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#162467 - 01/11/09 08:29 PM Easy to find and carry accelerant
gonewiththewind Offline

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1517
We have all known about a cotton ball saturated with petroleum jelly for tinder. It takes a spark easily, burns hotter and longer. I have just included in all my kits tubes of white petroleum jelly intended as lip balm. They are in durable, small squeeze tubes and are easily carried in any fashion.

Any thoughts or opinions?

#162468 - 01/11/09 08:36 PM Re: Easy to find and carry accelerant [Re: gonewiththewind]
Kris Offline

Registered: 04/13/07
Posts: 623
Loc: A Canadian in the UK
I like taking Melem (http://www.melemusa.com/) with me.

Main ingredient is petroleum jelly, and also contains liquid paraffin, lanolin, steric acid and 'perfume'.

You can get very small containers of it, excellent as a fire starter, and useful for many things such as:
-chapped lips
-mosquito bites
-poison ivy
-insect bites
-cold sores
-jelly fish stings
-sea itch (it works wonders for this... trust me)
-diaper rash

"One should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything"
William of Ockham (1285-1349)

#162474 - 01/11/09 09:24 PM Re: Easy to find and carry accelerant [Re: gonewiththewind]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078

Halfords Rubber solution makes for an excellent easy to find (in the UK) high performance fire accelerant. A little squirt of this rubber solution will burn for at least 1 minute and only requires a single spark from a firesteel. Bicycle inner tubes make an excellent tinder.


The Rubber solution is also useful in order to make bicycle inner tube puncture repairs if some patches are also available.

#162479 - 01/11/09 09:52 PM Re: Easy to find and carry accelerant [Re: Kris]
scafool Offline

Registered: 12/18/08
Posts: 1534
Loc: Muskoka
Man made:

A candle stub.
It is not for catching a spark, but sometimes it is what I use the match or lighter to light first.

Sometimes I can get a match to light but it does not have enough heat to start the fire burning. A candle stub lasts a long time, and gives enough heat to start fine tinder burning even if it is a little damp. Having melted wax to drip into the flame as it starts helps too.

The candle has other uses too.
I grab the cheap table candles when I see them on sale. The tall ones like you would put out for a romantic dinner, not the stubby emergency candles.
One of the dollar stores here sells a box of 24 for a dollar, so about 5 cents each.
I usually break them in half when taking them camping.

Next is whatever liquid fuel you might have. Lighter fluid, naphtha, kerosene (odorless paint thinner is a bit better refined grade of kerosene), alcohol, even gasoline if you are near a vehicle.
Most of these work best if you just drip a bit onto a rag so it burns like a wick.

Magnesium. You usually get this as one of those fire starter blocks. You can find it used in some car parts too.

Steel wool. Fine is better than coarse. Untreated is better than soapy. This stuff burns white hot when it gets going and you blow on it. It will start burning from a spark or a flame. The spark can be electric, like from a car or even a flashlight battery.


Birch Bark, you want the white shreddy layer. The stuff is full of oils and burns with a large smoky black flame. It will burn when soaking wet.
Cherry bark if it is shredded well. It is not as good as birch, but sort of like it.

The small dead twigs off the lower branches of a spruce tree. These are usually bone dry even in the worst weather and are full of resin.

Pine Rosin and the balsam gum from the blisters on a balsam tree. These are both resin and burn with a black smoky flame. Because they are resins they don't get wet.

Fat pine, lightning struck pine, pine knots.. This wood is very full of pitch and burns like oil.

If you look for a large cedar tree you will likely find one side is dry, even after a long rain storm.
The bark can be shredded easily and is very fibrous. It makes good tinder and moderate kindling. If you really shred it up it will even catch a spark for you. It will also wick oils.

Thistle down, Cotton wood down and cat tail fluff are very good but they need to be dry. Cat tail fluff will catch a spark and will burn with a blue flame almost like it was gas.

Birch hoof fungus. Some people call it tinder fungus. It takes a bit of work to prepare and is just for catching a spark.
You need to skin the outer layer and take the velvety layer from under it. Then you work it in your hands so it feels almost like a piece of felt or soft leather and dry it.
It will catch a flint spark and smolder, so I guess it is not an accelerant. It works like char-cloth.
May set off to explore without any sense of direction or how to return.

#162481 - 01/11/09 10:03 PM Re: Easy to find and carry accelerant [Re: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor]
gonewiththewind Offline

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1517
I will have to try to find something similar here in the States. I think I may have to go shopping and then do some experiments with various off the shelf things available in most stores.

I liked the petroleum jelly because it is a nice small tube and even fits into the Ritter PSK.

#162483 - 01/11/09 10:18 PM Re: Easy to find and carry accelerant [Re: gonewiththewind]
sotto Offline

Registered: 06/04/03
Posts: 450
I've found some tree fungus of some kind on a stump in my neighborhood. I hit it with a magnifying lens briefly and the stuff glows and smoulders like punk until it's completely consumed. I'm going to scrape a little into a pile and hit it with my sparker to see if I can get it going, too.

+100 on the candles. Maybe the greatest invention of all time.

#162485 - 01/11/09 10:44 PM Re: Easy to find and carry accelerant [Re: sotto]
CSG Offline

Registered: 12/17/07
Posts: 72
Loc: Idaho
What about chapsticks? I always have a tube of Natural Ice 15 SPF lip protector in my pocket. It's mostly lanolin, mineral oil and petrolatum.

#162493 - 01/11/09 11:18 PM Re: Easy to find and carry accelerant [Re: CSG]
gonewiththewind Offline

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1517
I will have to see if chapstick burns and how well; and how easily it transfers to the cotton or other tinder.

#162494 - 01/11/09 11:30 PM Re: Easy to find and carry accelerant [Re: gonewiththewind]
KenK Online   happy
"Be Prepared"

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2082
Loc: NE Wisconsin
It would seem that Vaseline-coated cotton balls are easy to carry - some stuff them in large straws (I think McD's has large straws), and, if you need Vaseline on your lips, just wipe a cotton ball on them.

In general the plan is to have the survival kit items as ready-to-go as is - rather than having to coat tinder (cotton balls?) with goo. Besides, at least in winter, I almost always have a stick of Blistex in my pocket. Its really dry in the midwest U.S.

Regarding the Ritter PSP - it already comes with 4 Tinder-Quik balls. It would seem that the limited space is better used up with other gear - BIC, LED light, purification tablets, ...

#162499 - 01/11/09 11:57 PM Re: Easy to find and carry accelerant [Re: KenK]
Dan_McI Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 844
Loc: NYC
I have some petroleum jelly based items in almost all of my kits, inserted with the fire starting items. But instead of cotton balls, I use cotton gauze pads, because i like that they also have multiple uses. A strip of a cotton t-shirt should also work. Chapstick has worked for me too.

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