in: Featured, Outdoor/Survival, Skills, Visual Guides

Skill of the Week: Make a Tinder Bundle

How to Make a Tinder Bundle for Fire Starting, illustrated tutorial showing six steps: gathering materials, roughing up fibers, forming a bundle, creating a depression, filling the center, and ensuring airflow.

An important part of manhood has always been about having the competence to be effective in the world — having the breadth of skills, the savoir-faire, to handle any situation you find yourself in. With that in mind, each Sunday we’ll be republishing one of the illustrated guides from our archives, so you can hone your manly know-how week by week.

Igniting a fire requires more than a spark. Sweating through a bow drill session to create an ember or grinding away at a piece of flint to make a shower of sparks is wasted if you don’t have a good home for the flicker of fire that’s produced — a place that will help turn the spark into a real flame. Tinder bundles are that home.

Made of very dry, fibrous materials, a tinder bundle maximizes surface area and air flow to encourage combustion. Dried grass, shredded bark, and unraveled jute twine are perfect examples of tinder bundle-making materials. Those same materials are typically used in a bird’s nest, which means you could use an actual bird’s nest as a tinder bundle. But for the bird’s sake, learning how to make your own is a worthy skill. A bird’s nest tinder bundle is not only effective because of the materials it uses, but because of its shape. Larger materials on the outside, finer materials on the inside, and a hollowed out center to protect your spark or ember from wind and rain.

Once you’ve landed a spark in the bundle, loosely fold it closed (careful not to smother the spark); then gently blow through the tinder with almost closed lips. Once the bundle starts to ignite, move it to a pre-prepared pile of kindling.

Like this illustrated guide? Then you’re going to love our book The Illustrated Art of Manliness! Pick up a copy on Amazon.

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