Being adept at survival or bushcraft , you should know that
- creating a fire and
- managing it
are among the most important tasks in these experiences and requires
i – finding a location suitable for its development as well as
ii – using the driest fuel / combustible source available.
iii – Finally, you will need to have a tool capable of generating hot sparks , such as the firesteel or a lighter or some other device / product. Knowing how to make a fire without or inflammable is not innate and must therefore be learned with patience.
2 Basic Facts To Remember Before Starting A Fire
|1 – Find a suitable location||For convenience, this location should be close enough to your camp to avoid lengthening the distances unnecessarily but at the same time far enough from your shelter.|
ALSO, make your fire close to the ground and sheltered from the wind in order to favour the development of the flames.
|2- Avoid danger||A poorly controlled fire could endanger your shelter, your camp (and therefore belongings), your life and those other persons with you – family and / or friends.|
Consequently, define the zone of the hearth with stones (see figure 1, below) then free its perimeter/boundary of combustible materials e.g. dead leaves, twigs.
In addition, and to be on the safe side, keep a source of water nearby just in case you have to extinguish your fire or when it has no further use.
Now that you have found the ideal location for your future fire, you will need the tool that will create the sparks or flames to start it. We will take into account all the possibilities so that you are able to light a fire in all circumstances .
A popular choice for starting fires. However, for survival purposes not least when you are in the open wilderness,this system has its flaws: matches are very resistant to wind and especially humidity . Leave your box of matches on the ground in the middle of the forest for one night and you might as well throw them away the next morning! The wood that composes them absorbs ambient humidity and makes this fire starting tool unusable in nature . In addition :
- matches in the box lose their flammable head quickly & they are often small
- they only burn for a short time
- they can easily break
- a match is a one and done fire starter. Once it is used it is gone. A finite number of them can be carried.
On the flip side ………….
- They are affordable. Even heavy-duty ones made for survival purposes are within most people’s budget
- User friendly. Requires almost no practice in order to use
- The body of the match acts as extra tinder
- Compact and easy to carry
- Can be purchased at most stores
- Last indefinitely when stored properly
Therefore for emergency / survival purposes, what we would recommend :
Store a reasonable quantity of survival matches. Most matches that are labeled as ‘survival matches’ measure in at four inches or longer. They are also advertised with some attributing quality such as being waterproof or storm proof. Survival matches tend to have a much longer burn time and when lit, almost look like small flares.
It’s always wise to have at least 2 options at hand as regards starting a fire. We would use survival matches as a secondary device should it not be possible for one reason or another to utilize our primary fire starting device. This primary choice is
2).FIRESTEEL / FIRESTONE
The firesteel is essential when one goes off the beaten track for several days. Easy to use , it comes in many models designed by several well-known brands in the survival / bushcraft market. Firesteel corresponds to a 2 in 1 object formed by a ferrocerium bar on one side and a metal alloy scraper on the other as illustrated below with the the Light My Fire device described a little later.
- It consists of two objects held together by a cord . The longest object is the bar of ferrocerium , a metal alloy composed of iron and a rare earth element called cerium. The second, smaller object is simply a steel plate called a scraper.
- Its mode of action is similar to a lighter in that when scraped it produces sparks of up to 3000 deg.C This coupled with its longevity ( from 3000 strikes for entry-level firesteels to more than 12000 strikes for professional quality), makes it ideal to prepare a fire even in the rain or when the humidity is high.
Selection criteria for your firesteel:
|Despite the small size of this object, not all firesteels on the market are created equal . |
There are even several discriminating parameters that will help you choose yours:
-> The composition of the stem: this is the fundamental data. There are entry-level models that contain little magnesium and therefore offer you low-quality ferrocerium.
-> Before choosing a particular model take the time to check the magnesium level of each firesteel. A high value promotes the production of sparks and therefore a rapid start of fire.
-> The size of the rod: choose a long rod because it sometimes breaks during use or during an expedition.
-> Quality of the scraper: check that it is not too flexible as this affects the profusion of sparks
Note that this part must have an angle close to 90 °, or a right angle, to produce quality sparks.
–> The number of strikes / scrapes: It is indicated on the sales leaflet. Entry-level models offer around 3000, but some exceptional models reach 18,000 scrapes !
-> The style: you will find firesteels with a carved wood, wrought iron or carbon handle.
-> The shapes and colors are almost endless: It’s up to you to find the one that suits you!
-> Functions: Often, firestones are used for more than just starting a fire: They are sometimes equipped with a whistle to call for help, a rule to calculate a scale on a map, a small lamp, a bottle opener or even a compass!
-> The Price: Because not all fire starter models are created equal ! Hence, they are not all the same price . You will find some for less than $10 or others that cost are around $40.
Below is an excellent entry level option for beginners :
The firesteel is a 2 in 1 device that allows you to light a fire in any weather condition. Supplied with many options , such as the ruler and the bottle opener, this fire starter is now much more than just a tool to start a fire . It has become an essential tool for beginners and experienced survivalists alike.
3). FIRE-STARTER KITS
A fire starter kit contains the necessary items needed to quickly and efficiently get a fire going, such as a lighter, matches, a flint striker, kindling, and tinder. Additionally, some kits also include waterproof containers and fire accelerants such as petroleum jelly or wax to help jumpstart the combustion process.
Why do you need a Fire-Starter kit ?
They can save you time and frustration. Instead of trying to light a fire using only kindling, you can simply light the fire starter and let it do the work for you. This makes starting a fire much quicker and easier, especially in wet or windy conditions where getting a fire going can be a challenge.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCT REVIEW :
We now move onto discuss Paracords.
The word “Paracord” comes from its use by American paratroopers during World War II. After a parachute landing, the rope of the parachute was cut and used for all kinds of applications. Due to the popularity of the cord today, there are many variants available in different quality.