Tampons are great for tinder
We include a compact tampon inside our Mark 1 Survival Kit for good reason - they are great to use as tinder and as wound dressings. Using a tampon as tinder needs a little bit of extra care.
Utilising petroleum jelly/vaseline as a flame extender
When tampons are used as tinder, you will see that it is made of very fine fibers. On the one hand, this is great - it means that it catches a spark easily. However, it also means that it burns through incredibly fast and is sensitive to damp. Your fire may burn out after a brief moment of action!
To stop this from happening, simply use some of the vaseline contained in the kit in the small plastic vial. Smear some onto the piece of tampon you are using. This will enable it to burn more steadily and slowly, giving you time to use smaller pieces of tinder and wood.
Be Prepared - organize your fire in ADVANCE
Always ensure that you have all your other fire making materials to hand and properly organized. You should have organized all of the following types of wood in advance so you can build the fire and ensure that you get through the sometimes bothersome early stages until the fire is properly established:
1) Small, dry sticks - you should have much more than you think you will need. Get as many small dry twigs as you can. Then get some more. These small dry twigs are the key to your fire being established and the cause of most failed fires in the wild.
2) Slightly larger kindling
3) Small cut branches/timber