Natural Tinder

  • Birch bark – – what an amazing tree. No need writing about this one.
  • Liquid resin/pitch –  is the gas of the woods. You will find them in bubbles on certain tree barks.  Balsam Fir, Douglas Fir and White Spruce. Video link
  • Tinder Fungus – one of them commonly known as chaga will especially be found on the White Birch (paper birch) and the Yellow Birch. There are a few other species of trees which this fungus can be found but it is mostly in the Family of the Birch trees.
  • Horse hoof Fungus (Sorry,I was never good with Latin names) the firestarter in this fungus is commonly known as amadou (Video link)


tinder fungus chaga



Here’s a couple of videos

Video 1

Video 2

Video 3)


  • Fatwood! Who does not like to play with that? Fatwood is simply a term used for trees that have a generous amount of pitch concentrated in one area. When the tree dies; this pitch by gravity will come down and accumulate in certain areas of the tree, saturating the wood.


The pitch is highly flammable. Mixed with the wood that it saturates; it will burn hotter and longer than just wood. It is commonly found in Pine trees, Balsam Fir. It can be harvested in the roots, trunk or at the base of a broken branch. But again depending on the position of the tree or maybe how it broke off, the pitch can be found in other parts as well.

  • All your white Fluffies!! Cattail, fireweed just to name a few. These natural tinder burn quite fast, so you need to be prepared or use it with something else as an addition.
  • Your Grasses!! Well no need to explain that….one hint!! Make sure it’s dry… thought we needed a little humor at this point of your reading.
  • Your Inner bark from the black Poplar and others. Experiment and find out what works. The inner bark will need to be fluffed up a bit.
  • The most important tinder and the one that takes more of an effort are what people call Feather Sticks.

feather sticksWhy do I think it is the most important? First, it’s the only tinder that can be found pretty much anywhere on this planet. Most of the tinder described above will not be found everywhere but only in certain places. So this skill is of the uttermost importance.

Second, it will get your fire going in any weather as long as you know what you are doing. I guess the most important thing to remember is to make your feathers are from the dry part (in the middle) of a dead standing tree.

Alright enough writing. Now there are a lot more I could say about them but this is supposed to be a blog not a book. I have some video links to some of the tinder to help you learn more about them, feel free to check them out on my YouTube videos.

Just before I leave I need to tell you something. I used to and sometimes still do go crazy with tinder and firesteel. I would go out in the woods well armed with a knife and firesteel and try and find as many tinder and ways to make them work as much as I can. I would experiment and work hard to try and discover natural tinder as much as I could. It is a lot of fun.

A truth about this is that I found a lot more failures than successes. But let me tell you that when something works, it’s always a hallelujah moment… very rewarding. So, I am saying this to you my beloved reader, why not do the same? You will have the fun of your life as you explore and spend some quality time in the great wilderness of your part of the world. You never know, you may find something new.


spring 2013 kinnears mills 067

1 thought on “Natural Tinder

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *