My favorite firestarting material is, hands-down, punkwood.
My father showed it to me one day when I was young; we were taking a long walk through my grandpa's woods (I think we were deer hunting) and we came upon a gargantuan downed pine or hemlock.
Without pause, he took out a knife and began digging at the rotten snag. Within a minute he reached in and pulled out a section of pulpy, rotten, sap-impregnated, red-colored wood refuse.
"Punk." he stated.
"Punk?" I echoed. "Me?"
"This stuff. It's great for starting a fire, even in a steady cold rain. If you are lost, in a pine or hemlock woods, look for this stuff. Try to find a standing or snagged, rotten log and then dig in. It'll be waiting for you."
Eight or ten years later, last weekend, I pulled out my pocketknife and cut a wedge of dead hemlock from a standing deadwood. A few seconds later I had a ziplock baggie full of the good stuff--ready for my next camping adventure or firebuilding emergency.
When all else fails--Look for punk.
ETA: I've been told that hemlock isn't the best choice for punkwood, rather, it's best to look for pine, spruce, or hardwood snags.
You will not find the American People easy prey!
4 years ago