One of the basics in survival is starting a fire. Most people have this image in their head that if they ever find themselves lost in the woods or stranded for whatever reason, the first thing they are going to do is start a fire. A fire will make everything better. Well, it probably will, but how do you plan on starting that fire? Have you ever practiced starting a fire in the wild without a stack of newspaper, lighter fluid or even a lighter? If you haven’t, you have some work to do.
A fire is one of the very basic tools of survival. It should be something you learn in the very beginning and practice often. Starting a fire is not as easy as you would think. If you remember that Tom Hanks movie, “Castaway,” you remember the sheer torture the man went through to get a fire and then the extreme joy he felt when he finally got a spark. You don’t want to rub your hands raw to the point they are bleeding. You are smart enough to prepare for anything and therefore, you are going to store several different fire starting methods so you don’t ever have to make a hand drill. While the hand drill, sometimes called a bow drill, will get a fire going, it is an absolutely brutal way to go about it. It is absolutely taxing and frustrating and you are more likely to give up before you ever see the tiniest little spark.
Prepare yourself to survive by carrying various fire starting tools with you in your car, in your locker, in your bug out bag and in your pocket if you are heading out for a walk into the woods. The following items are extremely handy for getting the first leg of the fire starting triangle—ignition.
Matches—waterproof or matches in waterproof container are best
Those are four things that are extremely inexpensive and lightweight. Buy a lot so you are never without! Before you go traipsing off into the forest, spend some time learning how to make the ferro rods or magnesium stick work. While the method is fairly basic, it does take some practice. The firesteel will come with a handy rod to slide down the steel to create a spark. However, you have to know how much pressure to apply, how fast to slide the rod and how close you need to hold it to your tinder bundle to catch the spark. The same applies to the magnesium stick.
Never assume you can start a fire in the wild unless you have practiced it. Practice gathering tinder bundle material in wet and dry conditions and then practice lighting the fire. This is a skill that is too valuable not to practice. Don’t forget to teach the rest of the family as well.