One of the key outdoor skills you need to master is starting a fire. Obviously if you are evading an enemy, fire may not be feasible, but in a survival situation, it may save your life. You need to have items in your fire kit that are considered sure-fire items—supplies that will give you a flame in any weather condition. Chances are, if you have to start a fire in a survival situation, the conditions won’t be ideal thanks to Murphy’s law. It will likely be cold, wet, snowy, or windy, which is why you need sure-fire items in your kit.
Being able to get a fire going is beneficial for several reasons (in order of importance):
- To dry out clothing and provide warmth to combat hypothermia.
- To boil water or melt snow so that you can stay hydrated.
- To cook any food or game you have caught, trapped, or killed.
- To signal for help or rescue.
My personal rule of thumb when it comes to a fire kit is to have a minimum of three ignition sources and a few methods of sure-fire tinder to start a fire. The items I have in my fire kit have been field-tested and work for me. Take the time to test the items you choose in a controlled environment so that you know how to use them and become confident that they will work when you need them to. Practice not only in fair weather, but also in inclement weather. The more you practice, the more confident you’ll be if you’re thrown into a survival situation.
My kit is kept in a canvas zippered pouch made by Frost River.