One of the necessities in any survival kit is a way to start a fire. It can obviously be used for light and warmth, but also to purify water, cook food, signal for help, keep wildlife away, and has a psychological benefit.
There are a plethora of premade fire kits available from several online retailers. Most of them are really well thought out, and an overall good value for the money. If you want to build your own, though, here are some basics to get you started.
Fire Kit Basics
- Ignition – I am a fan of redundancy in all of my kits. My waterproof fire kit contains a Bic lighter, storm proof and strike anywhere matches, some para-cord to make a fire bow, a Fresnel lens, and a ferro rod.
- Tinder – This is what used to take the initial spark. I have a few wet fire tabs, a magnesium fire starter block, and some cotton balls coated with Vaseline.
- Kindling – Most of the time you can gather this from your surroundings. It may take some work if the weather is bad, though, so I keep a few pieces of fat wood in my kit.
- Knife – Any decent knife will do, just be sure it has a decent edge and is well-made so it doesn’t break. This is used to process your kindling and can be used to strike the ferro rod if needed.
- Wire Saw – This is definitely optional. A lot of these are hit or miss, so I don’t like to rely on them very much. I have a better option in my bag if I need one, but usually, I can gather or break enough branches by hand that I don’t tend to worry about one of these.
- Work Gloves – These don’t have to be anything fancy, I recommend some cheap leather gloves. They are simply included to keep from scraping or blistering your hands as much, and they do provide some protection when using the knife to process kindling.
- Aluminum Foil – This isn’t a necessity, but it comes in handy. A few pieces of good aluminum foil about 6” x 6” can save a lot of headache and wet conditions. Simply lay it on the ground and start your fire on top of it.
- Waterproof Container – Finally, you need something to keep all of this in. I prefer a hard plastic, waterproof case. You can also use a large Ziploc bag, or vacuum seal it with something like a Food Saver.
All of this combined will take up a relatively small amount of space, but if you ever need it, it can be a lifesaver.