You’re tired of how long it takes to start your campfire and are finally in the market for some camping tinder.
But you have no clue where to start because there are dozens of options available to buy today.
We’re here to help guide you through the cluttered market when it comes to camping tinder and make some product recommendations.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while shopping :
- Tinder materials. Know what materials are being used, especially if eco-friendly camping is important to you.
- Burn time. This is a big one. How long do you need to get the full campfire started? Make sure your tinder burns long enough.
- Weather resistant. Don’t just be worried about rain. You also need tinder that’s wind-resistant.
And then you’ll also want to consider how this tinder is packaged and the number of individual tinder cubes per pack.
Here are the eight best tinders for starting a campfire.
Sol All-Weather Fire Cubes
If you’re looking for a tinder that can get you a boiling pot of water in a pinch, the Sol All-Weather Fire Cubes might just be the trick.
These waterproof and windproof firestarters can give you up to 12 minutes of burn time, which is more than enough to pile up sticks and other natural kindling for your campfire. And if you need a quick fire to boil water, one of the individually-wrapped cubes works perfectly.
Campers who use these fire cubes appreciate that they’re non-toxic and don’t emit any type of smell.
Complaints about Sol’s fire-starting solution are pretty minimal. The cubes can crumble when cutting them up for individual use. Some users have also complained about it being too oily.
Four Seasons Survival Tinder
The ultra-light Four Seasons Survival Tinder is another is a great option for motorcycle and backpack campers who are making every ounce in their pack count.
It’s also just a solid tinder to help you start a campfire. One set includes 10 tabs. Each one burns for up to 2 minutes, which is more than enough time to get a solid blaze roaring.
Cotton balls are the main ingredient for this tinder. It’s important to note that you will need to sprinkle magnesium on this tinder if you’re lighting it with a flint.
Some campers have complained that this Four Seasons tinder is too small, but most agree it gets the job done if you’re prepared to make a campfire.
UST WetFire Tinder
Designed for the casual camper who needs a tinder with strong shelf life, the UST WetFire Tinder is a safe, reliable option for getting that campfire started.
Each cubed tinder, which is made of paraffin wax, is individually packed, which helps retain its estimated five-year shelf life.
These lightweight tinder also pack a punch. In fact, for normal campfires, you really only need a small piece of the cube to get a flame started. An entire cube can burn for up to five minutes.
There’s not much bad to say about the UST WetFire Tinder. Many campers have reported expired pouches still working, as long as the seal hasn’t been broken. They simply work.
Coghlan products are designed for emergencies and the Coghlan Tinder is no different.
Weighing in at only 3 ounces, this camping tinder is so light, you’ll forget you even brought it, but you’ll be glad you did.
Featuring seven minutes of burn time, this waterproof tinder can get the dampest of kindling lit and turned into a nice campfire.
For best use, it’s recommended you break up the tinder to expose as many fibers as possible. This helps it light faster and last longer.
One downside is the type of wax used in this tinder. The microcrystalline wax isn’t the most environmentally-friendly material on the market today.
GreenSpark Fire Starter Bundles
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly camping tinder, the GreenSpark Fire Starter Bundles are a great product.
The all-natural tinder pack is more expensive than other tinders on this list, but it starts at a 70 count, which should be more than enough to last you several camping seasons, depending on how often you camp.
Made from a unique blend of wood, wool and natural stearin, there are no chemicals added to this tinder bundle.
That may give some campers concern about burn times, but Greenspark promises eight to 10 minutes of burn per single piece of tinder.
5col Survival Supply TinderQuik Tabs
Pull the compressed cotton apart, ignite it and then surround it with kindling; the 5col Survival Supply TinderQuik Tabs simply work well, especially in an emergency situation.
These camping tinders are especially durable and reliable because they are the same tabs found in military aviator kits. That means they need to be waterproof and windproof.
American campers will also be glad to know these are made in the U.S. You might think that makes them more expensive, but they’re actually one of the more affordable tinder packs on our list.
Many campers recommend fluffing up the cotton before igniting it. Some campers complained they are a little difficult to pull apart. But if used correctly, though, the 5col tinder works nearly every time.
Procamptek Fat Rope Stick Tinder
As the most expensive camping tinder on our list, the Procamptek Fat Rope Stick Tinder is a great option for campers who know they’re going to run into some nasty weather.
Many campers and survivalists have reported this tinder lights up quickly whether it’s wet or dry.
This tinder is larger than the other products on this list, but you won’t need it all for a campfire. Cut off a small piece and surround it with kindling.
Procamptek Fat Rope Stick Tinder is made from cotton that’s infused with wax. It’s engineered to have no evaporation by removing water contained in the cotton fibers at the micron level.
In other words, it’s extremely dry and the wax protects it.
From the brand that brings us those hip-looking cigarette lighters, Zippo Easy Spark Tinders can burn for five minutes while you collect more kindling and firewood.
These tinders use a unique through-hole ignition, which really just gives the camper and place to aim a lighter or spark when lighting it. Many campers report the natural cotton fibers inside will light quickly.
Some users had a difficult time getting the tinder to light, but that certainly wasn’t the norm.
A full kit from Zippo includes a water-resistant case that keeps the tinder completely dry. The top of the case offers a flint that’s found in traditional Zippo lighters that’s good for more than 1,700 sparks in any weather condition.
Firestarting Tinders Buying Guide
It’s important to understand some of the basics of camping tinder before making a purchase.
Use this guide to learn about the different materials, burn times and more.
Once you’ve exhausted the natural tinder, like grass or the fungus living in birch trees, there are really only a few main materials used in synthetic camping tinder.
- Paraffin wax. This is the material commonly used for candy wrappers. In addition to burning really well, it’s also really good at keeping material like cotton dry.
- Cotton. Most camping tinder on the market today use cotton. The Procamptek Fat Rope Stick Tinder is engineered to remove practically all of the water and moisture found in its cotton at the micron level. Cotton can burn relatively quickly.
- Wool. Wool is a great natural tinder that’s safe to burn. GreenSpark Fire Starter Bundles use a combination of wool, cotton and wood.
- Wood. Obviously, wood, especially when blended with other materials, can burn for a long time.
Tinder is only as good for as long as it can burn.
You need something that can burn for at least five minutes, like the Zippo Easy Spark Tinders. That’s enough time to position your kindling and then your firewood to eventually light into a strong campfire.
If you’re building a bigger campfire, you may want something that can burn longer. The Sol All-Weather Fire Cubes can last for about 12 minutes, which is about as long as it gets for an individual piece of tinder.
The Four Seasons Survival Tinder only lasts two minutes, which means you may need to use a couple individual pieces before your campfire hits an appropriate level.
Wind resistant and waterproof
When purchasing camping tinder, you obviously want it to be waterproof because there’s always a chance of rain.
But you may not have thought about buying tinder that’s also designed to be wind-resistant.
The 5col Survival Supply TinderQuik Tabs are a great example of a windproof tinder, which is why military aviators keep them in their survival bags.
To ensure the tinder is wind- and water-resistant, many tinder brands, like Coghlan’s Tinder, process the cotton or wood to ensure it’s extremely dry. The waxy cover then ensures it stays dry.
When you pull out some of the fibers, the entire piece sparks very easily.
You need to determine how much tinder you actually need.
If you’re looking to be economical about it, divide the price by the number of pieces. 5col Survival Supply TinderQuik Tabs are a great deal at about 25-cents per piece.
The Procamptek Fat Rope Stick Tinder is more expensive per unit at $8, but you also need to realize that a single piece of synthetic tinder can be used sparingly by cutting off a piece.
Some tinder, like Zippo Easy Spark Tinders, come in a nice carrying case that can ensure additional resistance from water. Just remember that this will take up more space.
Most tinder can be stored in a Ziplock bag for safety and takes up next to no room in your pack.
Andrew Dodson is an avid camper who enjoys the great outdoors with his wife and two-year-old son. He resides in Colorado, where you can often find him enjoying hikes with a toddler strapped to his back and mini goldendoodle Percy nearby.