It’s a bold statement to guarantee starting a fire, but this amazing kit can back up that promise, and then some! Creek’s fire-producing pack contains everything you need to get your campfire blazing easily and quickly. The compact, water-resistant Maxpedition pocket pack includes char cloth, tinder, matches, a nine-hour candle, a fire steel, fatwood sticks and much more. Just add a disposable lighter or two and you’re good to go. This is a must-have kit for anyone trekking into the backwoods! MSRP: $47. (<a target=blank href=http://www.notifbutwhensurvivalstore.com/product-p/creek-fire-kit.htm>notifbutwhensurvivalstore.com</a>; 317-767-4281)
A perfect addition to your bug-out bag or emergency kit, the Solkoa Survival Systems Fire Module Core has all the basic fire-producing items needed to start and maintain a flame while under survival conditions. Its sturdy nylon sack holds 10 stormproof matches, a Faststrike sparking rod, Fastfire tinder, four-hour beeswax candles and wax/cotton tinder tabs. The Module Core’s compact size makes for easy storage just about anywhere. MSRP: $25.(<a target=blank href=http://www.fast-fire.com/fire-module-core/>solkoasurvival.com</a>)
Take a trip back in time with this complete fire-starting kit similar to ones used by mountain men back in the mid-1800s. The set includes a tobacco box with an integrated 6X magnifying lens, char cloth, a striker and jute—all the necessities to produce fire like they did back in a more “simpler time”. Roomy enough to add some modern tools, this set makes a great addition to any primitive camping trip or backwoods excursion. MSRP $46.(<a target=blank href=http://www.notifbutwhensurvivalstore.com/product-p/hudson-bay-fire-kit-tdc.htm>notifbutwhensurvivalstore.com</a>; 317-767-4281)
Waterproof, lightweight and able to burn at an incredible 5,500 degrees Fahrenheit, the nanoStriker XL will produce a much-needed fire quickly and efficiently, even under the harshest outdoor conditions. This survival tool features a 0.25-inch, waterproof ferrocerium and magnesium rod, an ultra-sharp tungsten carbide striker and a durable anodized aluminum body. Most importantly, it’s easy to use when you’re out in the field. It can produce up to 3,000 strikes during the life of the replaceable rod, offering you comforting fires for years to come. MSRP: $29. (<a target=blank href=http://www.exotac.com/nanostriker-xl/>exotac.com</a>; 888-568-9347)
A truly manly fire-starting kit, this “mustache” set includes a laser-cut, high-carbon steel striker, a handmade flint arrowhead, 100-percent cotton squares and a piece of jute natural fiber cord. The included metal pocket tin keeps all your equipment safe from damage and makes it easily transportable in your back pocket. This kit’s ideal for making your own char cloth. MSRP: $18. (<a target=blank href=http://www.notifbutwhensurvivalstore.com/Mustache-Striker-Char-Cloth-Kit-p/mustache.htm>notifbutwhensurvivalstore.com</a>; 317-767-4281)
This kit offers fire-starting essentials and so much more. The SOL Origin packs over a dozen survival items inside its ABS plastic, waterproof case. At the heart of this assortment are key fire-making items to give you warmth and light when you need them most. The included Fire Lite sparker is waterproof, easy to grip and can be operated using only one hand. It produces over 5,000 sparks, so it will essentially last you forever. Four pieces of Tinder Quick ensure your flame will hold until fuel is added. MSRP: $40.(<a target=blank href=http://www.adventuremedicalkits.com/survival/survive-outdoors-longer-origintm-1.html>surviveoutdoorslonger.com</a>; 800-324-3517)
This amazing, lighter-like fire-starter produces no flame, but the Zippo Emergency Fire Starter can create a fire almost instantly during emergency or survival situations. It uses a simple flint wheel to spark a waxed tinder stick that creates fire within seconds, making it perfect for most emergency or survival situations. The tinder stores easily in the highly visible, waterproof case. This unit’s compact design allows for easy carry in jacket pockets, mini bug-out kits or the glove compartment of your car. MSRP: $10. (<a target=blank href=http://www.zippo.com/product.aspx?id=1025615>zippo.com</a>; 814-368-2700)
This compact and effective survival knife holds a few lifesaving secrets. Hidden inside the handle of this survival knife is a diamond knife sharpener and striker used to create fire while in the great outdoors. You’ll never again have to worry about a dull knife or the ability to create fire when needed. A locking blade, rubberized grips, an emergency whistle and lightweight construction complete this amazingly useful survival tool. MSRP: $20.(<a target=blank href=http://www.smithsproducts.com/product/50539-edgesport-survival-knife/>smithsproducts.com</a>; 800-221-4156)
Time may not be on your side when you need a quick fire, but this survival tool will certainly cut your prep time down drastically. The stainless steel tinder maker will turn any dry wood into useful tinder within minutes. Then just create a spark with the included fire-starter and striker and your fire will be roaring in no time. All of the components store easily in the box when not in use. It’s lightweight, durable and, best of all, very easy to use. MSRP: $10. (<a target=blank href=http://www.smithsproducts.com/product/50562-edgesport-natural-tinder-maker-with-fire-starter/>smithsproducts.com</a>; 800-221-4156)
Imagine a fire-starter that uses no spark, no chemicals and no batteries and never requires recharging of any kind. The TERA-Light is one such device. It uses heat created from rapidly compressing air to ignite organic materials found in nature to create fire. It’s extremely simple to use—a quick push of the piston with the hand creates the needed thermodynamic reaction. The heated ember can then be dropped into a tinder bundle to produce a much-needed flame. MSRP: $65. (<a target=blank href=http://www.tera-light.com>tera-light.com</a>)
Multi-tasking is a key component in survival gear, and few items illustrate this better than the Firestorm Buckle. This unique item can be used as part of a paracord bracelet, a replacement for your bug-out bag’s straps or even made into a belt around your waist. Hidden inside this little gem is a fire steel, making it an ideal auxiliary fire-making device. Buy several and replace all your “basic” buckles with these for access to fire whenever and wherever you need it. MSRP: $3. (<a target=blank href=http://wazoosurvivalgear.com/product_info.php/buckles-paracord-12in-firestorm-buckle-p-55>wazoosurvivalgear.com</a>; 281-846-4633)
Some people prefer the old-fashioned way to create fire, and the bow drill consistently delivers results. Contained within this deluxe kit are all the components needed to create a friction fire “straight out of the box.” Each set has been burned and tested prior to shipping, so rest assured a fire will be created quickly and efficiently. This fire-making set includes a hardwood bow, a fireboard, spindles, a ceramic palm rock, nesting material, instructions and more. MSRP: $47.(<a target=blank href=http://www.primitivefire.com/Deluxe-Bow-Drill-Fire-Kit_p_9.html>primitivefire.com</a>; 435-243-5665)
It’s natural to carry a pen every day, and when things go bad, this pen might very well save your life. Constructed from titanium for extreme durability, the Endure Survival Pen contains a working ballpoint pen, a multi-use spike for breaking or digging, a ferrocerium rod and an amazing flare launcher for signaling and fire creation. Expected to be available in September of 2015, the pen also offers 3.5 feet of usable paracord for bug-out use. (<a target=blank href=https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1115177182/endure-edc-survival-pen>kickstarter.com</a>)
This kit features fire-making gear and more organized in an easy-to-carry, cylindrical survival tube. This waterproof supply tube holds separate canisters for essential items that address all survival categories. It includes the basics needed for short-term excursions, such as water purification tablets, razor blades, fishing gear and first-aid supplies. When you need a roaring fire immediately, just reach for the fire-making gear, including waterproof matches, TinderQuick fire-starters and a four-hour beeswax candle, to sustain a flame. MSRP: $105. (<a target=blank href=http://www.vsslgear.com/products/supplies>vsslgear.com</a>; 855-552-2588)
Fire is considered one of the “big four” necessities of the survival world. Shelter, food and water round out this important group. However, the one characteristic that sets fire apart from the others is its versatility. Fire provides warmth, light, protection and, most importantly, a sense of comfort when you’re alone in an unfamiliar place.
The use of fire also directly complements the three remaining categories of the “big four” group. When fish or small game are plentiful out in the wild, an established fire can deliciously cook your catch to offer you a comforting taste of home cooking. Purifying questionable water by boiling it can put your mind at ease. Finally, the warmth of a fire will help you sleep more comfortably and soundly by allowing your body to recharge and clear your mind for the following day’s tasks.
RELATED STORY: 6 Fire Safety Essentials
The ways to create fire are diverse. From primitive techniques like the bow drill to more modern tools like a thermodynamic fire piston, the number of fire-making tools on the market today is at an all-time high. The decision for choosing the right one for you should be based on your own particular emergency needs, space availability, intended environment and the device’s ease of use. You should always test out the products in the field and under several different kinds of conditions to fully test their ability to perform under abnormal situations.
RELATED STORY: Dave Canterbury’s 10 Sure-Fire Fuel Sources
Fire is a powerful yet complex resource in nature. It can destroy and cause physical and emotional pain, yet it can also save your lives in innumerable situations. It goes without saying that fire must be respected at all times, but once you learn how to harness its life-saving abilities, you eliminate a huge barrier toward your ongoing survival.
For More Information
Creek’s Bug-Out Guaranteed Fire Kit
Solkoa Survival Systems Fire Module Core
Hudson Bay Style Mountain Man Fire Kit
Exotac nanoStriker XL
Mustache Striker Char Cloth Kit
Zippo Emergency Fire Starter
EdgeSport Survival Knife
EdgeSport Natural Tinder Maker & Firestarter
Wazoo Firestorm Buckle
Deluxe Bow Drill Fire Kit
Endure Survival Pen
VSSL Supplies Kit
This article was originally published in the SURVIVOR’S EDGE™ Fall 2015 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.
A little effort, preparation, vigilance and training will help you avoid being the victim of...
by Will Dabbs, MD / Jul 3, 2015