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Video: How to find dry firemaking tinder in wet weather

448 325 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

The ability to start a fire under survival conditions can save your life. The inability can cost your life.

by Leon Pantenburg

Knives Ship Free Delivers Direct

There is an interesting firemaking paradox where I live in Central Oregon. In the summer, it can be very hard to keep from making a fire in the woods. During the winter, it is probably going to be very hard to get a fire going.

Can you find dry firemaking materials during inclimate weather?

Can you find dry firemaking materials during inclimate weather?

But Murphy’s Law states that the more desperately you need a fire, the harder it will be to get one started. If you get wet during a sleet storm, fall in a stream or need a fire to fight off hypothermia, you need a fire ASAP, and you need to know where to find dry tinder and small sticks.

Assuming you have a trustworthy fire ignition system, and some reliable firestarter, you are ready to get started. But the missing component may be the small DRY tinder, twigs and bark to take your survival fire from the ignition stage to where the flame is big enough to start burning intermediate sticks.

Generally speaking, if the weather is bad, you need to look for dry tinder on the dry side of the tree. This is easily found: just find the area that is out of the wind and rain.

Then:

  • Find tiny, dry twigs and sticks. Ideally, they should snap crisply. Gather at least enough to fill your hat. Then double it.
  • Peel off outer bark and remove the dry inner bark.
  • Find bigger, dry sticks you can whittle down to fine tinder the size of a match stick.
  • Gather bigger pieces of firewood.

If you have a reliable ignition system, you should be able to get a fire going quickly.

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1 comment
  • Tim Langdon

    Hi Leon, I enjoyed this. Firestarting skills are something that should be practiced to stay proficient at, especially the techniques specific to inclement and/or super cold weather, which can be the difference between life or (not life). This morning it was -52F out my front door, and if I had to start a fire quick, it’d be a challenge, but I could pull it off because of conditioning and experience- mental conditioning, too, because fear sets in, especially if you are cold, sick, or injured. So key is being organized, having a plan, keeping a sound mind, and not dilly-dallying around too long because time really counts. When it’s super cold out, fuels can act kinda weird, too. I like to keep starter stuff close to my body if I have a choice. Best natural tinder in AK is birchbark, witches hair, and spruce pitch. That stuff is my go-to tinder when I have to siwash out somewhere. Beyond that, given the luxury of choice, there’s a million things that’ll work. Happy and warm Holidays!

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