I watch several of the survival shows on TV and occasionally find some good information that slips by the directors. (It seems that many of these shows are more hype than substance.) I wouldn’t want to have my life depend on what I have learned from those shows. However, there is one skill that most of them point out is extremely important and that is fire starting.
Now over the years I have talked with people who thought that they could play Daniel Boone and start a fire easily. Most of them ended up using a surprisingly large quantity of matches and never did get a really successful fire started, and this was in good weather.
Even if you are planning to bug in, fire starting will probably become part of your life. You may be starting fires for cooking, heating, for light (candles or kerosene lanterns) or simply to get rid of some trash. The bottom line is that even if you have a Coleman stove and a lifetime supply of fuel you still need something to light it.
If you are out in the woods the situation is even worse. You may be dealing with wind, rain, and damp wood. Learning tricks like using resin to help start fires can save your life. Give some serious thought to what type of fire starting devices you carry and stock. I have canned a significant number of boxes of strike anywhere matches, but they will run out eventually.
Other good fire starters are fire tabs, charcloth (this isn’t hard to make as a DIY project), a fire steel, and something I just recently saw, a solar fire starter kit (we used a magnifying glass when we were kids, but this is a little different!)
Here are some links to previous posts I have written on fire starting.
- Fire Starting is an Art that You Need to Master.
- Speedy Sharp, a Knife Sharpener and Aid in Fire Starting a good multi use tool
- Jute Twine and Fire Starting
- Starting Campfires Safely, Without Starting a Wildland Fire
- A Comparison of Four Different Fire Starters
I am an avid reader and one skill that I have found to have been extremely important to our pioneer ancestors and primitive people thought out the world is the ability to preserve fire. By this, I mean banking your fire at night so that you can restart it in the morning without a fire starter. Also vital is the ability to transport fire. Primitive people made all types of fire bundles that would allow them to transport hot coals all day and be able to use them to start a fire that night. I have to admit these are skills that I have not developed but am starting to work on. When I have made some progress, I will write a post on the results.