11 Best Tinder For Fire Starting – Natural Tinder Sources (Video Tutorials)

Fire is essential for boiling the water you’ve collected in the wilderness. It’s also critical for cooking your food to make it edible. You will need fire as your primary source of warmth, light, and security from predators. Here are the 11 Best tinder for fire starting and also many natural tinder for Ferro rod!

The best tinder for fire starting are; Red Cedar Bark, Birch Bark, Pine Cone, Tinder Fungus, Fireweed, Thistle Weed, Punk Wood, Wood Shavings, cattails, Fat Wood and Human Hair. These make up the best tinder in the wild.

Best Tinder Firestarter. Pinterest Pin.

Fire can also be used as a beacon if you become lost in the forest and need saving. We are going to teach you many ways to build a fire with these Natural tinder in the wilderness in case you happen to find yourself without any fire starters (fuel) in your survival kit.

Let’s assume the only thing you have with you to help start a fire is a Ferro Rod.  That might be the only thing you need if you’re in the woods when surrounded by trees.  You might be surprised as to how many different types of tinder in the forest that is highly flammable.

Tinder is a readily combustible material used to start a fire.  It will begin to glow under a shower of sparks coupled with gently conveyed air over the glowing tinder until it bursts into flames.  It’s used to ignite kindling; you just need to know what to look for, where to find it and how to ignite it.  In this article, we will be teaching you ways to find 11 natural tinder’s in the wild.

Best tinder for fire starting

 Red Cedar Bark as a Natural Tinder Source

First up is the red cedar tree. This tree is unique with its shaggy red bark that’s highly flammable. Take your knife or any sharp objects you can find and scrape off only the thin layer of reddish bark fibers. After you’ve collected a couple of handful of fibers, make a small bundle. Leave a small gap in the middle for your Ferro Rod to light this natural tinder source.

Watch the video below from EverydayTacticalVids for a great tip for red cedar bark tinder fire.

Birch Bark

The Birch tree is a great natural tinder source with its noticeable white bark and dark horizontal fishers. This source of natural tinder is highly flammable and water resistant, which makes this tree bark useful even in wet weather conditions.

Start by gliding your knife down the tree trunk and peel off sheets of barks. I would recommend doing this on fallen trees as it’s much easier to tear.

Tear the bark into thin strips and wrap it around your finger for a few moments to make it curly; doing this makes it easier to catch a spark. Now take your bundle of small curls and place them on your fire pit then create some sparks with your fire rod. It should only take a moment for the oils in the bark to catch on fire.

You can also turn the birch bark into a fine flammable powder that makes an awesome source of tinder. Take one of your pieces of bark and lightly scrape the inside, creating dust. When you have about a tablespoon full of this birch bark powder, light it on fire. Leave the powder on the bark, and as it starts to burn, the bark will go up in flames shortly after.

Watch the video below from BrokenAntlerOutdoors for a great resource of information about Birch bark As A Tinder Source.

Pine Cones

Pine Cones are indeed very flammable and a great source of natural tinder.  You can quickly locate them just below pine trees. Pine cones contain the same flammable oils and resins as the interior of pine trees.

First, you need to break down the pine cones by crushing them in your hand. Remove the large chunks, so you’re only left with a small, fine fire starter. Now take your fire rod and immerse the little pieces of pine cones with a flood of sparks. Be patient as this will take a bit of time to catch on fire.

Another notable mention is pine resin.  Pine Resin is not considered tinder, so it’s not a very good fire starter, but it is great as a fuel to an already existing fire. You can find pine resin secreting from trees, it’s gold in color and very sticky, but it burns very well when thrown in a small fire.

The video below is from LowBudgetBushcraft and explains the best way to use Pine Cones as tinder.

Tinder Fungus
Tinder Fungus as a Natural Tinder

Tinder Fungus is a familiar name that was given to a wide variety of fungal species.  You can find this fungus growing on the surface of dead or alive Birch trees and on the bottom of oak trees, to name a few.

They vary in color, but one thing they all have in common is their darker spongy core.  Most of these cores are rust in color.

Cut a big chunk of fungus from the tree and look on the inside. The darker colored part is what to use as your igniter fuel. To check if you indeed have it right, cut a piece of the darker interior region and feel it;  If its spongy, yet firm, you’ve got fuel!

Now take your Ferro Rod and let the sparks fall on this great natural tinder source.  It shouldn’t be long until a bright ember form. These embers will stay active for a significant amount of time, so it’s great to carry with you to your next location, be careful not to burn yourself or your belongings. If you immediately need a fire, gently blow on the ember and place it in a pile of dry kindle and dead grass. It shouldn’t take long until you have an intense fire going.

The video below is from MCQBushcraft and explains a bushcraft skill and his knowledge about fire lighting wild tinder fungus.

Fireweed Makes For a Great Source of Natural Tinder
Fireweed as a natural tinder

If you find yourself out in the forest and a large clearing, then you might see some fireweed. You can’t miss this plant since it can grow upwards of eight feet tall.

The purple flowers growing on them is also eye-catching.  In both late summer and early fall, this plant will generate a cotton-like seed that you can use as combustible fuel.

What is unique about this plant is that in the winter, when resources are scarce, you can still find this cotton like substance on the inside of the fireweeds. Just rub them in your hands to reveal it’s flammable seeds.

Bring that back to your fire pit and throw a few sparks with your Ferro Rod and watch it instantly burst into flames.

Another significant advantage to fireweed is that it will burn for a considerable amount of time. The denser you pack it, the longer your fire will last.

Thistle Seed is Another Great Tinder Source
Thistle Seed as natural tinder.

You can find unopened Thistle Seeds as early as late spring. They can easily be opened, exposing their flammable seeds.

You can also find them in the summer after they have fully bloomed, completely exposing its fluffy white cotton seeds. As with fireweed, this natural tinder source should be gathered in a big enough bundle.

Using your Ferro Rod,  let the sparks fall onto them until they catch on fire. It won’t take long as this is highly combustible. After its sufficiently burning, it should then be placed at the bottom of your fire pit to let the slow-burning substance create a more significant fire. Way too easy!

Forrester Bushcraft shows us how to identify the Thistle weed for use as tinder fire in the video bellow.

Punk wood

Punk wood is commonly referred to as trees that are in the process of rotting to the point where they no longer contain any structural integrity.  You can find punk wood reasonably easy on the forest floor around half standing dead trees.

You’ll know if you’ve discovered punk wood as this fallen tree will be very brittle and quickly fall apart in your hands.  Because it is such fragile dust, it will be very susceptible to a flutter of sparks raining down upon it.

As you turn your newly found punk wood into a beautiful bright ember, place it into a pile of dead grass and voila, fire! Punk wood is relatively easy to find and makes for a great source of natural tinder!

The video below from SKW Bushcraft shows us how Punk wood makes a great natural tinder fire.

Wood Shavings

If you carry around a pencil sharpener in your survival kit, then you’re in luck! But let’s face it, who would carry such a thing?  Hmm, That’s a good idea!  The alternative is, of course,  a sharp knife.  You can use your knife to shave off thin slices of wood using ordinary twigs and branches.

This method is often used when dry tinders are hard to find.  After you’ve shaven off enough of this nature tinder wood shavings, you can start the process to ignite them.  It might take a while as they can be a bit stubborn so keep the sparks flowing until they catch on fire. Once they are burning you’ll understand why a good bundle of wood shavings makes for a great source of natural tinder.

Kevin Miller shows us how easy it is for lighting wood shavings with a Ferro rod in the video below.

Cattails as Natural Tinder
Cattails as natural tinder.

The next tinder for fire starting is Cattails. The Cattails are wetland plants with a different flowering spike and flat, blade-like leaves that reach heights from 3 to 10 feet.  They are one of the most common plants in vast marshes and on the edge of ponds.

The highly flammable cotton-like seeds are hidden within their thin brown outer shell, located at the very top of the plant. You can’t miss it!  Be careful in trying to extract the seeds because they are under high pressure and will burst out and catch the wind when released.

The easiest way to retrieve them with minimal loss is to merely place the brown tip in a plastic bag and tear the outer skin.  Your bag will be full in no time, and you will have a great fire starter fuel to ignite your kindling.

Make sure you have a sufficient amount because they burn out very quickly. A significant advantage of finding this plant is that there is usually a considerable amount of them in proximity to one another. Therefore, it is possible to create a massive flame and give yourself a great head start on your fire building.

Ever wondered if Cattail makes good tinder? Wonder no more because Ando will explain this natural tinder fire in the video below.

Fatwood As Natural Tinder
Fatwood as natural tinder.

Fatwood comes from the wood of old pine stumps left for waste after logging; it is made from splitting the stumps of pine trees that contain a high concentration of natural resin. As the stump wood hardens over time, the resin or sap concentrates on creating an all-natural, chemical-free fire starter.

Fatwood can also be found on the part of branches that is the closest to the stump.  The resin that was within the branch has seeped down and settled at the bottom.  Take your knife and cut off the piece of branch to reveal the fatwood. You can even buy Fatwood from Amazon by clicking here to bring with you on your trek.

Watch another video bellow from MCQBushcraft how to use Fatwood as a natural tinder.

Human Hair

Ok, You’ve run out of options, you’re in the desert with no natural tinder. There are no trees or even dead grass around.  Or maybe you’re a tree hugger and feel ashamed of yourself and don’t want to harm a perfectly fine tree. If that’s the case, you have nowhere to turn but yourself to light on fire.

The hair on the top of your head, if you’re fortunate to have any, is extremely flammable.  Chop off as much as you can since they tend to burn up very quickly.  Do with your hair as we did with the tree tinder and you should have a flame going in no time.


So there you have it, what do you think is the best tinder for fire starting? There are plenty of natural tinder sources in the wild that you have many choices of what to burn using your Ferro rod.

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