There are several ‘basic skills’ that every man and woman should learn. Starting a fire is undoubtedly one.
We have become too dependent on our modern technology and our creature comforts. While it’s nice to be able to come home to a heated house and to cook up a meal on the stove, the fact of the matter is that we can’t rely on this option always being available. What happens when we come home and there’s a power cut? What happens if we’re stranded on an island?
Being truly self-sufficient means being able to cook your own food and provide your own heat. And the sense of reward that comes from starting a fire and knowing that you have the skills to survive in any condition is worth it alone.
But to start a fire, you’re going to need the right tools. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Ferro Rod / Fire Stick
While we’d all like to be able to start fires from stones or twigs alone, the fact of the matter is that sometimes this won’t be possible. Not only is it incredibly difficult in even the most ideal conditions, but it only takes some wet weather or a lack of nearby tons to make this option a non-starter. A non-fire-starter.
And that’s why having a small Fire Stick or ‘Ferro Rod’ to hand is a good idea. This will let you create the spark you need to create a fire and it’s not reliant on any gas. Of course you could also carry a small lighter for a similar job, or you could try using a magnifying glass/pair of binoculars – though that option is highly dependent on factors outside your control again.
You’re going to need some kind of log splitter, the purpose of which will be to allow you to break up wood into small pieces that will be suitable for burning. One of the most popular options here is a splitting maul, which is a large axe-type-implement with a hammer on the other end and a triangular wedge shape. You can check out the best splitting mauls here. For something more portable, consider a hatchet. A folding saw can also be used to this end.
Something to Create Tinder/Kindling
Tinder or kindling is the highly flammable upper layer of your campfire that will be ignited by the sparks and burn long enough to light the larger logs underneath. This is something that you can gather – wood chippings and certain types of heather work great. But if there’s nothing to hand, then another option is to create your own tinder using the right type of knife. Perfect for this is a kukri, which is a type of machete that has a curve that’s perfect for stripping off tinder.
While a knife isn’t an essential fire starting tool, it can come in handy for a number of reasons. You might use it in order to remove wet bark for instance, you might use it as an alternative to a kukri, or you might use it in order to cut a notch into your fireboard, or you might even use it for cutting firewood. For all these jobs there are likely better tools, but the advantage of a pocket knife is that you can slip it into your pocket and not worry about it adding any weight to your carry.
And there you have it – with these items you’ll be ready to start a fire and get to work! You can now provide heat and food for yourself and your family, in nearly any situation.