Pine Sap as a Fire Starter
Kevin Felts 10.27.17
Pine trees are wonderful things. Their seeds feed a wide range of wildlife, the canopy helps prevent underbrush from taking over, and last but not least, pine tree sap is used for a wide range of purposes. One such purpose is to help get a campfire started.
To get resin from a pine tree, part of the bark has to be removed. Then, make a small cut into the flesh of the tree. This works best on young trees with just a thin layer of bark. When looking for a tree to get sap from, I look for small trees that are close together. If trees are too close together, they may not grow into strong healthy trees. So if the one I cut happens to die, it may help the others.
Generally, making a small notch in the side of a pine tree should not kill it. Sap serves a purpose in sealing the cut and preventing disease and insects from getting under the bark. Think of sap as the blood of the tree.
After a cut is made, a little while later resin will start to drain from where the bark was removed.
Take a small stick, collect the sap, and light it with a match. As the resin burns, it will produce a black smoke that almost looks like oil burning.
When could this help out with fire starting?
- When the tinder’s wet and you need a little extra help to get the campfire started.
- When you’re low on matches and every one counts.
- When you want some organic fire starter.
- It just looks cool when you show it to people.
One of the reasons I would use pine sap to start a fire is that I’m a purist. In my personal opinion, fires should be started with a match using only natural fuel. This excludes all manmade fuel such as fuel sticks and stuff like dryer lint.
The one issue I found with pine sap, I have been unable to light it with a ferro rod. I’m probably doing something wrong.
How many of the readers have used pine sap to start a fire?