Guest Post: Nurturing A Tinder Bundle Into Flame – part 2 (by Craig Caudill)

tinder-bundle1If you’ve been paying attention, we already talked about making a good tinder bundle. The next step now is nurturing that tinder bundle into flame so we can make good use of it for cooking, providing warmth, or just irresponsibly starting a forest fire (just kidding!).

Now try to remember that you need three basic things to get a fire started and to keep it going. These would be fuel, ignition source (heat), and oxygen. So that simply means the tinder bundle we just made serves as our fuel source. Heat, or an alternate flame such as a ferro rod, lighted match, or lighter, serves as  your ignition source, and of course oxygen in our surroundings ensures that the fire keeps on going.

Assuming that you’ve made your tinder, we’re going to start a fire using a ferro rod. You can use also use a lighter or a match or whatever ignition source, you have at hand. Using a ferro rod and the correct tinder set up, you can usually get a fire going with only one or two strokes of the ferro rod. You can start by using the ferro rod to light sparks into the middle of the tinder bundle where the easier to light fine tinder is. Once you get the fire started, you have to make sure it’s going to have enough oxygen to keep it going. Keep in mind that when you make your tinder bundle, don’t bunch it up too tight to ensure that plenty of oxygen gets into it, or too loose that you blow the flame into the back of the tinder bundle. You can also provide more air by blowing gently into the tinder bundle. Avoid blowing too hard to prevent blowing it out. You can also wave it in the air gently to get the air circulating. Once your
tinder bundle has glowing red embers and produces more smoke you can blow harder to make the fire bigger.

Remember, more smoke and glowing embers is a good sign.

Once you see the embers going good and you have enough smoke, you can capture even more heat by simply inverting the tinder bundle, so all that ember burns the rest of the tinder bundle rather than burning into the air. Once your tinder bundle has a decent flame going you can now put it on the fire lay.

Things to remember:

  • Don’t blow so hard that you put the fire out, or blow so softly that it’s ineffective.
  • Make sure the tinder bundle is not wrapped too tight that air can’t circulate, or too loose that the flame just blows backward into the tinder.
  • It is important to remember that your tinder bundle should be absolutely dry and not damp.
  • Make sure you have a decent amount of material to sustain your tinder into a good flame.
  • Get enough practice in a safe, controlled scenario, so you’d be ready and prepared when you have to do it for real in the great outdoors.
  • Make sure to thoroughly put out any fire you’ve start, once you no longer need it.

Following these tips and practicing will help you to be always help you to be able to start and maintain your cozy campfire. Don’t forget to check out the full line of Fire Starters (Ignition Sources) at Dan’s Depot.

Craig Caudill is a wilderness survival instructor and regular contributor to Dan’s Depot.

Read part 1, A Good Tinder Bundle


Check out Dan’s Depot Blog, lots of free tips, free preparedness training and tons of great preparedness supplies.

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