Just thought I'd echo the post about using too much petroleum jelly: it really is a pain to get going using traditional sparking methods. What had happened was that I'd stored the cotton balls in a small ziploc bag, which was then packed too tightly into a backpack. The cotton fibers became completely smooshed and saturated with the jelly, thus becoming quite useless in a barren area with no other easily available tinder. If I'd been in a survival situation, I would've perhaps used the packet of tissues in my pocket, ripped up part of a cotton bandanna, or else shredded up some inner bark from the wood with my knife.

However I wasn't in a survival situation and had brought along my lighter. Moral of the story: even with good fire starting tools and techniques, always (and I mean ALWAYS) have a backup.
I love to go a-wandering,
Along the mountain track,
And as I go, I love to sing,
My knapsack on my back

Current kits: http://forums.equipped.org/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showgallery&Number=241840