Learning how to build a fire is one of the most important skills that anyone can learn. It is widely believed to be one of the first skills mastered by early humans, and allowed our ancestors to rise above the unforgiving wilderness they were born into. Not only did it warm their bodies and cook their food, but it gave them a huge advantage over other animals by providing light, and scaring away predators and pests.
So if you ever find yourself without the comforts and convenience of modern civilization, your ability to make a fire could mean the difference between life and death. (This is a great primer on fire-starting.) While learning how to make a fire with primitive techniques or creative methods could save your life, there are plenty of specialized tools that can make your life a lot easier, should you find yourself in a survival situation.
I'm sure most of you are familiar with the classic magnesium stick that's become a staple of every camping trip and bug-out bag. It's a simple and reliable device that won't let you down in an emergency. However, there are a wide variety of tools and methods that you can use depending on your needs and situation; some of which you may not have been aware of:
No survival kit would be complete without paracord, because there is no shortage of uses for it. You can use it to make a hammock, or as shoe laces, or even a toe line. You can fashion them into bracelets, lanyards, pet collars, and belts. Even when they fall apart they're still useful. You can pull out those inner strands and use them for sewing, suturing, flossing, and fishing. But now there is one more amazing use for paracord.
You can get what's known as 550 Fire Cord. It works the same as regular paracord in every way, except this rope as happens to have a flammable element. Among the eight strands that make up the core of the rope, there is one color coded strand that is highly flammable. The outer coating is also UV, water, and mildew resistant, so it will maintain its reliability under almost any condition.
While matches seem like an obvious addition to any survival kit, not all matches are created equal. Stormproof matches are notorious for being useful in just about any environment. Not only do they stay lit in windy conditions, but they'll keep burning for roughly 15 seconds. Even when they're wet, they'll still ignite. You wouldn't want to be caught in storm without a few these bad boys.
Speaking of terrible weather, have you ever tried to burn water logged wood? It's nearly impossible. Wet conditions mean you'll need a roaring fire more than ever to survive, but it also means that most of the wood you'll find may be thoroughly soaked. If you want to dry out the wood, guess what you'll need? A fire of course. I'm sure many would be survivors have gotten a chuckle out of that before freezing to death.
However, you won't need to ruminate over your tragic catch-22 if you have the Live Fire. From the same company that makes the 550 Fire Cord, Live Fire is a tiny tin that contains an orange flammable substance. I've yet discover what this substance is made out of, but it appears very similar to wetfire. Even if it's been completely submerged in water, it'll still light, and will keep burning under windy conditions. Once you get it started, it will stay lit for at least 30 minutes. You can adjust the lid to make the fire smaller and longer lasting.
And all it takes to ignite is a tiny spark. You can use the lid as a handle to protect your fingers, and you can close it all up to extinguish the flames. By being able to light a small but strong fire in any environment, you'll stand a far better chance of getting damp wood to ignite
As I stated earlier, not all matches are created equal, and you won't find anything quite like Primo Quick Lights. They work just like any other match; by striking the combustible tips against a coarse surface. Quick Lights however, aren't just tiny sticks of wood. Each one is a small briquette that will burn for several minutes, more than enough time to get most wood to catch. They're designed to ignite a charcoal grill without the use of lighter fluid, so you can expect these briquettes to get your fire roaring under adverse conditions.
I'm surprised I haven't heard more about this handy fire starter, because it is by far one of best reviewed devices on the market. The Blast Match consists of a spring loaded flint bar and a thumb activated carbide striker. All you have to do is hold down the striker button, and push the bar into whatever substance you're trying to light, and a stream of hot sparks will pour into your kindling. The sparks are about 3 times hotter than a lit match, and will usually ignite leaves and cloth on the first attempt.
Best of all, the Blast Match can be used with only one hand, so even if you're severely injured, you can still get your fire going. The flint bar easily rotates if you want a maintain an even striking surface, and can withstand thousands of strikes before wearing out. Simply put, this device is the epitome of simplicity, low cost, and utility. You won't want to leave civilization without it.
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