Sure we’ve taught you how to make a fire. We’ve shown you how to make sure your fire pit is safe and even how to make a Dakota Fire Pit to cut down on fuel consumption and make your fires more efficient. We’ve shown you how to start a fire with an empty lighter, but what about what to carry on you so you don’t have to make a fire with a busted old empty Bic? Well here we are.
This one shouldn’t surprise anyone. As we covered in the empty lighter article these are excellent because you can buy them in bulk almost anywhere and stuff them in every pocket of every piece of clothing you own. Many smokers carry one of these around religiously anyway (though we don’t recommend the smoking part). I would venture to guess that most fires made in the bush for camping or survival purposes are made with these lighters.
These have been serving people in the bush ever since they were created as a “wind-proof” lighter for soldiers during World War II. They’re stylish and attractive and get the job done. However, if you’re going to use one of these as your main source of fire you’re going to want to carry extra wicks, flints, and fluid with you. The fluid especially will evaporate from inside the body and you’ll be left with an empty lighter. They also make inserts that allow for a butane torch flame which will not evaporate but may not work as well under frigid conditions.
This classic survival tool is used by bushcrafters and suvivalists the world over. A solid rod of magnesium showers your tinder in flaming hot sparks when struck with a steel instrument (usually a knife or a striker tool). These are great because they last for hundreds if not thousands of strikes (depending on the size and thickness), they don’t require any special fuels or replacement parts to maintain, and they’re relatively cheap. So much like a Bic lighter you can buy these in bulk and spread them out throughout your gear.
These small plastic lenses are great to throw in a kit and forget about. They are made of very lightweight plastic and can be bent to turn the rays of the sun into a focused beam and light tinder in seconds. These credit card sized magnifying lenses are an excellent choice to keep in your wallet or to slide into a coat pocket. Again, these are very cheap and you can litter these all around so you always have access to fire. One of the downsides is you have to start a fire during the day and these don’t work when it’s cloudy. I wouldn’t recommend these as your only and primary source of fire, but they will work.
Flint & Steel
For those of you who want to go full caveman (without having to only rely on bow drills or other friction fires) you can go back in time and use a piece of flint and steel striker. These can be bought in a kit for fairly cheap or they can be made from having a piece of steel and finding a chunk of flint in the wild. These are mostly for people trying to practice ancient skills and while it does work well with some practice, I would not recommend having this be your only source of making fire in a survival situation. That said, it worked for our ancestors for thousands of years.