Make your own emergency tinder for your BOB

Rating - 100%
14   0   0
Joined
Aug 27, 2007
Messages
15,355
Likes
10,887
Location
Texas

ochmude

Marine Veteran
Rating - 100%
11   0   0
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
6,315
Likes
1,799
Location
Yuma, AZ
So I saw this for the first time the other day. "Emergency tinder." And I thought how stupid to buy such a thing. I bet I can make it.

http://www.survival-gear.com/emergency-tinder.htm


Then I clicked on the linky of how to do it yourself.
http://www.survival-gear.com/makeyourowntinder.htm

I would suggest putting the cottonballs on wax paper as they won't stick when they harden. Haven't tried it yet. I'll let you know.

That's exactly what I use for camping/hiking, except I use dryer lint instead of cotton balls. The lint is 100% free and I find that it catches a spark better than the cotton balls. I take a bunch of lint, make little balls, and soak it in melted Vaseline (the wax paper works well just like you suggested).
 

Andy in NH

NES Life Member
NES Member
Rating - 100%
6   0   0
Joined
Aug 14, 2007
Messages
5,048
Likes
10,482
Location
SW NH
That's one of the tinders I use in my fire kit (6 oz.).

P8041144.jpg


If you are going to use the cotton balls, make sure that the package says 100% cotton - some "cotton balls" come with a blend of synthetic fibers that don't help your fire building.

I've found that if you use too much petroleum jelly in the mixture, it can be more difficult to catch a spark.

I just put the tinder balls in a zip lock bag and call it good.

PennyPincher and ochmude didn't mention it, but I'd like to hear if they pull their tinder balls apart a bit before striking the spark at it. When I do it, I pull the cotton ball apart until it is about the size of a poker chip. I find that it catches the flying sparks easier this way.

I also carry a bit of the manufactured tinder. For me, the store bought tinder has performed better after soaking it in a pail of water when compared to my homemade tinder. Being the cynic I am, when a company calls its product "wet fire" I just had to find out for myself.

On a side note: shredded birch bark performed just as well as the manufactured stuff.
 

ochmude

Marine Veteran
Rating - 100%
11   0   0
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
6,315
Likes
1,799
Location
Yuma, AZ
PennyPincher and ochmude didn't mention it, but I'd like to hear if they pull their tinder balls apart a bit before striking the spark at it. When I do it, I pull the cotton ball apart until it is about the size of a poker chip. I find that it catches the flying sparks easier this way.

Yup, I pull it apart and spread it out before trying to light it. I find that this a) makes it so I don't have to aim as carefully when I'm scraping the sparks and b) it sometimes exposes a few fibers of completely dry lint with no jelly on them. It's not difficult to get the jelly soaked lint to catch a spark, but dry lint will ignite if you look at it angrily.
 

GM-GUY

NES Member
Rating - 100%
6   0   0
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
12,622
Likes
12,131
Location
North Central Mass
I did the cotton ball thing and a pan of vaseline on the stove. I tested one of the balls, it caught easily and burned for 5 minutes at a good rate and another 5 at a lower rate.
 
Rating - 100%
5   0   0
Joined
Oct 15, 2008
Messages
4,095
Likes
780
Location
Live Free or Die
That's exactly what I use for camping/hiking, except I use dryer lint instead of cotton balls. The lint is 100% free and I find that it catches a spark better than the cotton balls. I take a bunch of lint, make little balls, and soak it in melted Vaseline (the wax paper works well just like you suggested).

Definitely the way to go.

I did some historical mountain man style camping years ago, and we did the whole charred cloth spark catcher, which works really well, but for the time it takes to make and the amount of practice you need, it's far more practical to just empty your lint trap.
 
Rating - 100%
13   0   0
Joined
Nov 18, 2008
Messages
5,020
Likes
2,852
Lint from your dryer can be lit with just an empty bic lighter flint. Spin it backwards a couple times then one flick forward into a ball of dryer lint. Obviously the real flints work better.
 
Rating - 100%
1   0   0
Joined
Feb 8, 2008
Messages
1,120
Likes
83
Location
Southern NH and Lutz, Fl
A good way to store the cotton balls is in a cigar tube with a cap. My plan is to tie a string on bottom one and just pull on that to get them out. You should be able to pack quite a few in a small space that way.
 
Rating - 100%
14   0   0
Joined
Aug 27, 2007
Messages
15,355
Likes
10,887
Location
Texas
A good way to store the cotton balls is in a cigar tube with a cap. My plan is to tie a string on bottom one and just pull on that to get them out. You should be able to pack quite a few in a small space that way.

That's a neat trick. I think I'll try it. Now I just need a cigar tube. Damn, I gave those up when I quit smoking.
 
Rating - 100%
19   0   0
Joined
Nov 2, 2005
Messages
5,872
Likes
221
Location
North Central MA
That's one of the tinders I use in my fire kit (6 oz.).

P8041144.jpg


I also carry a bit of the manufactured tinder. For me, the store bought tinder has performed better after soaking it in a pail of water when compared to my homemade tinder. Being the cynic I am, when a company calls its product "wet fire" I just had to find out for myself.

Wetfire is good stuff. They claim 1 of those cubes can boil a cup of water, which in an emergency could be very hand for making quick warming food (mountain house). I need to make small stove to try it in (they actually sell one for it).
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Apr 6, 2009
Messages
194
Likes
10
Location
Pelham, NH
I put my petroleum jelly cotton balls in these little travel container things from Wal-smut:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Red-Blue-Travel-Jars/14255318
0068333321568_215X215.jpg


They only hold 2 cotton balls but, I think they are good for a small kit. I like that they take up very little space so I can toss them somewhere and not think about it unless I need them.
I have one in my glove compartment and one in the tank bag on my bike to go along with the boy scout ferrocerium rod and striker that lives on my keychain ($3 at the boy scout store, works great).

I've been meaning to get some of that wetfire stuff and try it out, looks neat.
 

KBCraig

NES Member
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Dec 29, 2009
Messages
17,697
Likes
17,923
Location
Granite State of Mind
Wash out a Frito-Lay Bean Dip can, or any similar short can with a replaceable plastic lid. Cut strips of corrugated cardboard 1/4" narrower than the depth of the can (make sure to cut across the corrugation, not with it). Roll the cardboard tightly and put it in the can.

Pour in melted parrafin wax (canning wax), leaving just a bit of cardboard exposed.

Let cool, seal with the lid, and toss in your BOB. It can be used like a Sterno can, or as a fire starter.
 

cstockwell

NES Member
Rating - 100%
10   0   0
Joined
Sep 16, 2008
Messages
1,390
Likes
1,184
Location
Southeast MA
a trick i was shown many years ago was to take an empty egg carton (cardboard type ones) and melt a mixture of sawdust and candle wax together into these. You can break off these individually and they worked great as fire starters for a good fire even in wet conditions. You would still need a good way of igniting them though as they won't take with a fire steel etc.

I guess you could put one of the pre-made cotton ball setups as above pushed into the top of these as it is drying allowing you to have something that ignites easily and still burns well. I am going to have to experiment to see if the cotton ball setup alone works just as well if not better than the wax/sawdust thing.
 
Last edited:
Rating - 96.4%
26   1   1
Joined
Nov 13, 2008
Messages
4,077
Likes
392
Location
Texas. See ya later Suckachusetts
You can also make your own Char, whic is awesome tinder. It lights with the lightest spark.

Another trick with cotton balls, instead of using vaseline, use antibiotic ointment. That way it can be used multiple times for multiple things(like cuts).
 
Rating - 100%
14   0   0
Joined
Aug 27, 2007
Messages
15,355
Likes
10,887
Location
Texas
These things work really good! I used a lighter and one of these to start a fire in the chimenea tonight. Very quick, very little tinder needed.
 

MisterHappy

NES Member
Rating - 100%
18   0   0
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Messages
26,509
Likes
14,503
Location
On the 16 yard line, shootin' for the Lewis!
a trick i was shown many years ago was to take an empty egg carton (cardboard type ones) and melt a mixture of sawdust and candle wax together into these. You can break off these individually and they worked great as fire starters for a good fire even in wet conditions. You would still need a good way of igniting them though as they won't take with a fire steel etc.

.

A friend of mine made these, and added some magnesium to the mix....according to reports, it worked REAL good!
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Apr 24, 2008
Messages
22
Likes
3
Location
S.W. Vermont
Don’t forget about some 0000 steel wool and a 9volt battery [grin]

Also mix gun powder and nail polish remover into a paste while still tacky stick some 0000 steel wool to it store in a empty film canister touch a 9 volt to it and it will burn nicely [wink]

Also do keep the 9 volt battery in a film canister too
 

Titan

Banned
Rating - 100%
4   0   0
Joined
Feb 7, 2008
Messages
5,997
Likes
358
Location
South Eastern MA
When they say 'low heat' for melting the petroleum jelly, does anyone know what that means? Can it work on a gas stove on low?

I'm thinking I'll have some convincing to do, in order to get the wife to okay the melting of a petroleum based product on 'her' stove, in 'her' kitchen.

Any info I can get that will help would be great!
 

ochmude

Marine Veteran
Rating - 100%
11   0   0
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
6,315
Likes
1,799
Location
Yuma, AZ
When they say 'low heat' for melting the petroleum jelly, does anyone know what that means? Can it work on a gas stove on low?

I'm thinking I'll have some convincing to do, in order to get the wife to okay the melting of a petroleum based product on 'her' stove, in 'her' kitchen.

Any info I can get that will help would be great!

I don't see any reason why a gas stove wouldn't work. You could stick a container of it on your dash for an hour or so in direct sunlight and it would probably be sufficiently melted.
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Apr 6, 2009
Messages
194
Likes
10
Location
Pelham, NH
I don't see any reason why a gas stove wouldn't work. You could stick a container of it on your dash for an hour or so in direct sunlight and it would probably be sufficiently melted.
that would probably work, or go out side and make a small cooking fire. Just don't use one of HER pots to melt the PJ[wink]
 

P-14

NES Member
Rating - 100%
28   0   0
Joined
Jun 21, 2007
Messages
8,106
Likes
1,480
Location
Chelsea, MA
When they say 'low heat' for melting the petroleum jelly, does anyone know what that means? Can it work on a gas stove on low?

I'm thinking I'll have some convincing to do, in order to get the wife to okay the melting of a petroleum based product on 'her' stove, in 'her' kitchen.

Any info I can get that will help would be great!

I put it in a pan with a little water and heat the water. I've also nuked it in the microwave to melt it.
 
Rating - 100%
14   0   0
Joined
Aug 27, 2007
Messages
15,355
Likes
10,887
Location
Texas
When they say 'low heat' for melting the petroleum jelly, does anyone know what that means? Can it work on a gas stove on low?

I'm thinking I'll have some convincing to do, in order to get the wife to okay the melting of a petroleum based product on 'her' stove, in 'her' kitchen.

Any info I can get that will help would be great!

I tossed it in a pan on low heat on a gas stove. no problem. didn't set the house on fire or anything. washed the pan when done.
 
Top Bottom