Home Essentials Fire Building a Fire Using a Tinder Bundle

Building a Fire Using a Tinder Bundle

In the wild you need to know the skills involved in building a fire using a tinder bundle, so you craft some fire for cooking, providing warmth and light.


Building a Fire Using a Tinder Bundle

When starting a fire, there are 3 things parts to the formula.

  1. Ignition source (lighter, ferro rod, bow drill or matches) – If you opt for a ferro rod make sure to get a large thick ferro rod, that will last you a long time, won’t break as easily and is harder to lose!
  2. Fuel (tinder bundle)
  3. Oxygen- Oxygen be provided by the air around you, if that is not enough you can blow gently into the hot ember or fire. You may also swing it around gently. When crafting a fire, balance is key. Too much air can blow the fire out, or make it flare out of control. Too little oxygen and your fire suffocates and goes out.

The equation looks like this:

light the tinder bundle with your ignition source +  supplying the ember or flame with the right amount of oxygen = Fire

In Part 1 we discussed your tinder bundle, now we’re ready to start building a fire using a tinder bundle and a ferro rod, lighter, matches, bow drill or whatever ignition source, you have on hand.

It should only take one or two strokes of the ferro rod to ignite your tinder bundle . Use the ferro rod to push sparks into the middle of the tinder bundle onto your ball of fine tinder. Always hold the edge of your knife or scraper firmly in place and pull the ferro rod up against it. This way the shower of sparks goes where you want it, and you aren’t shoving your “scraper” into your tinder bundle.

old hickory and ferro rod
My $12 Old Hickory knife and large ferro-rod ready to throw some sparks!


Once the fire is started, you have to nurse it with enough oxygen to keep it going.  Provide more oxygen by blowing gently into the tinder bundle. Avoid blowing so hard that you blow it out. Once the tinder bundle has glowing a red ember and starts smoking you can blow a bit harder to make the flames grow.  Once you have embers or a small flame, inverting the tinder bundle so that the embers or flame are at the underside can help capture more heat and ignite more tinder, rather than burning into the open air.


Once your tinder bundle has a decent flame going you can now put in the fire area and start feeding it twigs, then sticks, then larger branches and build up to logs.


Things to remember:

  • Make sure you have a decent amount of material (dry twigs, sticks and branches) to sustain your tinder into a good flame.
  • Make sure you have gathered enough firewood for the purpose of the fire (cooking, campfire, etc), you do NOT want to abandon your fire to go get more wood.
  • Get enough practice in a safe, controlled scenario, so you’re prepared when you have to do it for real.
  • Make sure to put out any fire you’ve start, when you no longer need it.

Following these tips will help you start your campfire.

See Part 1: A Tinder Bundle