Posted on June 06 2018
For me, making fire is one of the most important survival skills a person can possess. Along with warmth, it can be used for making drinkable water, cooking food, and providing security.
But like any skill, it is perishable. If you don't use it, you lose it. Because of that, I will usually make a fire whenever I venture out into the wild, even if I don't need one.
I have learned that every fire and every situation is different, from the varying resources available, down to the climate and weather conditions themselves, no two fires are exactly the same.
There is one thing that is constant however, and that is understanding the fundamentals: Heat. Oxygen. Fuel. That's all there is to it. The real trick his how you combine these three components to achieve the desired result: Fire. Life. Survival.
As previously stated, the devil is in the details...
The Process of Preparation
This is what will make or break your ability to produce fire and survive. Too many times I have rushed this process, only to have to redouble my efforts after failing to generate and sustain a flame. When you're wet and freezing, the compulsion to start setting things ablaze is strong. However, having the discipline to take the time to get everything in order is undoubtedly more efficient in the long run.
Having Multiple Options
One of the most often overlooked details in fire making, is to have multiple sources of ignition (heat). For the vast majority of situation, a simple Bic lighter will suffice. However, there may come a time where your lighter is broken, lost, or out of fuel. And though the chances of that happening are slim, if it is a life or death situation, the consequences are dire.
For myself, I like to have at least 3 means with which to start a fire on me whenever I am out in the wilderness:
- Lighter - An essential tool that is cheap and easy to come by. Simple and extremely effective, this is something you should never leave home without.
- Matches - With no moving parts or fuel to exhaust, matches are an ideal back-up option for making fire. Specifically, the Titan StormProof Matches made by UCO are favorable because of their ability to be lit and burn in the wettest of conditions.
- Magnesium Fire Starter - While this may not be your go-to choice, it is an incredibly reliable option if you know how to use it properly. With the added heat generated by the magnesium, you can create a spark regardless of temperature or dampness.
- Primitive Fire Making Skills - The one thing that can never be taken away from you is your knowledge. Having the ability and know-how to start a fire using the raw materials around you is invaluable. And if all else fails, it could be your only means for survival.
Carrying a Proper Fire Kit
A great option for carrying all these items in one convenient place is a product that ReadyMan is currently developing, called the "Fire Tin". It includes a ReadyMan Tinder Scraper Card, a block of high-resin "fat wood" for tinder, a magnesium fire starter and striker, as well as a handful of storm proof matches.
Contained within a tin that can be used to create char cloth for future fire making, this is an awesome little kit that is an essential item for every adventure. Recently, I took it out in the field to put it through it's paces and it did not disappoint. Be on the look out for this product to release in the very near future...Until then, make sure to keep those skills sharp in the unlikely event that you may need them.