Friday, August 12, 2011

A Simple Fire Starting Kit

I have only needed to use my survival kit once. When I was a teenager my dad would drop me off by a river. I would hunt ducks and geese. After four hours or so he would come back to pick me up. Although I was never good at hitting the ducks, it was lots of fun.

One cold, windy day I shot a duck and waded into the river to get it. I slipped and fell into the icy water, filling my waders up. This was before cell phones and there were no homes or people in miles. So, I had to wait until my dad returned. I knew I was getting hypothermia and was in for a few miserable hours. Fortunately, I had a small survival kit with a lighter and some trioxine tablets. I found a wind break, made a small fire, and kept as warm as possible until my dad returned.

I was never in danger of dieing, I just needed something to keep me comfortable for a few hours until help arrived. This is the most common scenario for most hunters. Where I hunt there is always a road within a miles hike. I always have my cell phone. I always let someone know where I am going and when I will be back. If something bad happens I will just need to survive a few hours, a night at most, until help comes. I don't need a survival kit that will keep me alive for days. I don't need to worry about finding food or even water. What I need is shelter and warmth.

For that reason I don't carry a big survival kit with fish hooks and purification tablets. I carry a fire starting kit and a shelter kit. Today I'm going to show you my fire starting kit.

Warmth in a can!

I used the have a kit that consisted of a fire steel, matches, a lighter, trioxine, and some pine pitch. I kept it in a plastic soap box. Nowadays I opt for something a little simpler. I find the the bigger and heaver something is, the less likely I am to carry it.

Nowadays I use an old pellet tin for a container. It is light, sturdy, and closes tight. The round edges fit nicely in my pocket and don't rub on long hikes.

For an ignition source I carry about 25 strike anywhere matches. Half have been waterproofed with wax, the other half are left normal. Regular matches are easier to light than waterproofed matches. I also include a "super match". A "super match" is five or six matches tied together and heavily coated with wax. This will burn a lot longer and more intensely than a regular match.

It all fits with room to spare

Waxing matches is easy and I have covered it in another post. You can read it here.

For tender there is nothing more effective than military trioxine. Trioxine lights easily and will burn even when wet. I've lit it and dropped it in a puddle without it going out. Unfortunately, I do not have a supplier of it right now. I've found it online, but not for a price I am willing to pay. So, I use the next best thing; dryer lint.

I stuff one handful of dryer lint and one ball of waxed dryer lint in the tin. The waxed dryer lint is simply dryer lint that I have dipped in wax. The lint soaks up the wax. This is a little harder to light, but burns longer and is hard to put out.

After I have filled the tin, I seal it with electrical tape. This is just to help keep any moisture out.

Hopefully I'll never need it, but always being able to light a fire makes me much more confident in the woods.

Hey! If you haven't already sign up for my contests. Right now we are giving away a Buck Pocket Knife and a 192 Piece First Aid Kit! There are not many entries, so the chances of winning are good!

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