How to Make Homemade Wetfire Tinder

by Erich

WetFire Tinder is a very popular water-proof fire-starting tinder made by Ultimate Survival Technologies. The great benefit of it is that it easily lights with a spark from flint/steel or a ferrocerium rod (or flame for that matter) and is virtually weather proof. If your life depends on making a fire in severe weather, than WetFire is a must have. The only problem is that it’s expensive (around $14 for 8 cubes). So why pay all that money when you can make your own?

My homemade version may not be the exact “Trade Secret” that UST claims to have but I find it’s just as waterproof, it easily takes a spark and flame, and it burns in the wind and rain.

What’s my secret?

Well, it’s really no secret at all, in fact it’s just cotton balls and Vaseline that dipped in melted paraffin wax (candles work too).

Most of you have probably heard of cotton balls and Vaseline as an effective tinder and I have to agree, cotton balls mixed with Vaseline do make great tinder. The only issue is, if it got dropped in water or soaked from the rain, it will not light. This method will.

How to Make Homemade WetFire Tinder

Step 1: Combine cotton balls and Vaseline. This step is the same process you would do if you were making standard cotton-ball/Vaseline tinder. Just take a glob of Vaseline and knead it into the cotton ball.
Step 2: Melt the wax on the stove. You can use old candles or paraffin wax. Be sure to keep the stove top temperature at low since the wax can ignite at high temperatures.
Step 3: Dip the cotton balls in the melted wax. Be sure that the cotton ball is completely submerged in the melted wax. This will ensure that it is completely waterproof. For this step I find it easiest to use chop sticks.
Step 3: Place on tin foil and put in freezer. Although this step isn’t necessary, I like to place it immediately in the freezer since it cools very quickly. The foil just keeps it from sticking when it hardens.

*Note: You may be thinking,”why should I bother with the Vaseline, can’t I just dip dry cotton balls in the wax?” The purpose of the Vaseline is to prevent the wax from being completely soaked up by the cotton. If you skip the first step, the cotton will get completely saturated by the wax such that when it dries you’ll never be able to fluff it up to the needed amount to allow it to catch a spark and burst into flame.

How to Use your Homemade Wetfire Tinder

Using your tinder is a simple process, for optimum results, the following steps should be taken:

Step 1: Cut/Break the tinder in half.  By breaking the tinder in half, you expose the Vaseline mixed cotton inside.
Step 2: Fluff up the tinder. Break up the tinder in your hands and repeatedly pull the tinder apart, trying to create a fluffy mass. The more”fluffy” it is, the easier it will take a spark or flame.
Step 3: Light the tinder. Using flint/steel or some other spark creating tool (of course a lighter or match would be fine as well), light the tinder bundle.
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Comment by Kandi
2010-11-13 10:58:58

I love this site. You have one of the best sites out there. Keep it up.

2010-11-13 17:34:15

Thank you so much Kandi. I really enjoy sharing my knowledge and learning a ton along the way!

Comment by Jason
2011-07-09 21:27:42

I was already planning to go out “yard saleing” for peoples’ old used pots to experiemient with stuff nobody usually uses pots for . . . this is one more fun task on my list! Great thinking.

Comment by Jason
2011-07-09 21:28:36

I have to correct it or I’ll think about it all night. I typoed experiment. . . there, done. I might be OCD. 😛

Comment by jeremy
2012-03-18 03:01:15

I made these and one cotton ball done this way will burn approximately 5 minutes. Great for the survivalist going to the bush or avid hunter. I made a ton of these and gave em to my family for starting campfires.

Comment by iris
2012-12-30 13:03:22

Wow! My grandfather was old, like he fought with my husband’s grandfather in the Boer War. Mine was said to be part Commache/Commanchero and Dennis’ grandmother was Mayan from Guatamala. They knew “old ways”. For example, the made clay containers in which they would place a burning ember and closed it off in such a way that it would stay smoldering for an hour and longer just in case the fire went out in the night or to move a camp. My grandfather use to carry around this small metal medicine box or hair oil metal box using the same idea. The ember must have been from hardwood as lightwood smolders too fast. I tried it out this morning but as soon as I placed the lid on it the fire would go out. I drilled a hole in the top. The fire went out. I drilled a hole at the side on the bottom and stayed lit longer. Does anyone remember how they used this metal pill box that they carried on their person in the woods? And, from the ember they would lite a cigar. It was like a miniature stove but it’s purpose was to preserve an ember from the fire for another fire down the road. If anyone has success with the metal pill box let me know

Comment by Рома
2013-01-29 11:29:58

все получилось,

Comment by ブランド 財布
2013-08-06 22:55:13

miu miu 財布 人気

Comment by Aestuo
2014-12-10 23:04:36

It very possibly could have been this that they used. It can stay as an ember like you described for a good while.

Also, I grabbed the first vid from YT that popped up..

plenty of vids though

Hope this keeps you dry mate.

Comment by @@ron
2015-01-16 01:40:57

I just bought a bunch of tinder-quik tabs and wondered how to make my own. Should have known I’d find something here! Thanks for sharing.

2015-07-28 17:38:34

For medical health insurance outside the above-mentioned spot,
individual medical insurance malaysia care insurance maybe

Comment by Nick
2016-03-09 17:16:25

Thank-you for that bit o knowledge… 🙂

Comment by Al
2019-05-31 20:16:49

yeah i do these but adding cotton balls wax was new to me great tip. thanks
just came across this site looks great looking forward to getting into it

does anyone know how to get the download on this page to work

or is it part odf the site or a bogus add,

Comment by Notwally
2019-07-12 22:03:47

re: Vaseline THEN Wax

Thank You! I had been fighting this problem for weeks. I was about to go as crazy as measuring weights so my cotton balls would get saturated but not OVER-saturated.
I’ve got about 40 waxed cotton balls that are the consistency of rocks ( ar 100 degree Texas summer) and IF you get them lit, they’ll burn merrily. But if I have flame enough to light them, I don’t need them at all. Your solution rocks!

High praise. I’m almost 60 years old and am very proficient in pyrotechnic methods, especially campfires.

Anyone wanting another fun thing in their arsenal, I’ve been playing with fat wood for the past few weeks, Awesome stuff. Use cut splints of it and it’ll light by char cloth and any flame.

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