In part 1 of this series we covered the container your kit will reside in, in part 2 one of the most important components; the knife. In this post, I am going to cover another critical component in any survival kit, firestarting equipment.
Nothing provides a psychological boost to a person just trying to make it to the next day alive and NOTHING will help alay that persons fears when the sun goes down better than fire. Fire, it is said, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master, but it is because man has mastery over fire that we have become the apex of the animal kingdom.
When talking about fire specifically in a survival kit I recommend that you have at least two methods of creating it available to you. In ADDITION to that I also recommend that you carry a lighter of some sort in your pocket at all times. I never leave the house without a Bic in my pocket.
There are several methods used to create fire but the two I recommend for a survival kit are a firesteeland matches. Some people prefer the magnesium stickover the firesteel,that is fine, go with your preference.
If you follow what I just said you now have a lighter in your pocket, matches and a firesteel in your survival kit. You have the bases covered and you are also still ok should you become separated from your kit (you have the lighter in your pocket, right?)
Lighters are the easiest way to create fire, go get your self a pack of Bic lighters, they last a long time and even when they run dry, they still generate a spark, which in a pinch, can ignite tinder. DO NOT use a Zippo...they are COOL don't get me wrong, but they dry out quickly. You really can't go wrong with a plain old Bic. Throw one in each of your vehicles as well, you never know when they may come in handy.
When talking about matches get a box of STRIKE ANYWHERE matches from your hardware store. DON'T BUY anything that claims to be windproof or waterproof as they are ALL garbage from what I have seen. You can waterproof matches on your own if you wish by melting paraffin and dipping the match heads into it and letting them dry (this WILL make them waterproof BUT also harder to ignite as well). I recommend getting a good waterproof containerto put the matches in; rip off a striker or two from a match book and store that as well, just in case. Be careful how you pack your matches so they don't ignite in the container.
A magnesium stickis just, a block of magnesium that has a striker attached to it. The idea is you use a knife to scrape some magnesium shavings into a pile and the hit the striker with your knife to generate a spark and ignite the magnesium. The magnesium burns VERY hot and takes a spark almost instantly. They are great, but to be honest they can do a number on your knife if you aren't careful. You can damage the blade scraping the magnesium shavings. That being said they work VERY well and I have used them myself. The key is to have your tinder ready when the magnesium ignites so it catches on fire.
My favorite fire starting device is the firesteelwhich is nothing more that a bar made of rare earth elements that when hit with a piece of metal generates a spark. Most of them come with a small metal scraper that you rake across the firesteel to generate the shower of sparks.
Below is me in my yard using a firesteel to ignite some lint. See how quickly it ignites?
Once again, as with the magnesium stick, the key to using the firesteel is tinder. The firesteel depending on its size will start hundreds, if not thousands of fires. If I could only take one source of fire making into the bush with me the firesteel would be it...hands down. If it gets wet, dry it off, if the scraper breaks, use your knife. You will not run out of "strikes" during a survival situation...if you do, you have chosen to live in the wilderness and are most likely no longer being looked for.
There are MANY other methods of creating fire including the fire piston, using a fresnel lens, and the primitive methods, such as a bow and drill. They all have their place, but in a survival situation if you have the three methods available to you I have described you will be warm and feel secure, which could make the difference between life and death.
Stay tuned for the next installment of building our personal survival kit!
...that is all.
Subscribe to Be A Survivor and Follow me on Twitter
Buy Be A Survivor stuff! ~ Donate to Be A Survivor! ~ Join "The Survivalists"!