Watch: Wilderness Academy Explains Tinder Bundles and Birds Nest — You’ve hiked all day and manage to find a campsite as the sun is setting over the epic mountain in the distance. It’s cold, and the wind’s picking up. After setting up camp there is only one thing on your mind: time to start a fire. For those in serious drought conditions, like California, maybe not. But for the rest of the world…

campfire tinder bundles birds nest wilderness academy

Fire is not only essential to survival in the wilderness, it’s one of the best perks of backpacking. Everyone wants to gaze up at the stars while their body is warmed by flame. But if we’re all honest with ourselves, do you know how to build a fire? What about a really good fire, one that will light every time? Maybe you do. Great. For those that don’t, we found this video by Wilderness Academy incredibly thorough and helpful.

Tinder Bundles and Birds Nests

The video is really an explanation of tinder bundles and birds nest, two tools of fire preparation that will help you light your fire every single time. A tinder bundle is a handful of thick, fibrous material that will burn easily when a coal or ember is put upon it. A birds nest is the larger collection of this material that sits where your fire will be. Light the tinder bundle until it catches, then stick that into the birds nest, and you’ve got your well-burning base.

That’s it briefly. The video below goes into much greater depth.

There are a few things we love about this video. First, the straightforward and intense delivery of these tools is both entertaining and useful. Second, the video is expertly done and provides clear instructions all the way through. Lastly, this speaks to the true spirit of wilderness. It’s well-below freezing in the video, and the Wilderness Academy lights a blazing fire with ease.

Well done! Good luck lighting your fires. It’s winter, and we’ll be needing them.

Featured image: Campfire by Mathias Erhart via Flickr

Body image: Campire in NB by Martin Cathrae

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Daniel Zweier

Daniel Zweier is Editor-in-Chief of Beyond orchestrating the daily flow of, Daniel writes surrealistic short fiction and novels, adventures into the backcountry and abroad, surfs, reads, drinks tea, and obsesses over gear. A lot of gear. Visit his website if you want to learn more about his authorial pursuits.

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