One of the hallmarks of human evolution is our learning to harness, create and control fire.
From providing warmth for comfort, all the way to facilitating the creation of metal tools, fire is one of the most important items in our tool chest.
In the recent past of outdoors activities, there has been a back and forth concerning fire making/fire use. The 80’s & 90’s saw a shift in the fire attitude, leading people away from open fires to liquid fuel camping/backpacking stoves or solar oven cooking. Concerns of fire danger & eco protection were all the rage, and a boom in these types of heating and cooking methods occurred.
All of these notwithstanding, there is most definitely a place and a need for actual fire, and therefore a need for us to know and practice multiple methods for creating it.
The classic method of my Boy Scout fire making days (successfully starting a fire using only one match), this is the go-to and most often thought of when people talk fire making. The only real issues with this method are strike on box vs strike anywhere (thank you to whichever safety freaks out there have made it nigh impossible to find the latter anymore) and the fact that you may at times find them difficult to keep dry.
We’re talking the butane style, not the USB rechargeables. I’m not saying that the USB type are not useful, but in all honesty we’re out in the woods and trying to get away from being technology dependent!
One of the really cool things about this type of fire starting source is that even if/when the fuel is expended, the roller can still be used to throw sparks.
Ferrocerium (or Ferro) rods are made of metallic alloys that allow for very hot & intense sparks to be thrown using friction and oxygen. This is a very reliable fire starting method, and is pretty damn simple to learn.
Flint & Steel
Flint & steel (or fire steel) has bee na staple of woodsmen and bush travellers for a few hundred years. It takes a little time and practice, but it is definitely a good method to know.
A small magnifying lens or glass can easily be used to start your fire, if you have the cooperation of Mother Nature. I mean, really, who didn’t nuke an ant pile pile with one of these bad boys as a kid?
A Word on Tinder…
You need to keep a “next fire” mentality. This means planning for your next fire, and having enough dry material to get it started. A couple things I do to be one step ahead is keeping char cloth handy, as well as some homemade fire extenders utilizing cotton balls and petroleum jelly.
We’d really love to hear your thoughts and ideas on this, let’s talk!
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