#AskPaulKirtley Episode 22: Winter Tinder Bundles, GPS, Australian Plant Uses, Organising Wilderness Trips, Advice To Group Leaders, Cooking Over Pine & Spruce

by Paul Kirtley

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AskPaulKirtley episode 22

In this episode of #AskPaulKirtley I answer questions about finding tinder in winter, how to learn trees and plants in new areas, the process for organising wilderness trips, advice to group leaders, whether GPS is worth using, if it’s safe to cook over resinous woods and meat today vs meat in the past. I also talk about my favourite combo of Gor-Tex and Primaloft garments as well as give some advice on cameras and tripods for outdoor adventure use.

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Links For This Episode of #AskPaulKirtley

Wash Day On The River Spey
Bushcraft Take-Aways From The Manitoba Museum
3 Legged Thing
Paul Kirtley interview on Bull Moose Patrol blog
PK Podcast 010: Alyssa Crittenden On The Hadza, Honey And The Human Diet

Book Recommendations


Cameras Mentioned


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Related Material On Paul Kirtley’s Blog:

Bow Drill – The Keys To Success

Survival Foraging: A Realistic Approach

#AskPaulKirtley Episode 8: Thoughts on Preppers, Frustrated Kids, Quiet Camps & Some Book Recommendations

#AskPaulKirtley Episode 12: Starting A Bushcraft School, Storing Bushcraft Knives, Burning Rubbish & Cooking Foraged Starches


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Paul Kirtley is an award-winning professional bushcraft instructor. He is passionate about nature and wilderness travel. In addition to writing this blog Paul owns and runs Frontier Bushcraft, a wilderness bushcraft school, offering bushcraft courses and wilderness expeditions.


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }


Re: bow drill tinder question

Last weekend I did exactly what you suggested Paul and used honeysuckle, bracken and some lawson cypress bark shavings for my bow drill tinder. It was very easy 🙂


Paul Kirtley

Brilliant Isa. Best feedback I could hope for 🙂



You’re welcome Paul.

Speaking of bow drill, i’m finding my current set quite frustrating. I’m using ivy and its working reasonably well but I seem to produce a lot of black dust around the edges of the spindle.
I generate plenty of thick smoke too but because most of the dust collects around the edges of the spindle i dont get an ember. I’ve widened the notch but still no luck. Maybe I’m applying too much pressure and I should use more speed?


Paul Kirtley

Are you using ivy for both the spindle and the hearth board? If just the spindle, what are you using for the hearth?

Warm regards,




Yes ivy for both spindle and hearth. Both are from the same section of ivy too


Paul Kirtley

Is it still a little green/wet perhaps? Ivy is typically one of the easier woods for friction fire…



No I dried it out thoroughly.

I think I’ve figured out why. My spindle is thinner than it usually is and yet I’m applying the same force as I do with thicker spindles. So I’m generating a lot of pressure without even realising it and thats why a lot of my dust is scattering around the edges instead of collecting in the notch.



And thank you for explaining the spruce/pine smoke issue.

Take Care


Derek Buck

Hi Paul, I’m getting a missing media icon when your showing images viewers sent in, am I missing a program/app or is it the video? Works fine when viewed on Youtube…


Paul Kirtley

I may have messed up something with the video export. Leave it with me. Thanks for highlighting this Derek.


Pierluigi Tucci

Hi Paul,
very interesting article.
Regarding bow drill tinder I normally use a tinder bundle out from shredded dry grass dust, whole dry grass in the middle and braken as outer layer. If I only find wet or damp dry grass I tend to dry it in my bandanna.; but this winter I discovered a manner to use beech tree dry leaves as bow drill tinder: as leaves are difficult to manage and holding the coal, I put them directly on the coal(stay on the ground) and keep blowing directly on that on the ground( a sort of revers way). It worked very well.
As I live in mostly hardwood forest(some white fir and scots pine forestly plantation) I think it is a good way to find dry tinder also in the winter season as beech tree holds some leaves on young branches.
That said I think that in a real survival situation the problem is still to find dry wood especially if raining; because we always have some dry tinder on us in form of paper towel or cotton shirt(and beard in my case:) 🙂 :).

Thank you very much for share.
Very warm regards

Pierluigi Tucci


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