I admit it. I love setting things on fire. I also love testing and trying out cool new stuff, so when I get a bunch of tinder to play with… let’s just say it checks a lot of boxes for me.
Procamptek is a company I’ve had my eye on for a while, and they make some very interesting types of tinder, as well as some cool fire starters and cookware. At the moment, there are four different tinder products in their lineup. You can get them each separately, but the Procamptek Tinder Sample Pack—on their website it’s called the “Bugout Sample Pack”—includes all four.
You already know where this is going. I got the sample pack. I started a bunch of fires. I’m here to tell you about it.
Procamptek Tinder: First Impressions
As soon as the box from Procamptek showed up at my doorstep, I dug right in. Right off the bat, I’m impressed by the quantities of each product, and before even trying them out I’m definitely sold on the value of this sample pack. It feels like enough tinder to get me through the next 10 years or the zombie apocalypse, whichever comes first.
And hey, it comes with a free Procamptek Velcro patch, which is pretty cool. Patch aside, the Procamptek fire tinder sample pack includes a healthy supply of four distinct types of tinder:
- Ultimate fire tinder
- Fast fire stick
- Fire plugs
- Fire strip roll
Having tried them all, I have to say that each one fits a particular niche quite well. Let’s take a closer look at each tinder variety, one by one.
Ultimate Fire Tinder
If you’re going to call your product “Ultimate Fire Tinder” you’d better be prepared to deliver. The Ultimate Fire Tinder is arguably Procamptek’s flagship product at this point, and it’s the one that I’m most impressed by in terms of flammability and ease of use.
The Ultimate Fire Tinder is essentially loose microfibers impregnated with a waxy substance that makes it highly flammable. It’s light and fluffy, with lots of tiny air pockets in amongst the tinder that allow it to catch very quickly.
The big selling point of the Ultimate Fire Tinder is that it’s supposed to light even when soaking wet. I tried it, and that turns out to be completely true. It also catches easily from just about any spark, be it from a Ferro rod, fire steel, or even an old lighter that’s run out of juice. It’s honestly pretty impressive.
The tinder comes loose in a resealable bag, and it’s easy to grab a pinch from the bag any time you need to get a fire going. If you have smaller containers handy, I would recommend a mini zipper bag or empty film canister (remember those?) as a way to carry a smaller amount on shorter backcountry trips.
Fast Fire Stick
Prokamptek’s Fat Rope Stick is a tinder product I’ve used before, and their newer Fast Fire Stick is very much a descendant of the Fat Rope’s classic design, albeit with a few modifications (dare I say, improvements).
The Fast Fire Stick looks a bit like a roadside flare or an oversized firecracker, but it’s actually a highly compact version of Procamptek tinder—cotton fibers impregnated with a waxy solution—compressed inside of a cardboard tube. To use it, you cut off a slice of the tube using a sharp knife, and then fluff out the fibers to help it accept a spark more easily.
I’m a big fan of how easy to carry the Fast Fire Stick is. One can easily stow it in a backpack. The cardboard itself adds to the tinder, so the whole thing is usable. You can get dozens of fires out of a single stick; maybe hundreds if you slice it thinly and conserve.
I can see preppers really liking this particular tinder product. Personally, I think it’s great for camping, and I’ll keep one of these handy just for starting backyard bonfires. The only minor downside of this particular tinder, for me, is that the wax can start to gum up my knife blade while cutting it.
Procamptek’s Fire Plugs are essentially bite-sized versions of the Fast Fire Stick. They’re made of the same wax-infused cotton fibers, and come in a handy 50-pack. Eack plug is a little over an inch long, and gives you about a 5-minute burn time (they can also be broken into halves or thirds to start more fires).
As is the case with all the Procamptak tinder I’ve tried, the Fire Plugs will light even when wet. To use them, you really need to break them apart and loosen up the fibers until it resembles light, fluffy tinder.
These burn well in all seasons and conditions. After taking the Fire Plugs on a couple of winter backcountry excursions, I’ve noticed that the wax becomes much harder in cold conditions, and is a little more difficult to fluff into fibers. Not a problem, just something to be aware of. The same can be said of the Fast Fire Sticks.
I particularly like the Fire Plugs because they’re small and portable. If I’m going on a weekend backpacking trip, I can toss a couple in my pack, and I’m good to go. I like to include a handful of these in various kits. If you like to cook over charcoal, these are good for lighting your grill too.
Fire Strip Roll
Initially, the Fire Strip Roll was the item I expected to have the least amount of use for. It’s not that I didn’t think it would be good; I just wasn’t sure if there would be any need for it when the other three types of tinder are so handy.
Ultimately, what won me over about the Fire Strip Roll is its versatility. You can tear off any size piece you need, use it in different ways to give you varying burn times, and add more to your fire as needed. If you don’t want to lug around the whole roll, you can tear off a few inches’ worth and use it to start multiple fires.
The Fire Strip Roll is made of paper saturated with Procamptek’s proprietary wax material, and it comes in a roll about the size of a roll of electrical tape. It’s a handy pocket or backpack size. Like the products mentioned above, it works when wet, though perhaps doesn’t catch quite as quickly as the Ultimate Fire Tinder.
For the paper to effectively catch a spark, you really need to rough it up and tear the edges. It catches readily from a spark when frayed, but needs direct flame otherwise. It burns more slowly if you don’t pull it apart, so I like to work a small section, and leave it attached to an un-frayed section for a longer burn time.
Final Thoughts on Procamptek Tinder
Any one of these tinder products would make a great addition to your backcountry gear arsenal, bug out bag, or basic car camping supplies. Each has its purpose, and I find that each one shines under different circumstances.
In a true survival situation, the Ultimate Fire Tinder is the one I’d choose to keep me alive. It lights from the tiniest spark even when wet, and requires no prep. It’s good to go right out of the package. The others I find to be best for less dire circumstances.
I love the Fast Fire Stick for backyard fires and bushcraft cooking, the Fire Plugs for hiking and backpacking, and the Fire Strip Roll for car camping. You might end up with different preferences.
Truly, I’ve found uses for them all, and considering you can save a few bucks by getting them all together in the Procamptek Fire Tinder Sample Pack, it’s definitely worth springing for the variety pack.
Blair Witkowski is an avid watch nut, loves pocket knives and flashlights and when he is not trying to be a good dad to his nine kids, you will find him running or posting pics on Instagram. Besides writing articles for Tech Writer EDC he is also the founder of Lowcountry Style & Living. In addition to writing, he is focused on improving his clients websites for his other passion, Search Engine Optimization. His wife Jennifer and he live in coastal South Carolina.