[Editor’s Note: How important is fire? Today’s guest post was originally published on The Prepared Ninja and reprinted here with permission by the author, Tom Miller. Be sure to check out his bio and connect with him. Don’t let the name The Prepared Ninja fool you. Tom is anything but a mall ninja. He’s doing the stuff with practical advice on preparedness and liberty.]
by Tom Miller
Fire is one of the basic needs for survival. Whether used to stay warm, cook food, provide a light source, or ward off pests, fire can be the difference between life and death. Because fire can be started with a variety of small and lightweight elements, a fire starting method should be included as part of your every day carry (EDC) items and a minimum of two fire starting methods should be included in survival kits, get home bags, bug out bags, etc. The ideal fire starter for every day carry should be small, light weight, and sturdy enough to withstand extended periods of time in a pocket or bag. My top selections for EDC fire starting options are as follows in order from least preferred to most preferred:
4. Magnifying Glass – A magnifying glass can be a good option for starting a fire and there are a few different options when it comes to magnifying glasses; there is the traditional round and thick shape but a better option for every day carry is going to be the flat credit card style of magnifying glass. Starting a fire with a magnifying glass relies on using the magnification to focus a bright light into a fine point that produces fire through heat. Because of this, the single greatest disadvantage to choosing a magnifying glass is the need for sun light. With sun light not always being available in all areas, it comes in at number four on the list.
3. Matches – When it comes to matches, strike anywhere is the way to go. Unfortunately, the availability of strike anywhere matches has significantly decreased in the United States. If obtaining strike anywhere matches is a challenge, try to make your own. It is also beneficial to carry waterproof matches if that is your choice. A sturdy container will protect matches from damage and environmental threats such as moisture. There a purpose-built containers for matches but repurposing a prescription pill bottle or even a clean spice container can be just as suitable. Because of the bulk and each match being typically limited to starting one fire, it comes in at number three on my list.
2. Fire Steel – A fire steel is an awesome choice for a fire starter because it is durable, lightweight, and functions in all types of weather. It is a less reliable option overall because of the fact that it can provide a spark but needs to be paired with a fuel source to start a fire. The fire steel finds itself at number two on the list as a result of the effort needed to produce a fire and the fact that a fuel source is required as well.
1. Lighter – A good old-fashioned Bic style of lighter is often the weapon of choice for starting a fire. With the exception of interference from wind, a lighter will usually successfully produce a flame in most conditions. The placement of a lighter as the first choice in EDC fire starting is based on the fact that it is lightweight, durable, versatile, affordable, and packages a spark and fuel source together.
When deciding what goes into your pockets, purses, and preparedness kits…fire will always have a place. What will you carry?
Author bio: Tom Miller is the owner and writer at the survival and preparedness blog, The Prepared Ninja. His extensive military experience during both peacetime and combat give him a unique perspective on survival and the volatility of society. Visit his website The Prepared Ninja, connect with him on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.
- The importance of the secure cache – your survival could depend on it! (thesurvivalistblog.net)