Want to know what you should put in your DIY survival fire starting kit?
Well, fire is one of the four key things you’re going to need in a survival situation. You may find yourself lost in the wilderness or you may lose your power at home. Whichever the case may be, your ability to make fire could save your life.
The ways to create fire vary. From primitive methods like the bow drill to more modern devices like a thermodynamic fire piston, the number of different fire-making devices on the market today is at an all-time high.
The best choice of fire making devices will come down to what you feel will be your specific emergency situation, the environment you will be in (for instance rainforest or desert) and the tool’s convenience of use. You should always test your fire making tools and techniques in the environment and conditions you believe you will be stuck in during an emergency.
Anywhere you make it, a fire needs three elements: a heat/ignition source, a combustible product and oxygen. Your survival fire starting kit will look after the first two elements. And since you don’t know what conditions you will be facing when you need a fire, you should have multiple ways to make fire in your kit.
Here are 8 essential items you should have in your pocket sized survival fire starting kit to make fire 5 different ways and in different weather conditions:
The Bic Lighter
You’ll find a lot of people that will scoff at this one. But let’s start with the obvious. The lighter is going to be the fastest and easiest way to light a fire.
Remember, this is a “survival” fire starting kit, not a bushcraft fire kit. This is not about traditional fire starting methods or anything like that. This is about getting your ass out of a situation alive.
And a lighter is your best friend. It’s going to be your go-to fire starter – period. When you’re exhausted, cold and scared, the last thing you want is to piss around making feather sticks in the dark. That’s why you need a lighter in your kit.
But you can’t stake your life on one device alone because, yes, it can fail, break or get lost. That’s why you will have multiple ways of starting fire as back-up.
The Bic is a good choice for this type of kit. It’s small and compact and it is light. There are other tougher lighters like Zippo that you may prefer even if they are heavier. It’s your call. Just make sure it will fit in your kit. (View on Amazon)
UCO Stormproof Matches
These matches provide a good backup to your lighter. The UCO Stormproof matches light easily, they are windproof and waterproof. They can also be dropped in water while lit and keep burning. These matches will endure any harsh weather you can throw at it. That’s why it’s included in our list of essential fire starters. (View on Amazon)
Light My Fire Swedish Firesteel
While your lighter will use up its fuel rather quickly, the Swedish firesteel is a ferro rod and will provide sparks that will light thousands of fires. So while your lighter is the easiest short term fire starter, the firesteel is your long term solution. Use the striker, scrape the ferro rod material and throw a shower of sparks on properly prepared tinder material. You’ll be able to get a fire going under almost all conditions. (View on Amazon)
In sunny conditions, don’t waste your lighter fuel. Create a sharp, concentrated beam of sunlight and get your tinder lit with this magnifying glass. Its rectangular shape and flat profile allows it to fit well in an Altoids tin. For the little space it takes it is perfectly suited for an Altoids tin. And it provides yet another way of getting your fire started. (View on Amazon)
Cotton Balls and Vaseline
Use these two household items to create some of the quick light tinder you can carry. You can pay lots of money for expensive fire tinder and most work very well. But you can use cotton balls smeared with Vaseline and get a fire tinder that will catch a spark and provide more than enough burn time to get your fire started. Just prepare your cotton balls with the Vaseline and store them in a small Ziploc bag for whenever you need them. (View on Amazon)
Tinder-Quik is a windproof, waterproof product that will ignite from a single spark. This makes a great companion with your Swedish firesteel. Carrying a few of these in your fire starting kit provides you with one more alternative to holding a flame while you build your fire. (View on Amazon)
Not only do you get ‘curiously strong mints’, you get a perfectly sized small tin with a hinged lid for your fire starting kit. Achieving DIY cult status, the Altoids tin has been the mainstay for micro-sized survival kits for years. The tin size:
Top lid outer (not lip): 2.36″ (59.9mm) x 3.75″(95mm) Tin bottom: 2.3″ (58.75mm) x 3.7″(93.9mm) Inner: 2.24″ (56.9mm) x 3.6″(91.5mm) Height bottom section: 0.83″ (21.28mm)
Outdoor Preparedness Ranger Bands
The Outdoor Preparedness Survival Thick Heavy Duty Black Tactical Rubber Bands measure 3 in x 3/8 in wide. The bands have a stretch up to 8 in.
Wrap two of these around your Altoids tin to keep it securely closed. But here’s the key reason you want to carry these ranger bands. Along with a small saw and knife (like what you find on a Leatherman Wave or Victorinox Ranger) and some paracord, you can fashion a highly effective pump drill fire starter. You can use the ranger bands to bind the split wood used as the weight around the central shaft (instead of making cordage).
(And that’s why at the beginning of this article I mentioned five fire starters.) So don’t forget the ranger bands. (View on Amazon)
Fire is a vital resource in a survival situation. Trying to get a fire started in adverse conditions can be a futile and frustrating experience if you don’t have the tools to do it. Don’t leave your survival to chance. Make sure you have a well-stocked fire starting kit that will help you survive anywhere, anytime.
The kit above with its multiple redundancies and quality tools will help you get through just about any survival situation.
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