What is the best tinder material when making a fire? The answer is simple: a dry, fibrous material that catches a spark even in wet conditions. Fire starting woes are compounded when the dry materials are not available. Every bug out bag, camping, hiking or emergency kit should include redundant layers for making fire.
Using a lighter does not guarantee fire. It may produce a flame (depending on the available conditions), but you will need dry tinder in your fire to get warm. However, you can make your own fire starter tabs and I am going to show you how.
- Jute twine (10 to 12 feet) – find the thicker twine if possible
- Wax (half-handful)
- Double boiler and stove (heat source)
- Nail or metal pin like a door hinge pin
- Variable speed drill (not necessary but does help a lot)
Set up your double boiler with enough water in the bottom container to make the top one float. Your kitchen stove will also work. However, to avoid igniting the wax, don’t use open flames or high heat directly on a pan with wax in the bottom.
Measure and then cut about 12 feet of jute twine. This is somewhere around 2 arm spans. Roll it around 3 of your fingers to make a loose bundle. After this, place it in the melted wax. Flip it over to completely saturate the jute. The twine is very absorbent and won’t take long to soak up the liquid wax. Put it aside and prepare your drill.
You don’t necessary need a drill, but it does make things easier. You could simply wind the twine around a nail or metal pin by hand. However, it is way easier to use a power tool!
Place the drill in a vice. Tie one end of the twine to the head end of the pin with a basic slip knot. Do this fairly quickly after removing the bundle from the wax. The longer you wait, the stiffer the waxed twine becomes.
Keep one hand on the trigger of the drill and use the other to hold the tag end of the twin. Slowly squeeze the trigger to begin winding the twine around the pin.
You are trying to coil the cord almost to the drill bit opening on your first pass. When you reach that point near the drill, guide the twine back to the other end.
Remove the pin from the drill. Hold the bundle in your hand and press it gently down on a hard surface, causing the head end of the pin to emerge from the top of the bundle. After that, grab the end and pull. If you used a small metal pin, the bundle will slide with little effort.
Tie the loose tag end at the middle of the bundle, leaving a 1-inch tag to hang freely. This loose tag end is where you’ll start unrolling pieces from the bundle.
While the wax is still liquid, hold the knot end of the bundle and coat with the remaining melted wax on all sides. Hang it from the knot with a clip to dry. Once dry, repeat this step twice.
Your bundle will now look very similar to a honeycomb, with three layers of wax.
In order to use it, find the short tag end at the middle of the bundle from step 4. Untie and roll off a 2-inch section. The wax will crumble, but won’t affect the waterproofing.
Now, process the piece by pulling and fraying the individual strands to create a fibrous looking nest. All you have to do at this point is light it up!
Now you are ready to beat the odds with this waterproof hack. You never know when you need to set up a fire in poor conditions, so you’d better start prepping accordingly!
Do you know any other hacks that guarantee fire? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.