Emergency fire starting kit.

This is my emergency fire starting kit. It’s a spare Bic lighter and two Esbit Solid Fuel Tablets in a plastic ziplock baggie. It weighs 1.6 ounces or 47 grams. I’m thinking of trading one of the Esbit tablets in for a tea light. emergency firestarting kit

I have never had to start a fire on the trail, but I have needed an extra lighter when my other one stopped working. Also I figure I could cook dinner on the Esbit tablets if I ran out of fuel or my stove quit working.

When I was hiking the Appalachian Trail in the Shenandoah’s, it had been rainy and cold for days. It wasn’t just vertical rain but this thick wet mist that would roll into my tent and get everything wet.  Supposedly, there was a camp ground with a laundry mat, showers,  and a store off the trail a bit, but it was so foggy that I couldn’t find it. Walking through the campground, I was yelling, “Hello?, Hellooo?? Finally I found the camp store, laundry mat and showers.    After buying food for the next section, I did laundry and took a shower. The laundry mat seemed so cheery with the bare Fluorescent bulb buzzing away.  While I waited for my clothes to dry I dreaded going back out into that wet cold fog.

Another hiker and I camped at the campground by the bathrooms; they were heated and had one of those lovely hand dryers. We had a hard time pulling ourselves away from the hand dryer.

Day after day it rained, and night after night I crawled into that wet tent.

According to the guide book there was a cabin coming up. It was a cabin that thru-hikers were not supposed to camp at, around or even stop at. I decided to check it out. It was a locked up cabin with a covered rock porch with a fireplace. There was another hiker there checking it out. I called to the woman I had been hiking with and told her that I had found accommodations for the night The other hiker decided he was going to build a fire in the outdoor fireplace.

My friend and I gave a half hearted effort to help him gather wood but we were both thinking it was futile; the woods were so wet. He gathered his dry kindling from the lower dead branches on trees. He also shaved the wet bark off some of the wood. I scraped wax from the mantle left from past resident’s candle burning and he used guide book pages for paper. Soon he had a nice fire going. It was so cheery and we were all so happy; never having imagined that this wet cold day would end up like this. We all laid our bags out in front of the fire and laughed and talked while the fire warmed our bodies and spirits.

Other things that you may have can be used as fire starting aids. For example any petroleum products like Neosporin or Chap Stick. If you carry alcohol gel you might want to try that.

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Hermit, long distance hiker, primitive cabin dweller, seeker.

5 thoughts on “Emergency fire starting kit.”

  1. I carry cotton balls coated lightly with Bag Balm (petroleum jelly w/mild antiseptic) and a ferro rod. It will light, and stay lit, in the worst conditions imaginable. I have also taken to carrying a piece of jute cordage I made thane coated it in candle wax. I can light it with my ferro rod by fraying the end up, or I can place a glowing piece of char cloth on it and blow on it until it ignites. I call it my “rope candle”. It burns even in a stiff breeze and it puts off a considerable amount of light.

  2. I use the old flint & steel method with a tinderbox. I like this method because it does not require any modern materials to make fire, and in learning how best to use flint & steel you learn a lot more about primitive fire lighting.
    Then further down the track if you ever have to use a modern method of fire lighting and find yourself without any of the modern materials, you will still know how to make fire even in the pouring rain.
    regards, Le loup.

  3. I agree that fire building using old methods is an important skill to know. It’s just that in over 12,000 trail miles I have never needed to build a fire.

    Only one time in all those miles have I built a fire. It was to burn the sticky bun sacks from the Steiken bakery so a bear wouldn’t smell them.

    Can you really make a fire in the pouring rain? Because every thing I see on fire building says, “First get a bunch of dry sticks.” I think if it’s pouring down rain and you are getting hypothermia probably best to put up your tent, get out of your wet clothes, crawl into your sleeping bag, eat something, drink something, and go to sleep rather than goof around spending energy building a fire.

    If however I lost all my gear, a fire would be nice, but if I lost my gear that would also mean my flint, steel, and tinderbox was gone.

    Wax, petroleum jelly, esbit tablets, what does it mater? Flint and steel, bic lighter what difference does it make?

  4. Myself and a friend finished up in the water in winter whilst trekking the Great Lakes. Our boat got swamped in a sudden storm.
    It was pouring with rain and we were very cold. We swam our boat to shore and whilst I got the fire going my friend got our wet gear out of the boat and stripped the sails to use as a shelter.
    There are some circumstances when it is important to get a fire going, such as in our situation, in extreme cold, when you need the smoke for a survival signal.
    If you can’t make fire in the rain, then you are right. It does not matter what you use, matches, lighter, ferral rod.

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