This is Josh here again from Prepper Advantage. A great question that I’m often asked is, “What’s in my fire kit?” Arguably fire is one of the most important survival skills, and it facilitates many other priorities.
My fire kit:
I keep mine in a pouch right here on my hip.This way, if I lose my pack, or am separated from it (out getting water, out checking trapline), I still have my fire kit on me. I keep some redundancies in my backpack as well.
Modern ignition sources. I’ve got a Zippo lighter. Normally, I’ll carry a Bic. I have a lighter with some tape around it just to prove a point because these evaporate. Normally I have a Bic in here but this is a more traditional lighter. I wrapped it with electrical tape, trying to keep it from evaporating
A SUPER MATCH
Made from four Titan UCO Titan matches, wrapped in cotton and that’s all dipped in wax to make it waterproof and make it burn longer like a candle. That’s a super match. Got my lighter, my matches.
A LARGE FERRO ROD
Mine is from Titan Survival and it’s got a little whistle on it. It’s Titan Survivor cord, which has the seven inner strands for the paracord. It also has a wax jute fire starter in it, some utility wire that can be doubled over and used as a snare wire, and fishing line inside the paracord.
The reason I carry such a big one, this is a half-inch by a five-inch rod, is that when you start getting hypothermic, you’re going to lose fine motor skills. Smaller ones are going to be more difficult. You will need gross motor skills when trying to fight off hypothermia in an emergency. Cognitive function is going to start dwindling as well, so the large is your best bet.
THE HUDSON BAY TOBACCO TIN
Hudson Bay tobacco tin, with a 5- or 6-power magnifying lens built inside the lid.
Those are my four main ways of making a fire, my modern methods of making a fire. Lighter, storm-proof matches, Ferro Rod, magna magnifying lens.
My initial primitive backup to that is a bow drill, so I carry about a 3-foot length of cordage in this case. It’s a little more traditional, this is waxed jute. It could be paracord, it could be bankline, but the purpose of that is for a bow drill. That saves me the time of making the cordage on the fly in the wild.
Then I have some natural tinder along with some more waxed jute. The natural tinder that I choose to carry is fatwood, which is resin-infused pine. This stuff burns even when it’s wet, and in the Southeast, this is your go-to wet weather tinder. I’ll carry a couple sticks of that. It’s all over the place here. I’ll also carry a small pouch so that I can gather natural tinder as I’m walking along.
I’ve got a flint and steel kit. This is a custom firesteel that was made for me by a blacksmith in Washington named Patrick Farneman. It’s a steel and it also has a bow drill divot in it. So if I need to do a bow drill fire, I have two components that are ready to go inside my fire kit, cordage and a really good bearing block.
I carry a nice large piece of flint so I can use that technique to get a fire started as another possibility. Now to go with the flint and steel, if you open up this Hudson Bay tin,there are quite a few things. The magnifying lens, of course. I’ve got some char cloth in here, cotton gauze that’s been charred, which takes a spark really well. I’ve got some more unwaxed jute that I can make some superfine tinder in a tinder nest or a tinder bundle.
There’s also a couple of slow matches. One’s a lamp wick and one is twisted jute, but these are actually treated in saltpeter. That makes them burn like a slow match, like a traditional matchlock rifle. They burn very slow and very evenly when they’re treated with that, I think it’s potassium nitrate. Saltpeter makes it burn really well, so I keep those in there.
Then I’ve got a couple of chunks of chaga, which is Inonotus obliquus. A chaga is tinder fungus. This will actually take a spark from traditional flint and steel without charring. This is something I find in the Northeast all the time.
There are a couple of other little things in here. These are milkweed ovums. This is what all the fluffy seeds are attached to. These will actually take a spark without being charred from traditional flint and steel as well.
I also carry a separate tin because I don’t want to put my brass Hudson Bay tin with a magnifying lens in a fire to char material. I normally do not make char cloth in the field. When this starts dwindling out, I make char tinder, and I’ll use punkwood for that. But I have a separate tin, a charring and storage tin, where I’ll char punkwood. I will use that and it works just as well as char cloth does.
My four main fire starters, modern style: my lighter, my super match, my Ferro Rod, my magnifying lens. My traditional method of starting a fire is flint and steel, with everything that I’ve got to make that happen. Then my first go-to primitive is, of course, my bow drill and I’ve got a couple things to facilitate that. A little bit of natural tinder with some fatwood and something to collect natural tinder while I’m out and about. Heading to wherever I’m going, I’ll fill up this little possum pouch as I go.
That is my fire kit: a number of methods to start a fire, a couple of different forms of tinder, and what I’m able to collect along the way. Charred material works great with every single one of these.
Every time I get a first fire, I’ve got char material for my next fire. I never bring these out empty, just the char material in the field. Always carry these with something in them, and replenish in the wild as needed.
Hopefully that helps to give you some ideas for your own fire kit.
See you guys next time.