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Make that fire! Three tips to get fire everytime

If you have ever had the frustration of being on a campout or a survival situation, and you weren’t able to get a fire going, then this is for you.

I learned a long time ago that there is much more to building a proper fire than simply adding heat to fuel in the presence of oxygen. Even though all of those components are necessary, there is also a certain science that has to be followed in order to find an effective fuel. For those of you who have been there, you’ll know that fuel taken from the ground will not be suitable. Here’s why:

Just as heat is attracted to cold, (this is why the ground pulls the heat from your body when you lie on it), wet will go to dry. So whenever you have your fire fuel lying on the ground it is susceptible to getting moisture, especially since the low profile will prevent there being any circulation that could cause evaporation. So, that being said, here are three tips that will give you fire everytime:

  1. Find good tinder. Tinder is the stuff that will burn from a match. My favorite tinder is a bird’s nest. Now that being said, you shouldn’t be shaking baby birds out of their nest in order to build a fire, and you shouldn’t have to. There are plenty of empty abandoned nests out there.
  2. Find a good supply of wood. A good rule of thumb is to gather at least three times what you think you’ll need. I always look for a snarl of wood that has fallen from a tree during a past storm. I generally like to gather firewood that I can break to proper size because trying to cut or saw firewood in a survival situation is a waste of time.
  3. Build a teepee fire. This is an age old design that is tried and true. The concept is to use your smallest fuel, (your tender), as the nucleus, and then build your fire up in size from there.
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Zippo Fire Kit: 2 reasons you can’t live without this kit

Everyone’s familiar with Zippo for their top notch, refillable lighters, but that’s not their only fire making item. Recently I came across a device that Zippo has introduced as a survival item, the Emergency Fire Kit. This comes in a waterproof  tube made of plastic, which makes it light enough to float in water. The kit also comes with five tinder balls that can catch a spark, wet or dry, and burn for five minutes a piece.

This is a great little addition to your survival kit; however it is a bit “gimmicky” if you ordinarily carry a lighter with you as a smoker. Where it isn’t gimmicky and becomes vital however, is for those instances when you need an extra edge to get a fire going. Here are two reasons that you really need one of this in your survival kit.

  1. When it is raining. If you’ve never tried to start a fire in the rain then you don’t know the misery of trying to hunch under a ledge somewhere, trying to stay out of the torrent, while you clasp a scratchy wet birds-nest in the hollow of your armpit trying to get it dry enough to combust from your body heat. This little kit comes with five combustable pellets that are infused with accelerant and fuel.
  2. In the event of a fall in the water during cold weather. If you’ve never soaked your lighter in the cold, you don’t know what fear is. I’ve had to start a fire with a shredded knot of tinder and a piece of flint, striking off of the back of my bowie with shaking fingers and knocking knees before finally catching a spark and gaining a life saving flame. Trust me when I tell you, that experience isn’t nearly as fun as it sounds…
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