One of the (approximately 10) essential pieces of outdoor gear that most outdoor enthusiasts recommend taking with you on all outdoor adventures is a firestarter. Even if you think that you’ll only be outside for a few hours, firestarters don’t weigh much and are compact. Plus, when you need one, you REALLY need one badly so there’s not much excuse to be caught without one.
Fire is easily one of the most fundamental survival issues that there is because it can be used for so many things.
- signal for help
- keep you warm on a cold night
- purify water
- cook food
- repel insects
- you can even use it to process primitive tools – like fire hardening a spear or hollowing out a tree for a canoe.
You have several choices for firestarters
- keep a cigarette lighter with your keys (even though you don’t smoke)
- stick a book of matches in your wallet
- bring a pill bottle with some matches and some cotton balls.
- Get a magnesium bar fire sparker and carry it with you (but you’d better practice with it before you need it)
- get a credit card magnifier to keep in your wallet
- You could even buy or construct a bow drill and carry the necessary parts with you, but again – you’d better practice with it before you need it.
There are several other firestarter possibilities, like steel wool and a battery or various chemical firestarters, but the above are probably the quickest, easiest, and most reliable.
One last, but super-important point. It probably should go without saying but it doesn’t – don’t be an idiot with fire.