Carrying some pre made tinder when traveling into wilderness areas, is simply a no brainer. It may be the case that you've arrived late or everything has been soaked by persistent heavy rain. You are cold and could greatly benefit from a nice warming campfire. Rather than spending an hour searching high and low for dry tinder and kindling, simply put your hand in your backpack and pull out your home made tinder!
So what should I use?
Suggestion 1 - Drier lint or cotton balls dipped in Vaseline. The cotton or lint will easily catch a spark with a ferrocerium rod, fire piston, match or lighter. Once lit, it will act as a wick for the Vaseline. An average sized cotton ball dipped in wax should burn for at least 2-3 minutes, which will usually be sufficient time to get most kindling going.
Suggestion 2 - Egg box filled with wood shavings and wax. Fill each egg compartment with wood shavings, then fill with beeswax or similar. Allow to dry and cool. To use, scrape some of the egg box with a knife, to expose the fibres of the cardboard. It should then be possible to light these exposed fibres, fairly easily. Best lit with matches or a lighter although it will work with a ferrocerium rod. Once lit, the wood shavings will greatly extend the burn time of the tinder, giving you plenty of time to get your fire going.
Suggestion 3 - Natural twine dipped in oil. Take some natural cordage such as Jute twine or Cotton and plat into a thicker braid. Now dip this into wax until fully saturated. Remove from the wax and allow to dry and cool. To use, scrape the braided, waxed cord until the fibres are exposed and fluffed up. This should catch a spark with a ferrocerium rod, lighter, match or magnifying lens. If the cord is completely covered in wax, it should be largely waterproof
There are many other variations to this combination of wax, Vaseline and natural fibrous materials as a fire starter. Most will do the job and all are better than nothing! In bad conditions, this could save your life!
Always be prepared!
The Bushgear Team