WILDERNESS SURVIVAL: My Wilderness Firestarting Kit

My Complete Fire Starting Kit For Jungle Expeditions – I got it for free with 2 packs of smokes at 7-11

How have I started my fire in the wilderness since I was 12? A Magnesium Fire Tool? … Nope, … Swedish FireSteel? … Nope, Rubbing Two Sticks Together? … Nope, A Bow-Drill? … Nope

I carry a disposable lighter.

Yep, thats my entire fire starting kit.

Sure I know how to make fire from constructing a Bow-Drill, Fire Plough, using a coke can, and even using a rubber filled with water (who the hell carry’s a rubber with them in the mountains anyway?).

But the only way that works 100% of the time with minimal effort (I am a lazy survivalist) is just lighting stuff on fire with my lighter. Sure it doesn’t look as cool as scraping a gigantic wave of sparks from a Swedish FireSteel onto a tinder bundle, but it works.


Also a disposable torch lighter has almost no weight, I know several people that carry an entire pouch full of stuff with them wile camping that is just dedicated to fire starting tools.

Now I am not saying that you shouldn’t learn how to make fire without a lighter or matches, or that you shouldn’t throw a Magnesium Fire Tool in your pack as a backup, I am just saying don’t over-think things.

Cig Lighter + Something That Will Burn + 2 seconds of your time =

FIRE

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~James G
James G is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in his homes in Indonesia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns and writing poorly written articles.

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13 thoughts on “WILDERNESS SURVIVAL: My Wilderness Firestarting Kit”

  1. I am blown away – this is great, esp. the link ‘click here to learn how to start a fire with a lighter’ Love this site!
    Yes, as a non-smoker, I also try to always have a Bic or two near at hand, wherever I am, and a blade of some kind on my person. Fire and cutting implements are two of our most basic tools and requirements.

    BTW – did you know that you can ( if so inclined ) soak a few cotton balls in Purell or Germ-X, the small bottles are less than a buck at the evil big chain stores, keep them in an airtight container ( I use an old Red Bull ‘shot’ plastic bottle) and have a very fast, very high-heat tinder whenever you need it?

    But that tip about carrying a condom next time I’m flying over the Bolivian mountain ranges with my faithful, if cannibalistic, co-pilot Almondo, sure seems worth including in my notebook. I even found a place where you can get once-used condoms for FREE! If you want., I can give you the phone number for the source, some guy named Barney Frank…

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  2. The reason I wrote this article was because a buddy of mine wants to do some hiking and camping with me in Indonesia. We were talking about what he should bring, you know the usual stuff like mosquito netting and a bonnie type hat.

    Anyway he asked me about what we need for fire-starting and if I wanted him to bring his “fire-starting kit”.

    I was like “what do you keep in your fire-starting kit?”

    He ran off a list of like 36 things he has in his 1 pound fire-starting kit

    I was like, “errrrrr… dude no need, I’ll just bring a lighter and maybe a magnesium fire-starting tool cuz it’s pretty wet this time of year.”

    All I got was silence from his end; I think he was shocked that all you need to start a fire in one of the most isolated jungles in the world was a cigarette lighter.

    I have heard about soaking a few cotton balls in Purell or Germ-X and stuffing them in a container before, I have done the same but I used Vaseline. Petroleum jelly is highly flammable (petroleum = oil) and easy to find, even in an old first aid kit that have been laying around awhile have a tube.

    But I still just use a lighter and magnesium fire-starting tool if the area is really damp – but even that’s not really necessary, it just takes all of the steps out of catching wet tinder on fire.

    A question for the English majors out there: is it “Firestarting Kit” or “Fire-starting kit”?

    The condom Fire-starting thing is pretty hard to do, it has to be an extremely clear day and takes forever (at least it did for me). I only did it once so I could say “I can start a fire with a condom”.

    And I think I’ll pass on Barney digits – lol

    ~James G

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  3. Huh. I still prefer to use a firesteel, just because as long as you have something to strike it with and some dry tinder, you will have fire no matter what. Use one often and it’s as easy as a lighter.

    My firestarting kit isn’t a pound, just a steel, a bit of sealed up tinder incase I have no luck finding any or don’t want to look, and yes, a lighter.

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  4. Sure bringing a couple of things for firestarting that can fit in an Altoids can is cool, basically I was just saying not to bring a pound of firestarting crap with you or to over think anything in Wilderness Survival

    Thanks for posting your comment, welcome.

    ~James G

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  5. I carry what I consider a fairly complete wilderness fire kit; A sparker tool of some sort, chemical tinder (my preference is SOLKOA Fast-Fire, although Wet-Fire from Ultimate Survival is good, as is Tinder-Quik from Four Seasons Survival [as included in the Spark-Lite firestarter kit in USAF survival kits].

    Of note, the tinder quick remains viable in kits for over 20 years. I have some nearly 30 year old tabs of it that light ASAP) and… a butane lighter.

    Yes, they leak, yes, they don’t always work in the wind/rain/etc. But, if they work the first time, they just saved you a bunch of work.

    Higher quality jet-flame type lighters, as used for cigars etc. (and I believe the Brunton wilderness lighters are like this as well) are even better than the cheap Scripto’s, although Scripto/Bic/etc. are what I use a lot of for this purpose.

    Have carried a lighter in jeans, chaps or saddle bags when riding, shirt pockets, gear bags, etc. etc. and usually had them work afterwards. I just make a habit of rotating the one in my regular kit fairly often.

    A thought Re: stuffing Purrelle/Germ-X soaked cotton balls in a canister – That stuff evaporates pretty quickly being Alcohol based. Better to carry a well sealed bottle of it and a sealed thing of cotton balls and do the soaking at the time of need. Or, make PJ (petro-jelly) balls which last about forever.

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    1. I actually found this more eninatrtnieg than James Joyce.

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  6. Thanks for your comment M. Atwood, I agree that the jet or torch type lighters are better because you don’t have to worry about the wind, that what I prefer (and is in the pik).

    ~James G

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  7. I actually carry a condom in the mountains. When i did my duty it was for the muzzle or as an emergency water container. Now it’s cause it’s in the same sealed bag as the TP, plus you never know….

    For fitestarting, I carry a Silva butane lighter and usually a waterproof container with matches in my bag, for when I forget the lighter in my other pants.

    Kindling, never had it with me, not planning to start now.

    Re. the Swedish firestick, have had one for 5 yrs, never used it, never brought it. But feels obliged to, now when I know what the damn thing is called.

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  8. Yep, I have heard that guys in the Nam used rubbers to keep the mud out of their muzzles

    My Swedish Firestick also sits in a box, if someone wants to bring a firestarting tool with them into the wilderness you can’t beat a Magnesium Firestarter – you can pull sparks from it and scrape a little Magnesium off that will light anything on fire

    ~James G

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  9. An additional thought that should’ve been said in what I commented above, and I spaced out until today when I grabbed a lighter for something – All my cheap-ass Scripto/Bic/etc.

    lighters have a couple feet of Duct Tape or 90mph tape wrapped around them. It doesn’t add much bulk, they are a perfect surface for doing that on, and it ensures than not only do I always have fire, I always have tape.

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  10. M. Atwood: lighters have a couple feet of Duct Tape or 90mph tape wrapped around them. It doesn’t add much bulk, they are a perfect surface for doing that on, and it ensures than not only do I always have fire, I always have tape.  (Quote This Comment)

    Great idea man!

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  11. Huh. I still prefer to use a firesteel, just because as long as you have something to strike it with and some dry tinder, you will have fire no matter what. Use one often and it’s as easy as a lighter. My firestarting kit isn’t a pound, just a steel, a bit of sealed up tinder incase I have no luck finding any or don’t want to look, and yes, a lighter.  (Quote This Comment)

    the ferro rod strikers are good but, in a jungle environment, the ones i have carried always get some pitting.
    cheap bic lighters or the bamboo fire saw are the best way to go in the jungle. but, it also depends on your skill and level of confidence in yourself.

    tomahawk

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  12. Great idea man!  (Quote This Comment)

    duct tape is the 2nd half of my 1st aid kit, the first part being a bottle of aspirin.

    tomahawk

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