You can argue the average individual could not reliably build fire in the wild. Trust me, I sometimes have difficulty. Additionally, unless you are a smoker, most do not carry a lighter or another fire starting method. As modern technology has increased, using fire has become second nature. By the turn of a knob or push of a button, we can cook food and heat our homes. If I need to start a fire manually, I can go to any convenience store and purchase a lighter. How things have changed since early human history. But, if we were to revert back to a period several hundred years ago or more realistically during a survival situation, fire becomes more difficult to achieve. Unless, you are properly prepared.
Being able to easily build a fire is important for three reasons: 1) to regulate your core body temperature, 2) to boil water to make it safe to drink, and 3) to cook food. Without being able to achieve all three, you seriously jeopardize your chance of survival.
In a survival situation, you should always have several methods of starting fire. Here enters the fire kit. Your fire kit should include multiple fire starting devices and dry tinder. For your primary fire starting methods, I believe starting fire should be easy and effortless. I carry a lighter, ferrocerium (ferro) rod, waterproof matches, cotton balls, and T-shirt scraps. I would never recommend carrying a fire-bow or other primitive method of starting fire. While these skills could be important, you would only use it if all other methods have failed. Additionally, primitive methods tend to burn calories, which can be avoided when you can simply use a lighter.
I keep my fire kit in a waterproof container so that if my gear gets wet, my fire starters and materials will not. It also helps with organization. I know that in this pouch, in this waterproof container, is all that I need to start a fire. Your container could be a Ziploc bag or an Otterbox Waterproof Case, the important thing is to have one to protect your fire kit.
Building a good fire kit is cheap, considering all that you gain (warmth, cooked food, safe water). For around $20 (or cheaper depending on items) you can have several methods for starting fire. Here is what I recommend:
- Bic Lighter - $2 (Get a Bic!)
- Swedish Fire Steel or Bear Grylls Survival Series Fire Starter - Around $12
- Matches (Preferably Waterproof) - $5
I also recommend carrying dry materials. You can have any type of tinder, but some are more effective than others. My fire kit includes cotton balls coated with petroleum jelly and t-shirt scraps (to make char cloth). Petroleum jelly is a great for fire starting. It burns hot, and extends the life of your tender. If I am having trouble starting a fire I can tear off a piece of cotton ball and burn it in conjunction with the t-shirt scraps. You can carry any kind of tender; the key is to have dry materials and methods to extend the life of your fire.
Building a fire kit may seem expensive ($20), but your fire kit could save your life. If you have any recommendations, please let us know. Also, if you would like us to focus on a specific topic, drop us a line. Be Prepared. Get Connected.