65

A healthy set of firelighters and some woodworking tools. An axe and saw are a must along with your pocket knife. Failing that, a knife and hand axe. With fire lighters, you will struggle to light sodden twigs. You might get something small going but this will burn out as your chemical fuel disappears - revealing that your twigs were not really part of the ...


37

Bring skills. Skills are by far the lightest and most useful thing to carry. They are, however, also rather difficult and time-consuming to acquire (as compared to, say, some tools that you can simply go and buy in a shop). Here are some quick suggestions (thank you commenters): Collect the lowest deadwood branches still attached on evergreen trees, they ...


35

There are many, many ways to make a fire. Some require more skill, while others depend on carefully prepared equipment. The closest thing to "rubbing two sticks together" is the hand-drill. You will need a fireboard (a small cedar board is good) and a thin, straight stick. A knife is good, too. This takes a lot of practice. Hand callouses help. YouTube has ...


24

Just got around to trying out some experiments, and so far it seems to be pretty robust. In most of the things I've tried, it lit immediately and was consumed entirely, no need to re-light (except for the wet test, I'll mention below). I used a lighter, so I can't be certain other methods (flint, bow, etc.) will ignite it as well, but given how quickly it ...


21

I have always found it easy to just carry a few tea lights. PUt them under a wet teepee of small kindling, and it will light, eventually. Size up slowly, remembering that the wood needs to dry and then to light. If it's actively raining you may need to "cover" the fire a bit with a tarp or large leaves, but the idea is the same. The slow-burning tea light ...


19

I suggest using a bow drill. It's a little tricky to start, but once you get the hang of it you can get pretty good at it. For wood selections, you generally want to stick with the following: Obviously Dry. You should be able to press into the wood. If you can't at all then it's too hard. However, if you can make a fingertip-sized depression then it's too ...


18

I'll caveat this answer with the fact I've heard of them but never used them. That being said: Would a fire piston have any advantages over the more modern ways of starting a fire such as matches or a lighter? Not really. They require you to carry around a suitable tinder and keep that warm and dry, they're bulkier than matches and take longer to use, ...


15

There are a lot of ways to start fires, from a lighter to a chocolate bar and soda can. The basic principles always apply, though: you need oxygen, heat, and fuel (see fire triangle). If you can combine these three just right, you'll get fire. There is a sort of art to starting a fire. Generally you will need: Tinder: tiny twigs (dry pine branches are a ...


15

What I have always carried is cotton balls mixed with petroleum jelly stored in a film canister. It's small and light, the cotton makes it easy to light and the petroleum jelly gives it quite a bit of heat. Just be careful not to get the jelly on your fingers when doing this, as otherwise, you can burn them pretty easily. There are plenty of other things ...


14

The pro of a fire steel over other lighters is that there's little that can break or be damaged from weather. Even if you lose the striker, a steel knife will work with the flint. However the con is that you only get a spark, not a steady flame. That means it needs to hit something that will ignite very easily. I use it to light my stoves (alcohol and ...


14

Aside from what is mentioned in the answers to this question (How to light a fire with wet firewood?) the things you need to be concerned about in winter are the cold, frozen wood, and your fire being extinguished by snow. On winter camps one story that always went around was one of a man who died because after he built his fire and was just barely getting ...


13

The big plus with a firesteel is that you can pretty much do what you want to it, including soaking the thing in ice cold water, and it'll still work as well as before. The big downside is it's just sparks, so it's harder to build a fire. However, with practice, it's not that hard and does provide a good backup if your matches get soaked through and your ...


12

In addition to the other fine answers here, I'd like to add another skill I recently learned about to help with wet weather fire building. It's called the upside down fire. You can view how-to videos on youtube.com here and here. The basic gist of the fire is that you start by laying out larger more damp pieces in the bottom of your fire lay, as you build ...


12

Locally one of the forms of firestarter our hardware store sells amounts to coarse sawdust mixed with candle wax. Break a piece in half to get a rough edge to start. You can make your own from old candle stubs and shredded paper. Do the wax in a double boiler. Vaseline and cotton balls work too, but they are messy if they escape in your pack. On trips ...


11

I use alcohol based napkins (aka wet-naps/handy-wipes). They are individually packaged, light in a cinch, come free with a lot of fast food (fried chicken, ribs, etc.) and the packaging is usually pretty robust a protecting the contents from being compromised. I also use them for cleaning my hands, face and pits in the field.


11

Flint is your best bet and it sparks much better with steel than with a rock like iron pyrite. The better rocks you find, the less the tinder matters, but you will need something like a cotton ball or similar fine material that is very dry in most cases when you don't have actual steel and pure flint. Any old tinder will do - fungus, grass, wood splinters or ...


11

Use your finger. Equally to using your finger to cover the sun when trying to spot something in the sky you can use the principle to cover the bright spot. You will be closing one eye and putting the finger between your eye and the bright spot to cover it just enough to not bother you I used that system several times both with the sun but also if I had ...


11

would a fire piston have any advantages over the more modern ways of starting a fire such as matches or a lighter? Yes. There are many combinations of factors that affect the answer. In some situations a fire piston has an advantage. A fire piston is liable to be superior to matches when each needs to be able to be used for long periods without external ...


10

As mentioned in an earlier post, there are three critical components: fuel, oxygen, and heat. Understanding how these interact is critical to successfully creating a fire. The oxygen is the easy part given that we're surrounded by it. Still, you must keep circulation in mind. The process of combustion consumes oxygen, and if its supply cannot be ...


10

With just the right equipment in a laboratory setting, you can use the energy in a key fob battery to cause a spark. You can then use that to start a fire under the right conditions. However, that's not going to happen in any realistic back country conditions. The voltage and current capability of a key fob battery are just too low. The reason you can ...


10

The technical answer is simply: yes. But that answer would be deceiving, so... Can it be done? Yes. It throws out some decent sparks. The device works by scraping a tiny piece of flint over steel. In that regard, this should be no different than any other flint & steel fire lighting, with the exception of the awkward cup. See later section for the ...


9

When cold temperature is an issue, your fire may be harder to start, but the biggest reason will likely be yourself. Your cold hands and waning patience are more likely to make your fire harder to start than anything else. Fingerless gloves are good to keep your hands warm while allowing fine manipulation of twigs and leaves, and the lighter. You can also ...


9

A quick search yielded this video, which seems straightforward enough. I have never seen anyone use charcloth like in the video, but it seems to work nicely. To summarize the video: Place the charcloth on top of the flintstone with your fingers. Strike the flint until the charcloth is lit. Put the glowing charcloth into a tinder bundle (old rope that has ...


9

Just to add to what others have said, snow can be pretty useful for managing wind. You can use it to build a wall if there is too much wind. You can then make a hole in that wall to let wind in. Then all you need to do is block the hole or unblock it to manage how much air reaches the fire. If you orient this hole well, you can get really good wind control :)...


9

A couple of additional thoughts: A metal pencil sharpener with a large hole (often only available as a two-hole sharpener). Great for turning twigs into shavings. More surface area should mean they dry faster (once you have an initial bit of tinder going) and catch more easily. Shavings will blow around in even a light breeze though, so think about using ...


9

A lot has been covered already, I'll add the thing I find most of use. Knowledge about flora and geography where you hike. Someone answered "Skills" which is fundament, of course - but they won't help you if you do not know the vegetation types around where you hike. Where I hike (Norway) I know which bushes burn well. I know which roots burn well. I have ...


8

Yes you will need a special kind of rock. The spark is a tiny bit of burning iron struck off the source of iron by a really hard rock. So if you are only using rocks then you will need 1 iron rich rock and one harder rock. Iron Pyrite (fools gold) and quartz would be one combination. Common practice is use steel as the iron source (high carbon knife or ...


8

When building a fire in any weather condition you need some kind of starter. If you are expecting to experience wet conditions a great planning step is to store some starter in a waterproof location. If you don't have any household material, then gathering kindling and storing that will work. When backpacking I keep a small water-proof cylinder with a ...


8

The problem with the rechargeable lighters like Zippos is they tend to evaporate their fuel quite quickly. They can make starting fires very easy, but always take a backup (or two, or three :D) method of starting a fire. They make some excellent waterproof / windproof matches these days. Combine that with a fire steel and your choice of mechanical & fuel ...


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