TrailTime Tips: Sharpen Your Fire Starting Skills

As the sun starts to set on a wet and cold afternoon you look around the campsite for suitable tinder to get a campfire started. Unfortunately, you struggle to find tinder that is dry enough to light. If only you knew this sharp new trick to make easy to light tinder from sticks found around the campsite.

Pencil Sharpener Fire Tinder


This sounds kind of funny but in our real life test, a tiny pencil sharpener was able to produce a good amount of tinder from a stick. Simply press the stick into the sharpener and turn it just like a pencil. The sharpener will cut thin flakes of wood that are easy to light and they aren't wet like the bark on the outside of the stick. Watch this video to learn more:



The pencil sharpener shavings are dry and consistently thin plus using the sharpener is a lot easier than using a knife to create wood shavings. Making a feather stick is a great option but it takes more time. A pencil sharpener is easy to use with gloves on and it preserves the sharpness of your knife for more important tasks.

Why Bother?


Small plastic pencil sharpeners are very lightweight. Tossing a sharpener in your backpack won't cost you much weight but it does give you an easy tool for making tinder. This could be extremely helpful at the campsite. Feather sticks take time to make and pine needles can be wet and unusable. Any campsite with trees will surely have small twigs that fit within the sharpener.

What do you think? Is this something you might use on a camping or backpacking trip? Tell us in the comments below.


Check out our other TrailTime Tips:


DIY Stormproof Matches
Trip Planning Hack
Toothpaste Dots: Why Bother?


Andy Hawbaker
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Andy Hawbaker
Andy is a hiker, backpacker, snowboarder and outdoor fanatic. When he isn't exploring the Rocky Mountains, burning marshmallows or scratching his dog behind the ear, he shares his experiences here on the Sierra Trading Post Blog.
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