Fire Starters & Lighters
Fire Starters & Lighters
Survival Fire Starters & Lighters
No doubt about it, the ability to make fire is very important in a survival situation. In fact, in some cases your ability to make fire will be even more important than your immediate need for food or shelter. For this reason, fire starters are among the most important gear to have at all times. Fire can provide the obvious like a way to cook your or heat our food, boil your water to make it safe to drink, or warm your body on a cold night. Fire also provides safety both from wild animals that will instinctively avoid it, and as a signal to others of your presence for rescue. Additionally fire is a morale booster. Building a fire and then watching it catch and flame up is something all humans tend to find comforting.
Fire is often most needed when the weather is bad. Of course this is also when it tends to be hardest to start a fire.
Fire starters – plural. Always carry more than one way to start fire and always keep your multiple fire stating tools packed in a few places so that if you lose or ruin some you don’t lose or ruin them all.
There are a variety of techniques for starting fire. Some are known for their compact nature and portability, some for the weather resistant qualities, others for their burn time. If you carry multiple ways of starting a fire, you can choose the one best suited for your situation and what you’re trying to achieve.
The old tried and true still stand up as one of the best all-around fire starters. Waterproof matches are inexpensive, easy to use, and reliable, igniting even in the rain. Even waterproof matches should be stored in a waterproof match container such as the Coghlan’s metal or plastic watertight match boxes to ensure your matches stay dry until you’re ready to use them. It’s also advisable to keep your stash of matches stored in a variety of places in your gear. This way if you lose or ruin some you won’t have lost the whole lot.
Fire lighters are very similar to matches but a bit more substantial. Rather than burning for just a few seconds, these fire starters essentially combine ignition with kindling for a longer burn than a match. A fire lighter stick will burn for approximately 7 minutes. This extended burn gives you a better chance of getting kindling burning or a quick light to search for something in the dark in a pinch. Available in boxes of 20 strike-on-box sticks, you’ll want to make sure you store your fire lighter sticks and the box in waterproof dry bag or otherwise protect them from getting soaked.
Fire steel, also known as magnesium fire starter or flint, is another tried and true fire starting tool. Like the original flint method we see in the cave drawings, fire steel uses a stick or tube of metal (generally magnesium steel) and a scraper to produce a spark that can be used to start a fire. This is an important piece of gear because of its reliability. Fire steel works well as a fire starter even when wet so if all your gear got completely soaked and your other means of fire starting were temporarily or permanently compromised, your trusty fire steel would still get the job done. Good fire steel can be struck thousands of times before they will no longer spark.
A perennial favorite of modern convenience, lighters are probably the second most common way of starting fires after matches. Lighters are easy to use and fairly durable. If you choose to carry lighters, be sure at least one is a windproof, refillable butane lighter – and don’t forget to also carry the butane refill!
Every fire requires two things to get it going: a spark or flame and tinder. In addition to the fire starter tools discussed above that will actually ignite or spark to start a fire, there are also a variety of complimentary products that you can use as tinder if you are not able to source anything suitable. While you may be able to find plenty of suitable tinder on a sunny and dry day in the forest, you may have a harder time when the weather is not cooperative and everything is soaking wet or covered in snow. This is when commercial tinder options really make a huge difference.
Fire paste on it’s own is not a fire starter – as in it won’t ignite a fire, but it will act as a completely weather resistant tinder to get your fire up and burning in any conditions. Fire paste is available is a small (3.75 oz) metal tube. The paste is unaffected by heat or cold and does not splash or flare up like liquids can. Simply spread some fire paste on your kindling for a sure start every time. Fire paste is completely safe and burns clean.
Like fire paste, fuel tablets are not a fire starter on their own but a commercial form of tinder that will aid you in starting a fire in the wilderness in less than perfect weather conditions. These lightweight tablets are completely safe and non-toxic. They burn clean, smokeless, and odorless.