Fire starters are essential for survivalists. There’s nothing more important for a survivalist than knowing how to start a fire. We all have our favorite fire starters, and there’s really no right answer when it comes to which is best. It’s all about preference and what you have available at the time.
20 Fire Starters Survivalists Need To Know About
If you find yourself without traditional fire starters like matches, a lighter or even flint, don’t worry — you still have plenty of options. The infographic below details some of the many ways to start a fire. Check it out, and leave your own fire starting ideas in the comments!
Top 10 Ignition Sources:
1. Butane Lighter
Lighters are the easiest, most accessible, quickest way to make fire. Disposable lighters (such as the popular Bic) can be purchased at any gas station or even bought online in bulk. These are a bug out bag essential; don’t leave home without one of these fire starters.
2. Stormproof Matches
Stormproof matches are a much better bet in a survival situation than traditional matches. These matches can withstand wind, rain and even being submerged in water.
3. Magnesium Fire Starter
Magnesium fire starters are a must-have if you think you may find yourself in wet conditions. Highly flammable magnesium shavings are able to ignite when wet — in fact, they burn even hotter!
4. Ferrocerium Rod
Ferro rods are reliable fire starters that will last even longer than a butane lighter or book of matches. Just make sure you’ve got enough tinder to ignite from a spark (we’ll talk about tinder later on in this article.)
Harnessing the power of electricity is a great way to start a fire, provided you have the right tools. A 9V battery and steel wool can be used to start a fire with electricity. So can a cylindrical battery and a gum wrapper, as seen below.
A fresnal lens is a great tool to keep on hand to help you start a fire using sunlight. In the absence of a lens, a clear, reflective surface like a water bottle or even a condom can be used.
Certain chemical combinations, such as potassium permanganate and glycerin, are combustible and can be used as fire starters. Be careful when handling chemicals.
We’ve already talked about a few fire starting methods that use sparks (ferro rods and electricity.) Flint and steel are other popular methods, and many preppers carry flint and steel in their backpacks and bug out bags. Just make sure you have proper tinder to ignite.
This primitive fire starting method requires a great deal of skill, and takes longer than other methods. Fire bough, fire plow, hand drill and fire saws can all be used to start friction fires.
This is another primitive fire starting method that can be very effective. With enough practice, a fire piston can be a great addition to your bug out gear.
Top 10 Tinders and Starters:
1. Petroleum Jelly Cotton Balls
Petroleum jelly cotton balls are cheap, easy to make, compact and last forever. Click here to learn how to make a cotton ball fire starter.
2. Commercial Tinders
You can buy a variety of ready-made tinders at any outdoor supply store, stores like Walmart or online. Weber, Esbit, InstaFire, Live Fire and Tinder-Quick are among the most popular brands.
3. Trick Birthday Candles
Birthday candles make a great fire starting tinder, as the wax makes it easy to start a fire in wet conditions. As an added bonus, trick candles run less risk of being blown out by the wind.
Chemical fire starters such as charcoal starter, kerosene and lighter fluid are easy to come by and work great. In a pinch, household items containing alcohol can be used. Again, take extra care when handling chemicals — they can be dangerous.
As previously mentioned, wax is a great fire starter because it can work even in wet conditions. Wax can be used to make fire starters out of egg cartons, paper tubes, dryer lint and more.
Fatwood is naturally high in resin, making it ideal as a fire starting tinder. It can be bought commercially, or found in the wild if you know where to look.
7. Char Cloth
Char cloth is a fire starting material that is easy to make yourself. All you need is a cotton cloth and an airtight container (such as an Altoids tin.)
8. Foraged Natural Tinders
Obviously, natural tinder is abundant in the outdoors. Dried grass and leaves, tree bark and abandoned birds’ nests are among the best natural tinders.
9. Improvised Natural Tinders
If you are unable to find natural tinders that are ready to burn, you can alter other natural materials to make them suitable to use as tinder. For example, wood shavings can make a great tinder.
10. Improvised/Repurposed Tinders
As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. In a survival situation, you may end up using toilet paper rolls, feminine hygiene products, cotton balls, newspaper, shredded documents, etc. These will be most effective when combined with a flammable substance such as petroleum jelly or alcohol.
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