Okay, let’s deal with this right up front, so as to hopefully reduce the number of snarky comments later. The question many people propose is some variation of, “Why would I spend money on a bag of forest litter?” Here’s the thing. First, keep in mind that not everyone is at the same skill level. While you might find it among the easiest things in the world to find viable tinder in the wild, others may not. Those who are just starting on their woodcraft educational journey might need a little help. this is a great tool for learning what natural materials to look for when you need to make a fire out in the field.
Second, even the most seasoned bushcrafter has been caught in a driving rain or snow and struggled to find anything that would light easily and burn long enough to get the kindling to catch. Backup methods of fire starting are always recommended.
The Dragon Fire Tinderbox Extreme Pouch arrives as an aluminum bag with a ziploc closure. It is not heat-sealed. The pouch is filled to bursting with all natural forms of wild tinder. These include materials such as birch bark, wood curls, chucks of hardwood like iron wood and white oak, pieces of softwood like pine and maple, dried grass, pine needles, and other assorted forest litter.
Daryl Halseth, owner of Dragon Fire Tinderbox, also includes some handmade fire starters, again made with all natural materials, as well as a book of matches in a plastic pouch.
The pouch weighs in at about 11 ounces. It is about 10 inches x 7 inches x 2.5 inches. Obviously, as the materials are used, the bag will get lighter.
Depending upon your fire starting abilities and the weather conditions, I would estimate you could easily get 8 or more fires going with the contents of one Extreme Pouch.
Yesterday, I used a bit of the pouch contents to get a fire going in my Vargo stove. Worked like a charm, no problem. The inclusion of chunks of soft and hardwood in addition to the birch bark and such all but guarantee success in not only lighting the fire but sustaining it long enough to get your scrounged kindling burning.
Plus, this is actually a multi-use item as once the bag is emptied, it can be rinsed out and used as a water container. I don’t know that I’d want to carry a lot of water in it from location to location, though you certainly could do so, but rather it will work great for boiling water for purification or for adding to a dehydrated meal.
What I like about the Dragon Fire Tinderbox Extreme Pouch:
1) Other than the pouch itself, everything is natural. No petroleum products or other additions. Just fire starting material from Mother Nature herself.
2) It is a Made in the USA product. Nothing from overseas, here. Purchases are supporting an American small business.
3) The Extreme Pouch is a great tool for helping new bushcrafters learn the art of fire making.
If I were to suggest improvements, I would love to see a Dragon Fire product that separates the different materials and labels them appropriately. That would be a great educational tool for instructors, allowing them easily show students how the different materials compare to one another. I’d also like to see the book of paper matches replaced with a small box of strike anywhere wood matches, though I’m sure that would increase the price a bit.
All in all, the Dragon Fire Tinderbox Extreme Pouch is a great addition to the kit. You can find it here on the Dragon Fire website where it retails for $12.00.