The most important material in your fire making quest is your tinder source. The tinder you have with you or find and collect provides the spark or coal the ability to grow in size and temperature and eventually ignite your larger tinder and kindling source.
Being able to identify, collect and use natural tinder sources is a skill that requires knowledge and practise. However being prepared before heading out into the bush is a far better plan than going unprepared and hoping to find what you need when in the throws of a winter survival emergency.
Char cloth is a great prepared tinder usually made of cotton or other man made materials. The char cloth can be carried with you in your pack and utilized whenever you choose to make fire or when making fire is a life or death situation. Char cloth is a tinder that you can have absolute confidence in that when you throw a spark onto it, it will grow into a coal substantial enough to light a tinder bundle and nurture into a full fire.
Rather than explain the process in plain text on this page I took a stab at creating a video of the process. This is the first video in the Beyond the Fire series so please excuse any out of frame instruction as the video was made without the use of a camera that had a flip screen.
Knowledge, skills and mindset. Never allow yourself to think that you will not become involved in a wilderness survival emergency. You can never be sure when extreme weather, errored navigation or a traumatic injury will be forced upon you. There will be no opportunity to go back in time and pack what you should have packed for any such emergency. Prepare now. Make a survival kit and carry it with you everywhere you go.