Fire has long been one of the most important aspects of survival, and preparing to survive. Go and visit survival and preparedness forums and read peoples opinions on what fire starting supplies to have and you will see more opinions than you can keep up with. Char cloth, bow drill, ferro rods, hand drill, magnifying glass, matches, etc.
I have had all kinds of fire starting kits and have come to one conclusion….. Simple is good.
So here we go… Here is my complete fire starting kit… Bic lighters.
Yep, simple and cheap. One pack of Bic lighters can be lit literally hundreds of times. They have no shelf life and a lifetime supply can be stored away by most anyone on any budget. Portable, lightweight and easy to use. Hey – these things are great!
Sure – including a few extra items to assist in getting the fire going would be helpful. My personal favorite is petroleum jelly. This stuff burns fantastic. Spread some on cotton balls or a crumpled up paper towel and sustain the flame from the Bic to get the fire going.
best fire starter I have ever found was a good old fashioned road flare, you want to start wet wood. you want to start a fire in high wind, you ever try to blow out a road flare?
I too have many, many BIC brand lighters in my storage and in my kits, but one thing to remember is propane / butane will not work in sub-zero weather, so you must carry your lighter inside your shirt pocket under your jacket (constant body heat). If you are ever in a true survival situation, one of the very first things to do is to remove your lighter from your kit, or even your pants pocket and put it in your inside shirt pocket, that way it’ll be warm and you can avoid having to rub it between your cold hands. Just speaking from experience.
Thank you, Roarke! As a smoker, I’ve sworn by Bic lighters for years. If they’re cold, hold them in your bare hand, tuck them in your pants pocket or armpit, or use that age-old ladies’ hiding place — a bra! We had a baggie full of mixed lighters that got dropped in the dog’s water bowl. We didn’t realize that the freezer bag leaked, and by the time we checked the lighters, the cheap ones had completely rusted and had to be thrown away. The Bics were fine! I have trouble using firestarters, I can’t grasp making my own charcoal, and I think if you can make char cloth then you can get the whole fire started without that step. I do know how to use a Bic lighter, and I have them stashed everywhere!
Slip ’em i your sock for a few minutes while you’re gathering fodder! LOL
Seems like alot of us think alike! We purchased a case of them at Sam’s Club and on checkout, the cashier said “Oh, I didn’t know we had these at this price! We’re both smokers so this will save us tons of money! We assured her we weren’t smokers but “campers”. Another favorite “side kick” to our Bic’s are a sliver of bicycle innertube, just slip the light inside of it and the innertube will light easily and burn a long time. Wifey’s in charge of the fire starters and has lots of cardboard egg containers saved back, both for starting seeds inside but also for putting cotton balls soaked with petroleum jelly & then dribbled with old candle wax (I put the left over wax’s in the microwave, melt them & pour them over the cotton balls)…as well as saving alot of the cardboard insides of toilet paper, stuffing them with old dryer sheets and keeping them inside a gallon sized baggie.
PS…we also have a 5-gallon bucket full of “strike anywhere” matches that we keep in our pantry. We also keep the smaller, boxed matches in our bathroom…we use those as “deodoraizers” instead of the expensive sprays. Just light ’em, blow them out, and it’s done!
I’ve been saving my dryer lint and TP cores to make my own firestarters. Thanks for the tip on using the microwave to melt the old candlewax to pour, gonna have to try that–didn’t want to lose a pan to melt it! I buy an extra lighter or two each trip to the dollar store, I have a mix of bics and cheapos. I’ve also bought a striker or two along the way. Having camped as long as we have, we got a lot of tricks up the old sleeves!
The cheap Scripto-knockoff lighters are, indeed, total junk, compared to BIC’s. At my local warehouse-store, a 50-pack of BIC’s is $39.95 – a great deal. A 50-pack of the cheapo’s is $4.95. Being a cheap ol’ SOB, if 2 is 1, 1 is none and 3 makes me happy, 400 for the same price makes me high-5 myself :)
At 5 bucks a pop, they make a good “gentle introduction” gift for non-prepper family and friends. “Here. You might need these sometime this winter..”
On an odd note, I carry a ferro-stick and striker on my keychain. That has gotten more friends interested in ‘survival’ than anything else. The piezo strikers on propane grills ALWAYS decide to fail when 20 people are there for a party, and nobody has a long-tube “BBQ” lighter. You shoot some sparks from your keychain, and suddenly everyone asks “hey, where did you get that?” :)
WE2, what kind of “strike-anywhere” did you buy? We tried a couple different kinds and had trouble getting them to even light using the strip on the box. They came from different stores, so I ruled out bad storage. My stash is now considered little more than tinder.
The ones we’ve stocked are Diamond, GreenLight. They’re pretty scarce unless you buy them online. We’ve bought them at expo’s but found them alot cheaper at various Amish/Mennonite stores. We just don’t order much online, prefer to “touch” what we can see & not pay s/h etc.