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Collecting Tinder

Find the perfect fuel for your fire.


Getting started

  • Bag or basket for collecting
Tinder and kindling is the first fuel needed to light a fire. Head outside to look for dry plant material for building the first stage of your campfire. When you are done, don’t light it, this is just practice.


  • Tinder is the smallest material used for getting a fire going.
  • Look for dry dead grass, tiny ‘match stick’ size sticks, fluffy seeds (easily found around wetlands) and dry leaves.
  • Collect material that hasn’t been lying on wet ground as it could be damp. Dry paperbark makes great tinder.


  • Kindling is the next size up.
  • Look for pencil thin and thumb thick sticks. These materials need to be very dry, so try breaking one in half and if it snaps it’s perfect.
  • Avoid sticks with white sap, these will not burn well. Sticks from gum trees are excellent because they have a high oil content.
  • Collect some sticks as long as your forearm as well as smaller sticks.
Girl sorting sticks by size



Arrange your materials into piles from thinnest to the thickest. 


Choose a safe place for your campfire. It should be out in the open away from long grass, shrubs, trees and buildings, and preferably on soil. Some people dig a hollow for a fire.
Practice building a tepee shape which will be the base of your campfire.
Start with the thinnest material and then slowly build up the layers.
Practice till you can do it with your eyes closed!

Did you know?

Aboriginal people used their own hair if they didn’t have any dry kindling!