Testing survival mini tinders

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gear, Survival Equipment & More' started by Revolverrodger, Jan 6, 2020.

  1. Revolverrodger

    Revolverrodger KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 23, 2007
    I tested three of my favorite mini tinders to decide which one I should add to my survival kit: petroleum gelly cotton / Tinder Quick / Coghlan's tinder Watch the video to the end if you wanta recap of the results !

    WILLIAM.M, LG&M, bikerector and 4 others like this.
  2. oldmanron


    Jun 19, 2012
    Hi RR,

    Thanks for this.

    it's amazing how many "petroleum-jellied" cotton balls (five or six) you can stuff into a 35 mm film-canister or plastic pill-bottle. As you know and demonstrated, it's important to then have the gummy balls first stretched-out and fluffed as much as possible (to increase the lightly-coated fibres' surface-area to oxygen) before sparking them.

    But that's not why I am commenting. Years ago it occurred to me (or maybe I read it somewhere) that it's a no-brainer to slip a suitably-sized home-made "ranger-band" onto the canister. Almost weightless, often useful, easy to find, less slippy, and ... the best part, once a "jellied-ball" is burning nicely, you always have the option of adding the ranger-band to the fire. It burns great.

    And there are more where that one came from, right? One blown-out rubber-tube from your bike will last a decade!
  3. Revolverrodger

    Revolverrodger KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 23, 2007
    Excellent suggestion
    I just cut some strips from my old bike inner tube and will test how it burns

    oldmanron likes this.
  4. Phoynix

    Phoynix Basic Member Basic Member

    Dec 21, 2013
    Some people may be interested in a firetinder that goes in the wallet.

    Take a paper towel put it in the oven in a container or on some alfoil and sprinkle wax(I use 50/50 beeswax/palmwax)
    heat for 20 mins or untill the wax is melted and absorbed completely.

    Once its cool you have a hard sheet you can fold to the size of a credit card or paper money and fit in your wallet. Pure bees wax provides the best burn time and hottest flame but can make other things slightly tacky in your wallet and is harder to start with a firesteel.
    If you lightly wax them they will light very easily from a firesteel once you fluff them with a knife by scraping, heavier waxing any open flame like a match or lighter will light them instantly, fire steel is harder but will still work. If you wax them heavily they are water resistant and you can drop them in water and pull out and will still burn, through they become harder to light.

    Each full sized sheet weighs 11 grams, 1/3 an ounce or so(I just measured some I made), obviously this will change based on the type of paper towel and how much wax you add. Tearing off a credit card thin section and rolling up into a tube burned in a heavy wind for 2 minutes, a single sheet will give 4-5 rolls.

    PS-You can do multiple sheets at once just laid ontop of each other and it works out fine, when you first turn the oven off take it out and turn it around so if any wax was settling on the bottom gets soaked up by the top layers then have a little less wax.
  5. LG&M


    Dec 19, 2005
    I like petroleum jelly & cotton stuffed into a red straw about 2" long. Clean & easy to carry.
    I have also put 2 strike anywhere matches in a straw.
    Revolverrodger likes this.
  6. CSG


    Dec 15, 2007
    I went through a phase some years ago and bought a lot of the commercial stuff, like wetfire,etc. I've come to appreciate fatwood and have a five pound box that I'll probably never get through. I always have a few ways to make sparks and I find that while I rarely make a fire, I like to do it shaving the fatwood, often onto a piece of duct tape and building from there. The petrolium cotton balls in a film can (more like empty prescription pill bottles these days) work amazingly well. And instead of the little wetfires, I carry, what I think is the same materials with weber fire cubes. Big hunk, burns a long while.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2020
    Revolverrodger likes this.
  7. CVamberbonehead

    CVamberbonehead Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 6, 2017
    I like the cotton balls with vaseline myself. I will have to start putting my tinder on duct tape, that is a good idea.
    Revolverrodger likes this.
  8. SirJames


    May 17, 2002
    I found petro to be too messy; in the woods I don't want everything sticking to my fingers.

    Quik tinder is my go to but I used to (and still have some) used waxed earplugs from the dollar store. They work the same as Quik tinder but harder to find, and the ones at the Drug stores are much more expensive than Quik tinder.

    I do have fatwood but like Quik tinder if using a firesteel.
    Revolverrodger likes this.
  9. Revolverrodger

    Revolverrodger KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 23, 2007
    I agree that fatwood is awesome. I got to find more of that stuff
  10. Kirk_Ferentz


    Feb 16, 2010
    Thanks for this. I throw one of the little Epiphany Outdoor Gear Baddest Bee Fire Fuses tubes in my mini survival kit in my backpacking gear when I go on trips. I wonder how those would compare. I used to use cotton and jelly but had to spend some credit on a little item at REI and picked up those.
  11. CSG


    Dec 15, 2007
    I've been going through a kick to do a keychain friendly/wallet friendly fire kit. I found a couple drilled bayite 2" firesteels on amazon (have not arrived yet). I stick a couple quick tab tinder into a tiny pill bottle that I got from going gear years ago. It holds two of them. I also looked around for something to go in my wallet and it occurred to me that a couple cotton balls flattened out and put into a tiny zip close glassine envelope would work well. First I did the petroleum jelly thing but it's potentially messy. Then, it occurred to me to carry a little off-brand single use foil packet neosporin packet as it's quite flammable and use it if needed with the cotton balls. It then occurred to me I always have Chapstick in my pocket and it would work the same way. So a tiny capsule of fire tab tinder and a 2" fire steel on my keychain and about three cotton balls flattened out in my wallet, and a lip balm in my pocket.

    Ironically, in 55 years of camping, hiking, and outdoor activities, I've never once needed to make an emergency fire. I guess, behind my eyes, I'm still 12... ;) Not to mention, I always carry a well equipped day pack on my back country walks with proper gear for almost any situation. Sigh.
  12. Kailash Blades

    Kailash Blades KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 21, 2015
    As someone who is constantly around bikes and also lights heaps of fires, this is a lifechanger!
    I had no idea ranger bands and inner tubes were the same thing, I thought they were some schmancy different material
    oldmanron likes this.

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