So far we have discussed tender that you can make or buy and bring with you into the woods. Bringing your own tender is a wise choice. Finding dry, suitable tender in a real life situation can be extremely difficult. But what if you forgot to grab your fire starting kit? You may have dry, pre-made tinder with you already. Even the smallest first aid kits have several items that can catch a spark.
I carry a very small first aid kit with me every time I go into the woods. If I plan on going deep into the woods, I carry a slightly larger one. My small kit contains three band aids, two alcohol wipes, a couple cotton balls, a package of triple antibiotic ointment, a couple q-tips, some mole skin, four Tylenol tablets, and a small bottle of hand sanitizer. This kit is plenty to keep me in the woods and hunting after a minor accident.
You can probably see several things that can be used as tender.
Alcohol wipes catch fire very quickly with just a spark. They also burn for plenty of time to get small twigs or even damp grass and leaves burning.
These do not burn for long, but light quickly. The can be improved by....
Cotton balls and triple antibiotic ointment
Coat some cotton balls in triple antibiotic ointment. They will burn as well as cotton balls coated in petroleum jelly. These are a life saver.
Hand sanitizer is mostly alcohol. It catches quickly and burns for a surprisingly long time! I probably should have written an entire post on it. Lather some twigs with it and you will have a fire in no time!
Hand sanitizer and cotton balls
Soak a cotton ball with hand sanitizer and it will burn for quite a while. This is a fire starter on par with some of the dedicated fire starters we have discussed!
Perhaps I should add a few strike anywhere matches to my first aid kit. Then it would effectively be a first aid/fire starting kit!