The online community of knife collectors, A Knife Family Forged in Steel
Today I was putting together an Emergency Fire Kit for my family Emergency Bag so I thought I would take some pictures of the things I have included. As always, please forgive the dog hair in the photos, with 4 dogs it’s not going away anytime soon. For a basic Survival Fire Kit you may not want all of these items but may choose just one or two from each category. The two categories are 1-Ignition and 2-Tinder.
For Ignition sources I am showing 4 different pictures. The first is the UCO Stormproof matches. I have always been impressed with these matches. They will light, provided you have a striker, and they will stay lit. The wind can blow them out and they will relight. You can submerge them in water and they will relight. They will also burn for several minutes. Carrying these in a waterproof match container is almost always imperative for a good Fire Kit.
Next up are a couple of classic fire steels and a striker. Fire steels generally come in two types, Ferrocerium or Mischmetal. There are hundreds of different brands of fire steels out there and everyone has their favorite. Ferro rods tend to be a little harder while Mischmetal is a little softer and tends to produce large gobs of molten metal sparks that can travel several feet. Unfortunately, the term Fire Steel has become a generalized term and unless you do a lot of research you may not know what you are buying. The good news is that it may not matter as both Ferrocerium and Mischmetal are equally capable of throwing a spark to start a fire.
Next up is the classic magnifying lens. In this case I have an inexpensive 5X, 10X, 15X loupe. This item is good to have in your bag not only for starting fires, should you happen to have some sunshine, but is also good for reading maps, and for use in your First Aid kit to help remove splinters or ticks.
The last photo shows several different types of lighters. It is always worthwhile to keep a lighter in your fire kit although the typical butane lighter might not be ideal. They are relatively useless in high wind or in cold and you must secure the lever so it does not depress while in your kit and allow the butane to evaporate. Also shown are the NuMyth Tohil Watertight Lighter and the EverStrike match from SurvivalLife. These both fill with regular lighter fluid and contain rubber O-rings to seal the lighter and prevent the lighter fluid from evaporating. While they both do an adequate job, one was free and the other costs roughly $23.00, and you may get what you pay for. The EverStrike will hold lighter fluid for longer than, say, your regular Zippo lighter but it will evaporate. The NuMyth Tohil lighter can remain filled with lighter fluid for months, if not years, without evaporating. Still, with any lighter, you must check the lighter fluid level regularly.
For Tinder I show pictures of common items most people are aware of. Candles, Vaseline-soaked cotton balls, Fatwood shavings and Fatwood sawdust, and Magnesium shavings. There are obviously going to be many other tinder sources available, these are just a few that I am partial to.
One item goes into the miscellaneous category and that is the small container of Vaseline. I have shown the stock photo for clarity and I also show it next to the Mini Bic lighter so you can get a size perspective. This obviously can also do double-duty in your First Aid kit and as a lip balm, which is what it is packaged as. Carry at least one of these tiny containers of Vaseline and you may come up with untold uses for it. They are so small you may want more than one.
No amount of Emergency Supplies will ever do you any good without the knowledge and experience to be able to use them when needed. I often will use these Emergency Supplies and others just to keep my skills up and also to teach others in my family how to use them. The most important tool you have in any Emergency situation is your knowledge and your ability to use it. So whether you are prepping for earthquakes, fires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, or the Zombie Apocalypse, always have at least 1 or 2 ways to make fire. Remember that two is one and one is none.
So please share with us some of the things you like to include in your Fire Kit. This is the point of sharing in this blog, so we can all share our knowledge and experience with our survival gear.
Those are all great choices and you are correct, without knowledge, all of the supplies in the world will get you no where. I have practiced with some of my fire starting supplies and plan to do more in the near future. Here is another item that I highly recommend. char cloth. It is a great tinder to start to fire.
I like the idea of the wooden matches and I see you have the storm proof ones. The Vaseline and cotton balls makes great tender, light weight and wont dry out. Char cloth has the same advantages.
I also like to have a ziplock with dry leaves, never know if you will be able to find them
That is true Jan. Especially around here. I have packed drier lint before but it kind of serves the same purpose as the cotton balls. I have never been able to get char cloth to work very well for me though.
All great ideas, Ms Data, and char cloth is another good one Jeremy. There is another commercial option for sparking a fire: Zippo Emergency Fire starter. The first model looked exactly like a Zippo lighter metal case, but instead of lighter guts, they replaced the insides with wax/cotton fire starter "wicks", and kept the sparker. Here's a video:
I have seen newer models of the Zippo fire starter with an all plastic case. The older metal (brass) lighter cases have a rubber grommet to keep water from the wicks. The Zippo lighter-looking ones, the metal ones, are more expensive than the all plastic Zippo Emergency Fire Starters.
There is another Zippo-like emergency fire starter called a Spark-Lite. Video:
I had to replace my Gerber Blastmatch after twenty years of shore lunches...Great device and huge sparks.
Steel wool works well as tinder.
Okay, I found UST's verstion of the Gerber Strike Force - called, oddly enough, the Strike Force. On the way to finding the Strike Force I came across the BlastMatch on page 1 of the UST Brands fire starter page, which is a one-handed fire sparker.
Here is a video comparing a standard firesteel, of which the Gerber/UST Strike Force is an example, along with tons of other firesteels, and the BlastMatch.
I can see some possible theoretical advantages to the one-handed BlastMatch - you don't need two hands, but it is in a plastic case, therefore breakable, and as the reviewer mentions, it takes two hands to open.
Have any of you intrepid survivalists tried the spring-loaded BlastMatch vs a traditional two-handed firesteel?
And then there is always the "Solder it" torch that I, and possibly a bunch of you got in your Christmas stocking at some time. It uses standard disposable lighters to power the thing.
There are more expensive mini or micro blow torches that operate on butane that provide adjustable flame and higher temps all in a relatively small package. I think I might consider adding one of the little torches to my bag. The "Solder it" has been in my hunting bag for some time. I need one or two for my apocalypse bag.
These are all great ideas guys. Some I have never seen before. Keep the new ideas coming!
Here's another entry in the sparking fire starter category: Lightning Strike. This hummer ain't cheap ($60.)
Wow that thing is pretty cool Howard. Amazon has them in two sizes but you're right, they are not cheap. I would really have to think about whether or not my life, and building a fire, is worth that much money.
As I mentioned about the torches, something with a bit more power ("Binford Pocket Torch" from Tim "Toolman" Taylor) than a disposable lighter, a hint or two around the holiday season might get you a Lightning Strike in your stocking, or under the tree. Of course, at that price, you'd have to have been very, very good.