Monday, February 8, 2010

Make Your Own Fire Starting Kit

Easy to Make Firestarting Kit for your 72 Hour Kit or Personal Backpacking Assembly

Firestarting Kit
One (1) Small Ziploc Bag
Lint collected from your dryer
One (1) Small box of Windproof/Waterproof Matches (or waterproof matches or strike-anywhere matches)
One (1) Magnesium Firestarter
We will also add a gas lighter with a long tip pictured below:
This firestarting kit is fun to make and easy to put together.  What is better than that?  OK.....let's get to building.  The first step is to take a small ziploc bag and add lint from your clothes dryer to it.  Lint starts well with matches and sparks, and by keeping it in a small ziploc bag you will keep the lint dry.  Add some Windproof/Waterproof Matches and a Magnesium Firestarter and you have the basics. 
We also recommend a gas lighter with a long wand for the times you need to get a fire started quickly and easily.  This won't fit in the bag, but it will be in your pack to stay dry.  You can find the matches, magnesium firestarter and lighter at our store. 
We will even show you how the magnesium firestarter works!  This picture gives you a good idea of the sparking action:
Magnesium Sparks

Now that you have your basic kit together, let's go over a basic primer of how to use it.  Before you take anything out of a bag, find some dry grass, pine needles, leaves or other dead, dry plant material for tinder.  Build a small tinder ball.  Then carefully select small, thin twigs.  You can build a tepee on top of or a log cabin around the tinder ball with the twigs.  Now take out a ball of lint and your magnesium firestarter.

Take your green starter tool and scrape off magnesium from the bar using the end of the green starter tool.  (The green starter tool has small teeth at the end.)  Scrape off magnesium onto the lint.  The magnesium shavings will help to start the lint on fire.  If you want larger magnesium shavings, use your pocket knife to shave down the magnesium bar.
Next, place the bag of magnesium with the steel bar on top.  Place the green starter tool firmly on the bar and then slide down hard to create sparks.  Keep sparking until the lint catches fire.  Sometimes this takes me 15 seconds or less.  Sometimes it takes me minutes!  The reason I don't have the lint right on the tinder ball is because when striking hard you can often mess up your tinder and teepee by hitting it!
Once the lint is on fire use a stick or knife to move it over to the tinder.  You now have a fire!

Obviously, the process would be much easier with a match or lighter.  Just place the lint ball on the tinder and light.

CAUTION:  Do not let children use these firstarting materials without adult supervision.  As with most things, I find that if children do this with you and you explain the rules, they won't be tempted to do it again without you.  If you don't let them work with you and you keep your firestarting materials a secret, their natural curiosity takes over!