A Reliable Fire

A Reliable Fire 0

Fire has a primal nature for humans; it creates a sense of home and lifts the spirits. Fire means warmth, food, light and stability as well of course as rescue.
 
I will show you a reliable means to make a fire even on the wet ground which is just as suitable in your home fireplace as it is in the deep wilderness, there numerous ways to light a fire and many theories on how to do it the correct way. My general method is tried and tested, although if you’ve made positive developments and want to share, that’s grand! Now let’s get started.
 
Firstly, we only light a fire if it is safe to do so, and only if you are certain that you have the skills and resources to extinguish it fully. You must verify with the landowner that you’ve permission to do so, and if you do, look for a piece of clear level ground with nothing overhead or nearby which could catch fire. Next, clear the ground to exposed earth, so that you can be sure there are no roots that will get damaged or possibly spread the fire. A good rule for newcomers desiring a small fire (no bigger than 30cm in diameter) for a cup of tea is a ground clearing of 1 metre with all flammables cleared within 3 metres of the fire.
 
Once we have cleared the floor we need first to find tinder. Tinder is any fine flammable substance that will catch light from the dimmest of sparks. There are several varieties of tinder, both natural and man-made. Cherry bark, dry grass, finely shredded birch bark, feather stems of wood, baked spruce needles as well as some man created tinders such as vapor-rub, cotton wool soaked in hand sanitizer or nail polish remover and of course trusty fire lighters.
 
Look also for your fuel before lighting the fire (otherwise, we will be running about trying to find it). After tinder we need thin matchstick twigs, I like to use handfuls of things around 20cm in length and only a few of millimetres thick. The next size of fuel should be thick pencil twigs, followed by our main fuel, thick sticks. All fuel needs to be as dry as possible (collect dry standing dead wood or things caught up in the branches of trees) try to avoid sticks on the floor as these will hold a lot of moisture.
 
Next, we need to isolate the ground and stop moisture being drawn up in the beginning stages of the fire and extinguish it.
 
For this fire, we need the direction of the wind to be coming from behind us taking the smoke away in front of us and driving the flames through the fuel. On top of the bark raft, I place two handfuls of the thinnest twigs one on top of another in an “A” shape. I then lay the thick pencil twigs in the same pattern so that a small void is created at the base of the fire lay where we will place the tinder. Next, the thicker fuel is laid in the same way. Be mindful of leaving air spaces between the fuel this will help the fire spread rather than becoming choked.
 
It’s time to light the fire. Whether you are igniting with a match, lighter, lens, or a flint and steel, The process of fire lay is the same. Fluff up the tinder and make sure it is as dry as possible we're only going to want to put the tinder in position when we want to start the fire.
 
In this instance, I’m starting this fire with a Fire Steel. This fire lighter works by stripping off hot sparks onto the finely fluffed up tinder which catches the spark and creates a flame. A few hard scrapes of the Fire Steel and we have combustion!
 
Let the flame grow in the tinder. If your fire was sound and your preparation was sufficient, you should see a strong little fire which is easy enough to manage and extremely useful!
 
When you’ve finished, please make sure you douse the fire with enough water that you can safely pick up all the wet ashes leaving no mark of your fire on the ground.
Carry Smarter
EDC And Working With A Budget

EDC And Working With A Budget 0

There are a lot of items that you could be carrying as part of your every day carry gear. The difficulty is that you probably don’t have sufficient room to take everything that you’d need in case of crisis. Getting some of these things can be rather inexpensive if you just stay with the basics.
 
There’s an entire following of people who do budget EDC kits that fit into an Altoids tin. I have one personally, and it’d be pretty awesome if I held it with me if I were stuck someplace, but I find that even though it packs a lot of stuff, it’s a relatively bulky item to pack so I don’t always put it in my pocket. It now sits in a bag as a part of my motorcycle EDC. When I have room, it goes in my on person kit. The kind of EDC bag I’m talking about here today is spread out in different pockets, including on your keychain.
 
A sound EDC kit will have things you need to get through a situation but be comfortable enough to carry so that you never forget it at home. So what should you carry? Assuming you’ve acquired enough skills to enable you to make due with what you can obtain, you just need several things to help the process a bit.  There are a few broad categories to survival equipment:
 
Knife
 
Since this is an inexpensive EDC kit we’re focusing on, your knife will have to be on the lower end as far as blades go. Your knife is reasonably going to be the most expensive item on the list. You want the thing to work so I would not suggest a £3 piece of rubbish that you find at your local car parts shop. You need something that’ll work when you need it to or there’s no reason to have it in the first place.
 
A good example is the Smith & Wesson CK105H Ops Knife. It’s usually under £15 and has a rather good reputation. It’s a folding blade with a pocket clip so you can easily carry it.
 
Fire
 
Unmistakably, being able to light a fire is an immense advantage in a lot of survival situations. Even something as inexpensive and easy to find as a BIC disposable lighter can be a tremendous advantage to keeping warm and purifying water or cooking. These can usually be found for about a pound or even less, or free if someone leaves one behind someplace. You can cut a strip of duct tape and wrap around to add more grip. This BIC is fantastic. They last for ages, don’t leak out their fuel, and they’re just incredibly cheap!
 
Just like the knife mentioned above, Survival Life currently has a free Everstryke Match that works in virtually any environment.
 
Light
 
For a torch, on the cheap end, you can’t knock a Cree 7w flashlight. It’s under £5 and pretty impressive. It’s also little enough to fit in your pocket and takes double A batteries. This thing is super bright too.  A must-have for a budget EDC kit.
 
Shelter
 
For shelter, there’s not a lot you can do in your EDC kit. My suggestion is just to get a couple of 84″x52″ space blankets. They’re very cheap and fit in a back pocket no problem. Just remember that these are a one-time use kind of thing and tear pretty quickly.
 
Cordage
 
For cordage, the problem is having it on you at all times. Probably your safest solution is to get some dental floss. If the packaging is too big to carry around, just pull the spool out of it and tie down the end. You can get around 55 yards of cordage his way. Another option is just getting some fishing line. The key is just to find a way to carry it efficiently so it doesn’t take up much room. The best ways I know is just to use a cheap plastic bobbin.
 
Food
 
For an EDC kit, you have to stay small. If you’re not going just to eat plants and berries, one of the best value food is fish. Your bugout bag may have a full-on fishing kit in it but you surely can’t wander around with that in your pocket. For a casting line, just use the dental floss or the fishing line from the section above.
 
It’s good to pack things that serve multiple purposes. You’ll need to have something on the end of the line to keep the bait and grab the fish when they bite. Fish hooks are small and cheap so you might as well just toss a few of them in your kit.
Carry Smarter.
Stormproof Matches

Stormproof Matches 0

A staple EDC (every day carry) item for those who are preparedness-minded is a fire making tool. Now this is usually a lighter or a fire steel. All too often do we forget the device that is most commonly used to start a fire around the globe, the common match.

Modern matches have been around for about 200 years but they are still as popular as ever. It's because of their simplistic and reliable function, and most of all, their cost.

The modern match has had the design tweaked a touch with the Strike Anywhere Match, which I'm sure many of you have seen. A new model is the Stormproof Match, which is something I wanted to present to all of you today.

The Stormproof Match has the match-head
chemical coating covering halfway down the match body.
This enables the match to burn even in strong wind, rain, or even underwater! It sounds too good to be true, but you can see this in the video below.

 


These matches are perfect for EDC, since we often need matches outside, and standard matches are often blown out in even a light gust of wind. These Stormproof Matches continue burning no matter what conditions.

They are also very affordable. You can buy them in a 10-Pack, 25-Pack and 50-Pack, in a Small or Large Waterproof Case. There are many ways to carry them. Personally, I would bring a 10-Pack of these matches in a jacket pocket. Heck, throw one in each of your jackets so that no matter what, if it's cold and you go outside, you'll have a way to start a fire.

Carry Smarter.

  • Martin Punter
  • Tags: EDC Fire
6 Obscure Fire Lighting Methods

6 Obscure Fire Lighting Methods 0

Fire lighting is possibly one of the essential survival abilities to master.

 

Most wood fires are rather similar, composed of the three primary elements: fuel, heat and oxygen. But how the fire began can be vastly different; generating that initial heat to ignite the tinder can be achieved in a variety of ways. People know how to handle a box of matches, fire steel or even how to create and use a fire drill, but what about the less traditional methods of fire starting.

 

Here are examples of some methods of which are less well-known but could be valuable in a survival situation, others are frankly silly! I'm providing such knowledge here just out of interest, so please do not attempt these methods yourself!

 

Brake Fluid And Chlorine

This one we don’t advise attempting, due to the violent eruption of flames and release of toxic chlorine fumes that it would produce. Seriously, do not this one at home or outdoors! Mixing granular sodium hypochlorite (a chemical used in pools) and brake fluid will result in a bubbling mixture of chemicals that will abruptly burst into flame.

 

Ice Cubes

Fire from ice (with a little help from the sun)

 

It is well-known fact that you can start a fire using a magnifying glass, but what if there is lots of sunlight but no magnifying glass? Create one! You can use a transparent bottle, cling-film or condom filled up with ice to make lens shapes to focus sunlight and start a fire! Ice is especially good because the surface can be melted with your hands to a make a very optically smooth finish.

 

Catalytic Lighter

A little known and old-fashioned method of making fire. It consists of a container with a methanol saturated pad and an insert made of extremely fine platinum wire and platinum sponge. Platinum, simultaneously being precious (which is probably why these lighters are not commercially available), is one of the best catalytic substances known. These lighters simply work by platinum catalysing the combustion of methanol vapour with oxygen. Heat builds until the wire is hot enough to auto-ignite the methanol.

 

Potassium Permanganate And Monoethylene Glycol

A relatively common way of fire starting is the combination of glycerine and potassium permanganate, creating high-temperature purple flames for a little while after mixing. However, In cold temperatures this reaction is extremely slower or does not take place at all, often needing the reagents to be heated under the armpit before use. Using some mono ethylene glycol instead of the glycerine allows for a faster reaction that can still take place at low temperature and use smaller amounts.

 

Fizzy Drink Can

Aluminium drinks cans are everywhere, and if you have nothing else but lots of time you can use one to create a fire, as long as there is plenty of sun! By polishing the bottom of the can to a very smooth mirror finish applying toothpaste, natural clays or even chocolate, you can create a parabolic mirror to focus sunlight onto some tinder held above the centre of the mirror using a stick.

 

Linseed Oil And Newspaper

This method is a rather slow and inconstant technique, so wouldn’t be useful for survival, but is fascinating nevertheless. Newspaper or rags that are dry but has been daubed with linseed oil are capable of spontaneous combustion; as the linseed oil oxidises it generates heat which in adequate quantity and on a dry day is capable of catching fire with no outside ignition needed. It can take hours or days to happen so we don’t know why you’d even try this technique!

 

Carry Smarter.