Waterproof Emergency Fire Tinder Bundle (video Demo)




I have never had to make an emergency fire and I hope you will never have to either, but it is always good to be prepared. This instructable describes how easy it is to be prepared with a Waterproof Emergency Fire Tinder Bundle. There are several steps to making this tinder bundle, but they are easy enough that you can complete them in about an hour. The one I made for this demonstration should be enough to start 30-60 fires, depending on conditions. The bundle is made as a center pull bundle so you can pull a piece of the tinder out with out destroying the bundle itself. It is made waterproof with paraffin wax.

Here is a demonstration of using the bundle. (note the glass of water that the bundle starts in

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Step 1: Gather Materials

Here is a list of materials you will need:

1: Spool of jute twine. ( I used about 10 ft to make this bundle)
2: Short length of braided cord of some type. (something with a tight weave that is fairly smooth)
3 Paraffin Wax ( this can be found at most craft stores, my wife had some left over from making candles so I took a couple of ounces.

Step 2: Set Up the Wrap

--- Start by tying the twine and the cord together in a square not.
--- Next, secure the cord to something stable. I used a 5" decking screw in a sawhorse.
--- Use a second screw to create a loop point just before the square knot you just tied.
--- Cut the twine to length. Again, i used about 10ft for this demo, but you can use what you like depending on how large of a bundle you want.

--- Now that you have the setup done, make the first wrap as shown in the picture.

Step 3: Wrap

--- Continue to wrap the twine around the cord until you have about a 2" bundle started. Be careful not to wrap this too tight, you only need enough tension to keep the wraps close together.

--- Once you have about 2" wrapped, start overlapping the wraps in the opposite direction. Once you reach the loop point screw, change direction again. Wrap back and forth until you have taken up all of the twine you cut.

Step 4: Tie Off & Trim

--- Now that the bundle is wound, tie off the lose end and trim any excess you may have.

Step 5: Remove From Setup

When removing the bundle from the set up, you have to be careful not to pull it apart. This is why you need cord that is fairly smooth.

--- First, take the cord loose from the screw on the left.
--- Next, with your fingers tight around the end of the bundle, slowly pull the cord back through the bundle.
--- Untie the square knot.
--- Trim the tail.

Step 6: Coat With Wax

This step is fairly self explanatory, and you can do it many different ways, some of them safe, and some of them not. I did not take pictures of this step, as I did not do it one of the safe ways.

To do this safely:
--- Use a small heat proof container. Something with tall sides works well, so you can dip the whole bundle at once.
--- Melt the wax in a water bath so that it melts slowly and so that it does not get all over your wife's pan.
--- Dip the bundle in several times until a sufficient layer of wax has accumulated. I put about 3 or 4 coats on this one.

Note: let the wax cool until it is opaque between dips so that the layers build on each other.

--- Once the bundle has completely cooled, gently pull on the tail and trim it to about 1"

That is it.

--- To use the tinder bundle pull a length out and cut it off.
--- Work the fibers until they are all separated and you have a nice dry ball of tinder.
--- Place the ball of tinder under your prepared camp fire and ignite.

Note: In the above video, I used a match to start the bundle, but you could use just about anything. My favorite is magnesium and flint.

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    27 Discussions

    I'm definitely going to have to try this. A waterproof tinder dispenser? I have plenty of room in my pack for such a useful tool. +1 over here.

    Gato NiponCervantes

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    hahahaha oh man, the same to me. When I realized it was wax I thought, oh wow it's even more brilliant.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    My wife walked by and thought it was a "how to" on smuggling drugs into prison. I thought it was a medieval tampon. Joking aside, the video proves its worth, good job.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    So how well does it work without an active flame to ignite it?

    It seems to catch fire well, but a demonstration with a firesteel or other waterproof survival method would be nice.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    If your looks like that, I pity you, and give props to your dealer.... he's been making a killing off selling you shake for years!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    no offense but this looks like a baggie of pot. I'm not saying it is or trying to be mean but that is what it looks like.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    quite nice! although it would have looked more impressive if you used flint and knife to make sparks

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    although not as apealing it actually came in handy when I had to make a fire ( that day, it was raining and my friend was caught in a bear trap.)


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I tried it but i dipped it in water to start and then when I pulled out the twine it got wet. But that was one out of 5 times great idea!

    2 replies

    from my testing, even if the twine was wet, the wax that saturated in to the bundle during waterproofing acts as an added fuel. Just be sure to get all of the fibers separated out quite well and it should light even if it is wet.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Ahh yes, but are the matches you used to light it going to work when they are wet? I did not think so.