Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Firemaking: The Most Basic Basics

Previously, I've touched a bit on the Rule of 3 (three minutes without air, three hours exposed, three days without water, three weeks without food). I'd like to expand some on this, especially the three hours bit. In the coming months, I'll be demonstrating firemaking once a month, with some shelter information thrown in as I can. (I could teach just fire from here to Christmas, but we'd all get burned out.)

[I see what you did there. -- Editor]

Fire is a critical survival need. In addition to heat, fire provides light at night, and can make smoke during daylight hours to signal to rescuers. It is also a huge psychological comfort, keeping away the things that bump in the night, even if they're just in your head.

The complete contents of my fire bag. 

My fire bag contains pretty much everything I need to start a fire. It is carried in my EDC backpack, but I'll be building a new one to expand on each of the car bags -- they've all got some of it, but none have all of it. I've previously talked about my love of the Sparkie. The rest are as follows:

Strike-anywhere matches and disposable lighter:  I "cheat" at survival, but if you aren't cheating, you aren't trying.  Yes, I can (and have) made a fire with just a stick and wood block, but it's a miserable affair, and if you don't have to put yourself through it, why would you?  The lighter probably came from a gas station somewhere, and I've had the matches case for over a decade now.

Light My Fire 2.0 firesteel:  The Sparkie makes this kind of redundant, but it weighs virtually nothing, and takes up almost no space.  Since there is no downside to carrying it, I see no need to remove it from my bag.  There is also a whistle in the striker, which none of my other gear in this bag has.

Pill Bottle:  The pill bottle holds quite a bit of two of my favorite tinders, dryer lint and jute twine.  It is nigh-watertight, and can hold an amazing quantity of compressed tinder.  When we talk tinder, I'll show just how much, and why I like these two tinders so much.  I also keep a 15-20' coil of jute twine in the bag.  It can be cut to make more tinder, and it can also be used to secure items, or as the string of a firebow, if all my other starting methods fail.

Esbit stove:  I'll review this later.  For now, it's light and compact, about the size and weight of a cassette tape.

With this setup, I can make fire any time, virtually anywhere, and under almost any conditions.  Any recommendations on what I should add?  Any reason I should delete something?

The fire bag, packed.


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