Pine Pitch Firestarter

Dried Pine Needles

The Pine Tree Is A Very Useful Tree

Dried Pine Needles

Pine trees are probably one of the three best trees in the wilderness for starting fire.  The other two (each for different reasons) are cedar and birch tress.  Pine trees have a bunch of great characteristics that make it useful in a wilderness survival scenario.  One of the useful qualities of pine trees is that the sap (also called pine pitch) is flammable.  It burns very well and can be add to other natural tinder like dried pine needles to make a very effective fire starter.  Take a look at the pictures below for an idea of what globular pine pitch may look like after oozing out of a pine tree.

Some possible uses of different parts of the Pine Tree:

1. Pine needles can be boiled to make a tea, which can also be doubled as an antiseptic wash for minor injuries.

2. The inner cambium layer of the pine tree bark can be eaten.  Although it doesn’t taste great raw.  (Neither does the tea, for that matter, but it is high in Vitamin C).

3. The wood grain of the pine tree is typically straight and easy to break down for fire wood and kindling.

4. The pine nuts in the pine cone can be eaten.

5. Low hanging small dead inner branches can be used for kindling in a fire.

6. Larger dead branches hold pine pitch in the 4 to 6 inches closest to the trunk of the tree which can be used for starting fire.  See my post on making a split wood fire.

7. The base of a large pine tree can be used as a partial shelter in a high snow area winter situation.  They can also partially shelter you from rain.

8. Old dead pine tree stumps will have shards of un-rotted wood sticking up out of the ground that are saturated with pine pitch. See my post on how to find pitch wood.

9. Bark from a large pine tree can be used as a platform for building fire or other tasks in the wilderness.

10. Pine Trees attract wildlife such as squirrels for hunting and trapping.

11. Pine pitch can be melted and infused on to a cloth, wrapped around a green stick and used as a torch.

12. The smell of freshly crushed pine needles (rubbed in clothing) can act as a scent masking agent to help reduce human scent while hunting.  Be careful, this could be a bit messy…

13. Dried pine needles can be used as a tinder and or kindling.

14.  Pine pitch can be melted and mixed with charcoal to make a great epoxy.  For a great post on how to make and use pine pitch epoxy, checkout Creek Stewart’s post on this subject at WillowHavenOutdoor.  Creek also has a YouTube video that goes along with it here. Or see my post on How to Make Pitch Glue.

There are probably tons more uses, but those are the big ones that are coming to mind right now.  So, back on topic.  If you need a fire and have an ignition source (lighter, metal match, matches, etc) then pine pitch could help you get your fire going.  Take a look at this video for a quick look at how to light it and see it burning.

Click here to watch the video on YouTube if you don’t have Flash: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DljADeRXEoY

Do you know any other uses for the pine tree?

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About JJ

As a child I grew up in the Midwest on a small farm and fell in love with the outdoors. Later, that led me to join the USAF where I became a USAF Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) Instructor. As a SERE Instructor I have trained in all types of environments. Temperate, Arctic, Desert, and Rain Forest. After four years in SERE I retrained into the counterintelligence and counterterrorism field where I have worked for 11 years. I have traveled to the Far East, Asia, Southwest Asia, Europe, the Middle East and South America. The combination of both careers has thought me to see two sides of a coin. I consider myself a realist and while I enjoy primitive survival living, hiking, camping, and hunting for short periods. I also have the experience & understanding to know that living primitively is NOT fun or easy for long periods. Therefore, I try to be practical and logical in an effort to build a reliable, flexible philosophy of self reliance that can be utilized in any situation. Hopefully reading this blog will help you to do the same.

2 Responses to Pine Pitch Firestarter

  1. Pingback: How to Make Pine Sap Glue |

  2. Pingback: Search and Rescue Tool | Reality Survival

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