Starting a fire to provide for your needs must be the greatest thing ever when it comes to bushcraft.
Who does not like to get a fire going? Fire gives you so much joy, a sense of comfort and belonging. Not counting that it warms you up when you are cold, cooks your food when you’re hungry, will purify your water so you can stay safe and keep hydrated. It will also produce a light so you can see and provides a sense of security.
FIRE is certainly a MUST for comfort if you are going to spend some quality time in the woods. But this little blog is about ways of starting one or firestarting methods.
So let’s see!! LIGHTERS and MATCHES are great to start your fire. Sometimes certain people will tell you that using a lighter or a match is cheating!! Ok! Cheating what? Getting a fire going is not a competition or part of any law that you must follow. It does not matter how you get a fire going as long as you get it going. If we go back two hundred years ago and let’s say they would have had lighters or matches; believe me they would have used them.
I carry a lighter with me pretty much all the time just because it’s convenient. Now don’t get me wrong, you must practice and develop the other skills of the other methods because it’s important. We will talk about that a little later. Let’s continue!
The famous FIRESTEEL (ferrocerium rod) is just an awesome tool. Not only is it fun to use but is very effective in all kinds of weather. We all know about them. If you don’t, do not worry I will post a video right here: Proper Way of Using Firesteel
Methods which use our natural wonders like; the SUN; MAGNIFYING GLASS; or even when ICE is properly shaped can also be used to magnify the heat of the sun.
Let’s talk a little more about traditional ways of starting a fire. The FLINT & STEEL which is the older version of the the firesteel. Really fun to do. Nothing like blowing an ember into flames. Quite rewarding.
Now! A more difficult way is just using STICKS. The bow drill or hand drill are two very popular methods that were used more in a primitive fashion but very important to be able to accomplish even today.
There are other different ways like using a battery with wool; mixing potassium with glycerin; and others. I know these methods could be useful if you have all the right ingredients. I want to concentrate on the more obvious ways.
One last important thing I want to mention. Of all the methods above, which is the most important to know? My answer to that question is ALL of them. You never know when you are going to need the right skill with the right method to get a fire going.
The hand drill, believe it or not should be a priority. The other methods are absolutely important to know as well. Let me explain why the hand drill should be the most important.
When you think of lighters and matches; they are good ways but sometimes they work; other times… NOT; depending on temperature and other issues. Also if the stores stop selling them for some reason what are you going to do? The same goes for your magnifying glass and producing ice does not work well in the summertime.
The Firesteel is such a great tool and will last a long time. But for the same reason as the lighter and matches; once it’s gone, it’s gone. Unless you have the SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE, RIGHT TOOLS and MATERIALS; you will not be able to produce them.
The traditional flint and steel– now that’s a good one. All you need is the steel. As long as you find the right rock (flint, quartz and others) and are able to char the right material for your next fire, you’re all set. Nature and knowledge will provide a fire each time you need it.
The only problem is the steel. It will take a very, very long time before it wears out, like a lifetime. But what if you lose your steel and/or your knife…what then? More than likely it would not happen but the window of losing them, even though is small… is still there. Anyway…be patient with me I am trying to prove a point.
Ah!! The bow drill, now you’re talking. One little problem with the bow drill is that it uses an essential man made material, CORDAGE!! I know cordage can be made out in the wilderness, you can also use the right roots and if you are lucky enough to hunt down an animal and have the knowledge of figuring out what is sinew and where it can be found on the animal, process it so it’s strong enough to be used. Well you will be fine my friend.
Some truth here!! Cordage and roots can be done but most of the time; they are not strong enough to endure. It becomes a great battle and struggle each time you start a fire. The sinew would be the strongest but most of us do not have the necessary knowledge to provide for some. It’s not like a deer will fall off the tree.
The hand drill, if you are skilled with the hand drill; nothing will ever stop you from successfully starting a fire! Unless you get stopped by Bigfoot or something!!
Why is the hand drill the most important fire starting method? It’s because it will never require any man made materials and the materials that you need can be found in the wilderness with unlimited supplies.
Wow!! This was a long one……Ok now I need to get this hand drill skill on the go because I am pretty lame at it!
Go out and make a goal to become a master of all of them (I have certainly not achieved that yet but it is my goal as well). Also be sure to enjoy yourself as you develop the most important skill when it comes to your own comfort while spending time in the forest.