder to get that fire started ?If you know where to look, Mother Nature can provide you with amazing fire tinders no matter the season. The full list of Naturally occurring Tinder could go on for pages and pages, so Prepping and Survival Guide has prepared this short guide to the Top Natural Fire Tinders you can find in the wild.
The inedible fungus Daldinia Concentrica is known by several common names, including King Alfred’s cake, cramp balls, and Coal Fungus. Coal Fungus can be found in North America, South America and Europe, where it lives on dead and decaying wood, especially on felled ash trees.
To use as a Tinder, simply split the Dry Fungus and place a spark into the centre. Any Spark will catch and light the coal fungus almost immediately, giving you a good few minutes to get your kindling ignited.
Horse Hoof Fungus
Fomes fomentarius (commonly known as the tinder fungus, false tinder fungus, hoof fungus, tinder conk, tinder polypore or ice man fungus) is a species of fungal plant pathogen found in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. The species produces very large polypore fruit bodies which are shaped like a horse’s hoof and vary in colour from a silvery grey to almost black, though they are normally brown. It grows on the side of various species of tree, but is most commonly found growing on dead Birch Trees.
I find the best way to start a fire using Horse Hoof Fungus is to use the saw blade on my Leatherman Wave to create fine shavings as shown in the inset above. Then simply throw your spark into the shavings using which ever method you prefer.
Thistle and other Plant Seeds
At certain times of the year, certain species of Plant (such as the Thistle) produce fluffy seeds. These to can be used as a form of Tinder. Dandelion Seeds, Milk Weed Seed and Cattail down are also great for Natural Fire Tinder, but basically anything fluffy, dry and fibrous should make for a good Tinder.
Birch Bark is well known for its Tinder and Fire Starting capabilities and is probably used by every Bushcraft enthusiast around the world. Simply scrape the inside of the Birch Bark with your knife to build a small pile of fine powder and then throw a spark into it ! The same method can also be applied to other Barks but Birch Bark seems the best at catching that spark.
Feathers, Nesting Materials and Animal Down
You’ll find that birds and other small animals are very picky about nesting materials and choose only the finest and softest little twigs and leaves. These choice items just happen to be perfect for catching a spark or ember. Small rodent nests also make awesome tinder bundles. These are typically hidden under logs, brush-piles or even hidden in a small underground burrow. Even though they can take a little work to find – they are almost ALWAYS DRY. Rodents don’t like to sleep in a wet nest and go out of their way to build it in a dry area. With a little effort you can uncover a dry tinder bundle ‘rodent nest’ even in a down pour of rain.
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