Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Elements of a Fire Kit

Fire is one of the most critical aspects of survival. It can provide warmth, disinfect water, kill stomach churning bacteria in meat, provide illumination, make other tools, and so on. That is why its extremely important to have sure fire methods in your kit to make fire. My fire kit mentality is that I don't really use whats in the kit unless I'm facing harsh conditions or need a fire rapidly for maintaining my body temp. A ferro rod and natural surroundings can provide fire in most conditions. Hence why I say its used for adverse conditions.

In this article I will go over my kit to help you develop your own personal fire kit.
Before we get into the fire kit, lets first talk about a crucial companion to it- a good knife. Your survival knife will help you process fuel down to the appropriate sizes before getting your first flame started. A good survival knife is a must for any situation but understand that its just as important (if not more important) than your fire making devices. Survival knife preference is a personal decision. What works for me may not work for you. I prefer a 5" full tang fixed blade. All my user knives have a sheath with a ferro rod loop. This ferro rod is usually reserved as my back up in the case were I wind up in a situation where I only have my knife.

Lets first start with Ignition Devices:



Spark Based-
For the majority of my fire making I use the above ferro rod. It contains a stick of magnesium (tinder aid), striker, and a paracord lanyard. The paracord lanyard is for securing the flint and steel to my belt loop so that I don't lose it. The magnesium helps start even wet tinder and the striker is so that I don't have to use my knife.
           
The next item is a Spark Lite or military aviation survival fire starter. Its good when you get injured and may only have the ability to use one hand. It also contains 8 Tinder Quik tabs (detail later in the article).


Flame based-
In my experience, BIC lighters are the only lighters worth having. I carry two different types for two different applications. One is a Piezo Electric and works even after being submerged in water (watch our video on this HERE). The other is the large standard flint wheel style. It holds more fuel and will work at better altitudes than the Piezo. Matches are contained in a military style match case and have a mix of UCO storm proof matches (these things are incredible, watch video on them HERE) and waterproofed strike anywhere matches w/ striker pad.

Flint and Steel-
Flint and steel is a more primitive way to start fire. It has its advantages and disadvantages. We will cover the good things and skip the bad. Basically this is a renewable resource. Lets say things go bad for a longer time than you had expected. This kit can be used with scavenged flint rock and the tin can continue to produce charred materials to make more fires. Charred materials are also not affected by wind but actually benefited by a hotter burning effect. Check out our video demonstrating this HERE.


Sun and Voltage-
A Fresnel or magnifying lens can create fire without using nothing but the sun and natural materials. The weight is next to nothing- so why not have it in your kit? Steel wool can create fire by touching it to the ends of a 9 volt battery. Its easy and effective and can be seen in our video HERE. It can also be used with a ferro rod and will catch a spark very well.



We are now going to discuss tinder options:

Candle, Jute, and Fatwood-
Candles are good to include in your kit. They can sustain a flame for a long period of time. This is beneficial when trying to start a fire in very wet conditions. Make sure you put them in something like a bag in hot climates, so they don't mess up your entire kit. Jute is an excellent material to start fires with about any ignition device. You can also use it to make a bird nest to be used with primitive techniques like the bow drill method (watch video HERE). Fatwood is an excellent fire starter and will burn for an extended amount of time.
PJ Cottonballs and Tinder Quik Tabs-
Petroleum Jelly covered cottonballs are cheap, reliable, and easy to make at home. I put mine in a film case to keep them from drying out. I also included some of the Coghlans version that are really saturated and have a little longer of a burn time. Tinder Quik tabs are small cotton tabs that have been impregnated with something to make them waterproof and long burning. They take up little space and should be in everyones kits.
Chemical Fire Tinder-
These can be purchased commercially and have extremely long burn times (upward of 8-10 minutes). They work well when natural fuel is really wet and will concentrate a hot flame for you. Fastfire and Wetfire are essentially the same (ones larger than the other) and can be lit from a ferro rod. Utility flame is a smokeless/flame-less/scent free fire tinder that is great for a situation where you have to survive undetected. It does however require a flame based fire starter like a match or lighter.

The entire kit is small and doesn't take up much room in my pack. It is packed in a small OD green belt pouch that I can wear on my hip if need be.

Some folks may say this kit is overkill. Those folks obviously have never had to start a fire in adverse conditions. This kit will ensure a fire in most situations one would encounter. It also allows me to split up the kit amongst my group in the event we get separated.

Hope you find this helpful in developing your own fire kit.

3 comments:

  1. Do you have a link to the pouch you use or at least the model, brand and dimensions?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Try to find somebody with an extra diabetes testing kit pouch.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great article i was recently searching around for some ideas to beef up my fire kit

    ReplyDelete

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