Fire is a versatile survival asset, so it's important that you have a fire starter kit in your bugout bag (BOB).
A proper fire starter kit should contain multiple items you can use to start a fire so you can stay warm and cook outdoors. Read on for tips on building a fire survival kit. (h/t to PreppersWill.com)
Essentials for a fire starter kit
Being able to start and maintain a fire is crucial to your survival when SHTF. Ideally, you should know how to start a fire using basic tools like tinder and wood. But you can also make things easier for yourself by preparing a convenient fire starter kit that includes more than one way to start a fire.
Here's what a well-planned fire starter kit should contain:
Ferrocerium flint – Ferrocerium is a crude iron alloy containing a high percentage of cerium. It's typically used for flints in cigarette lighters and was historically used to generate sparks. When small shavings of it are removed via scraping, the heat generated by the friction ignites the shavings.
Other flints – Ferrocerium is one of the most convenient fire starters on the market. But don't rely on it alone. It pays to pack other things you can use as flint, such as stones high in silica content. Good examples include quartz, agate, chert and jasper. These stones have a smooth, glassy appearance.
Waterproof matches – Waterproof matches light up quickly and consistently even in heavy rain, snow and strong winds. They can burn for a few seconds and will relight after being submerged in water. If a match gets wet, you can simply wipe it dry before using it. These matches are extremely handy in survival situations.
Cotton balls coated with wax – Cotton balls coated with wax or a substance like petroleum jelly make great fire starters. They make nice little balls of fire when lit. Keep them in a small resealable bag to protect other items in your kit from the mess.
Tinder box – To build a big enough fire for cooking or keeping warm at night, you need to add tinder. It helps to prepare a small, tin box filled with things you can use for tinder, such as small pieces of bark, dry pine needles, wood shavings, tiny twigs, dry leaves, dandelion fluff, bird down and straw.
BIC lighters – A small BIC lighter is not foolproof under all conditions. Still, it is the simplest and fastest way to start a fire. Keep two in your kits and carry one in your pocket for everyday use.
Take note that you don't need a huge fire starter kit. A normal-sized pouch is enough.
If you still have space left in your kit, pack a few pieces of fatwood. Fatwood is harvested from the stumps of pine trees with high concentrations of natural resin or pitch. The resin makes it hard, fragrant and rot-resistant, which is why fatwood burns better than other kinds of wood.
You can either buy fatwood or find it yourself in the wild. It's abundant in wooded areas and forests with lots of pine trees. Use an ax or knife to shave off the outer bark of tree stumps to reveal the fragrant fatwood.
And if you frequently go on outdoor trips, it's a good idea to have more than one fire starter kit. Put one in your boating and car emergency kits, everyday carry (EDC) kit and hiking, camping and fishing packs. (Related: Top 12 NECESSARY items for survival when SHTF.)