Seven Cheap Ignition and Tinder Options For Fire Building
There are all kinds of creative ways to start a fire in an emergency situation. However, a little planning and preparation can save you from the stress of trying to conjure fire building sparks from a battery and a gum wrapper while shivering.
The majority of ignition systems are either based on making flames or sparks. There are other options, such as combining chemicals, but this is less common. Your plan should involve having two or three different ignition systems to cover most any realistic emergency scenario. My go-to option is the common Bic lighter. They are compact, lightweight, only cost about a buck each and still work after being forgotten in the bottom of your bag for months.
A Zippo lighter or waterproof matches in a container make a good backup, especially if you keep extra fuel and flints for the Zippo handy. One of the many different ferro rod models such as the popular Gerber ferro rod or a generic two pack are the most commonly seen spark based backup and a good “just in case things realllly go bad” option. Magnesium bars are a classic, but sometimes hard to work with choice. The other end of the spectrum would be the BlastMatch which is designed to function one handed.
Tinder’s job is simple, just catch on fire easily and burn hot long enough to get things going. Bringing along some of your own is a good way to help make sure that the fire will start up the first time. There is no shortage of store-bought fire starters such as the UST Wetfire on the market. However, fatwood, which can be found for free with a little effort, works just as well.
Items from around the house, such as dryer lint or steel wool can be pressed into fire building service when needed. Cotton balls dipped in melted paraffin are an easy home-made option, as are waxed cotton makeup removal pads. My favorite with kids is “beaver poop” which is just a chunk of wood shaving based fire log stored in a Ziploc bag. I guarantee that they will ask you “What’s in the bag?” Be ready with your tall tale.
Ignition and tinder are really just the first two steps to easily building a reliable fire. They can be covered fairly well with some rummaging around the house or a quick trip to the store. After everyone’s survival kits and bugout bags are stocked with these essentials, then you are ready to Learn The Teepee Fire Lay.