Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Fall and Winter Tinders

As the temperatures drop and frost blankets the foliage it becomes clear that the Sun's summer Rays can no longer warm us or dry out our gear. It becomes vital to our survival that we understand the need to have the knowledge, skills and abilities to start fire in any situation.

It has been stated many times that Mother Nature can be nasty but she always provides you with what you need if you just know where to look.

With hunting season upon us and thousands of folks heading into the bush it's inevitable that some will get lost, suffer hypothermia, break bones and unfortunately some will die from exposure or natural causes.

Although you never plan to suffer a setback you must be prepared for that reality. Therefor knowing how to make fire is the essential skill for warmth and rescue.

Here are 5 natural tinders which you will find ready to harvest in the fall and winter that can help make your fire even when wet.

Cattail is an amazing natural tinder that is best harvested in the fall and winter for fire starting. Found in low lying wet areas such as swamps and ditches. The fluff is great as a coal extender and we use it in all of our fire starting birds nests.

Cedar bark is extremely fibrous when broken down in your hands creates a dry, dusty birds nest that will light by several means of ignition and burn hot enough to ignite your next stage of fuel.  Even when your environment is soaked the inner layer of bark will be dry. 

Old Man's Beard is a moss that grows on the branches of coniferous trees and is best harvested in the fall. A handful of this can be easily lit with matches, lighter and when dried can accept sparks or char cloth. Carrying wet Old Man's Beard on an inside pocket will quickly draw out the moisture and allow it to dry.

Milk Weed pods start to open in the fall exposing the dry fiberous fluff that easily light with several means of ignition. Milk Weed is readily found along the edges of fields and open areas. Milk weed isbest used as part of a birds nest tinder bundle. 

Birch bark is well known to almost anyone who has spent time in the Ontario bush. Whether you harvest sheets off the tree or just small pieces birch bark is highly flammable and easily ignited with several sources of ignition. 

So next time you're out in the bush whether hiking, hunting or on an atv ride be sure you harvest some for your pack

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