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Survival

Firestarter

Uploaded on January 21, 2009

I think the best firestart for the money is the six inch long 1/2 inch diameter ferrocerium rod. These can be purchased from various dealers and are one of the best survival kit items you can buy. Smaller versions are the swedish fire steel and the Doan firestarter. The Doan has a small rod attached to a magnesium bar. The only issue I have ever had with the large one is loss. Otherwise it has lasted for years. Wet, dry, cold, hot, summer, winter, you name it, it will work in any environment.

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All Replies
from spuddog wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

I have a "Light my Fire" and use either 0000 steel wool or cotton balls w/ vasaline. Great combinations for all weather.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from sere9501 wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

Cotton balls with vaseline can't be beat for the price and ease of use. I love how you can stuff those things in any container, and a lot of them. Thanks for the comment.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Alex Pernice th... wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

Hell, get a few Bics and ur set!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Alex Pernice th... wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

Hell, get a few Bics and ur set!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Charley wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

FLint and steel. Works wet and takes years to wear down. Combine it with char cloth, punk wood, light tinder and the cotton balls with vaseline and it will work every time.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from sere9501 wrote 5 years 11 weeks ago

Hi Charley, I am really glad to hear about someone using a "primitive" method of firestarting. I love to hear when a good old mountain man method is used. Thanks for the post.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from wally wrote 5 years 11 weeks ago

I use the cotton balls with vaseline. They are stored in a 35mm film canister. I also use knife with a magnesium block.
Sere9501 is also right tried and true works just as good. This will also save packing more freight.
I tried to get to "Cool School" in Fairbanks put on by SERE, but I got a "no go". Great info from all.
Bear Grylls on Discovery Channel's Man vs. Wild ROCKS!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from sere9501 wrote 5 years 11 weeks ago

Hi Wally, Cool School is pretty nice and you get some good info but you can practice everything on your own. I also like Bear Grylls because the guy doesn't pretend to know everything and he does some crazy stuff, stuff I wouldn't do :)

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dwaynez wrote 5 years 11 weeks ago

I agree with Bear Grylls and Les Stroud I believe is his name, he also has a show called survivor man.

There are some great ideas on here, I am gonna give a few of them a try before my next trip.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from sere9501 wrote 5 years 11 weeks ago

Hi Dwayne, if you really want to try something while getting a good workout try the handdrill method of starting a fire. This will really get your cardio going. I started practicing with Mullen stalks and a Cedar fireboard. It is still one of my favorite ways to start a fire. I actually like it more than the bow and drill. Nice to meet you.

Take care and God bless,
Jamie

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from theyounggun wrote 5 years 11 weeks ago

I carry a altoids box filled with dryer lint, Cotton balls, Q-tip heads, Tissue, and whatever else I can find. I tape up the box and when I need it I got a little tinder box. I got a camp-fire going with one match with this combination. Light it with a lighter, match, Flint 'n' steel or whatever you got.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sere9501 wrote 5 years 9 weeks ago

I used to carry a ziploc bag with cotton balls with vaseline, pencil size pieces of pitch wood, also known as fat lighter to the southerners here, and some pitch shavings. It would amount to basically the size of an opening of a paper towel holder. I would take this bag, put it in another gallon ziploc and toss it in my pack. Just remove the bag, light a match to it and instant fire.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Christian Emter wrote 5 years 9 weeks ago

The best fire starter is the stuff I'm making.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamin wrote 5 years 8 weeks ago

I like the Doan and the Swedish steel. I live in the Pacific N W and we have a lot of Cedar, Pine, and Fir. Pitck from Pine and Fir can be lit from the sparhs of the rod. The under bark of Cedar works good as a starter. There are always dry branches under all three of these trees. I find the Doan and Swedish steel a more dependable and longer lasting source of firestarting then Matches, Lighter and Flint & steel.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Christian Emter wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

No just pack a flame thrower. Now your set.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sere9501 wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

Jamin, where are you at. I am right outside of Spokane. Do you know how to find pitch wood? A great natural tinder in any season.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sere9501 wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

I like the flamethrowers...but the forest service looks at you funny when they see you :)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamin wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

I live on the Skykomish river. One can find pich wood in the roots of dead pine and fir trees. Many stumps of trees cut long ago have goog pitch wood, this is because after the tree is cut the roots keep trying to heal the wound to the tree and pitch builds up. When out in the hills of Washington and Oregon and need a fire I look for old stumps and dead conifers because of the pitch.

In western Washington we have a lot of Red Alder, this is one of the woods that burns good green, so once you get a fire going you can keep it going by burning green branches if need be. By burning alder, if you have to cook over the open fire, you don't taint the food with smoke from the fire. Alder emparts a good flavor, that is why it is used to smoke fish and meat.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sere9501 wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

So I am guessing you live right near the Money Creek or Beckler River campgrounds. Beckler River is our favorite camping spot and we do drive the five hours it takes to get there even though it is so far away. We love it. Know of any good spots to pick huckleberries around there?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from S. Gregersen wrote 5 years 6 weeks ago

For a purely primitive firestarter take some paper thin birch bark and wrap it around a thumb-size wad of pine sap. Burns hot and last a while.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 5 years 5 weeks ago

Always good to have some candles on hand.

Hemlock material burns supremely.

Use a knife to shave little hairies off of sticks. Light them.

Amen to Bics and Zippos.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from LIFishFinder wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

Most reliable starter has got to be a good Firesteel sparked into a combo of pencil shavings and dryer lint.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from flcracker wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in my survival pack. Its almost pure alcohol. It can start a fire in a pinch it burns for a while ( I tried it ). Its also great to have after you have gutted an amimal and want to clean up.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Standingbear wrote 5 years 1 week ago

I have everal flint and steel in my kit as well as a lighter, fluid and matches. What I want to say is I had got a email from a friend who is retired from the Army and was the head honcho of the Joint Cheif Of Staff Intellegence and he said a person needs to purchase as many matches and fire startersas you can and fix them inwater proff containers. The reason for this, is if something happens here in the USA, causing us to move backwards and there is no electricity, folks are going to need to make a fire. What better barter material to trade a city person and sadly to say, many country folks who have nver lit a fire or cooked on a wood stove. Anyone else have any info on barter material? Take care and GOD bless.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hunter Savage wrote 4 years 46 weeks ago

along with a flint and steel and a bic. i carry two small (PLASTIC) jars one filled with potassium permanganate and one with glycerin a small amount of potassium permanganate and a few drops glycerin on top of it wait a few seconds and poof fire no striking needed . but be careful with the potassium permanganate it is an oxidizer and and can burn skin or eyes . both can be bought online

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from keen one wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Cooner, KMNO4 and glycerin what are you a chem set? I love it! until the mix becomes combined in my pocket. Kind of like the Zippo itch on steroids!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hunter Savage wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

keen one . you got that right, keep the glycerin in your pocket and the potassium in your pack .and you wont go in to spontaneous combustion lol : )

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckeye wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

I use cotton balls soaked in vasoline. They take a spark easily from a fire steel ans you can fit 5-7 in a film canister.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from AndyH wrote 4 years 39 weeks ago

Bics and fire starter logs you can buy a large box for about 15 bucks at WalMart during the wood burning season,cut into small chunks to your liking. I use them to start my wood stove works better than old news paper. 1 inch square burns about 15 minutes.

Perfect wood for survival fire pine pitch, cedar or pine needles, dry hickory burns nice and hot.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from steve182 wrote 4 years 39 weeks ago

magnesium bar and flint, struck with the back of my hunting knife

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Looking for something that really works and I mean really works even after being stored wet for a long long time! Well by ‘golly get’ya a small jar of good old fashion Vaseline from and a magnesium fire starter stick from your local Wal-Mart. So simple of an operation a caveman can do it. Take a 2x2 inch piece of cloth and saturate it with Vaseline and scrape a little magnesium on it and hit it with the flint side and now you have instant fire 6 to 10 minutes of flame, now compare that with any other lighter and remember you haven’t really used your fire starting resources at all. I still got the same Vaseline jar in my back pack some 10 years ago and still work as good as the day I put it in.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from JoshuaMiller wrote 4 years 30 weeks ago

Back in the scouts the envy of camp was the "Hot Spark."
http://www.scoutstuff.org/BSASupply/ItemDetail.aspx?ctlg=05NDC&ctgy=PROD...

Basically a steel and flint set, but it's not flint. It's some alloy. Regardless, we'd put a keyring through the holes on each and throw them on our carabiners. And then there was always a film canister full of dryer lint.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sourdough Dave wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Anytime I leave the trail head I have one of those fire steels along with its striker and an aluminum waterproof pill vile full of cotton balls smeared with petrolleum jelly on a thong around my neck. A similar kit has a permanent place in my day pack. Nothing I have found is as dependable and foolproof.

As for Bear Gryllis and Les Stroud, the latter is a mentor while the former is a moron. Les Stroud has a wealth of valuable information and experience. Bear Gryllis is a showman that is willing to say and do stupid things for entertainment that could very get you killed if you follow his lessons.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Reply

from sere9501 wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

Cotton balls with vaseline can't be beat for the price and ease of use. I love how you can stuff those things in any container, and a lot of them. Thanks for the comment.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from spuddog wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

I have a "Light my Fire" and use either 0000 steel wool or cotton balls w/ vasaline. Great combinations for all weather.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Alex Pernice th... wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

Hell, get a few Bics and ur set!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from wally wrote 5 years 11 weeks ago

I use the cotton balls with vaseline. They are stored in a 35mm film canister. I also use knife with a magnesium block.
Sere9501 is also right tried and true works just as good. This will also save packing more freight.
I tried to get to "Cool School" in Fairbanks put on by SERE, but I got a "no go". Great info from all.
Bear Grylls on Discovery Channel's Man vs. Wild ROCKS!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from flcracker wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in my survival pack. Its almost pure alcohol. It can start a fire in a pinch it burns for a while ( I tried it ). Its also great to have after you have gutted an amimal and want to clean up.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckeye wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

I use cotton balls soaked in vasoline. They take a spark easily from a fire steel ans you can fit 5-7 in a film canister.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Alex Pernice th... wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

Hell, get a few Bics and ur set!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Charley wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

FLint and steel. Works wet and takes years to wear down. Combine it with char cloth, punk wood, light tinder and the cotton balls with vaseline and it will work every time.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from sere9501 wrote 5 years 11 weeks ago

Hi Charley, I am really glad to hear about someone using a "primitive" method of firestarting. I love to hear when a good old mountain man method is used. Thanks for the post.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from sere9501 wrote 5 years 11 weeks ago

Hi Wally, Cool School is pretty nice and you get some good info but you can practice everything on your own. I also like Bear Grylls because the guy doesn't pretend to know everything and he does some crazy stuff, stuff I wouldn't do :)

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dwaynez wrote 5 years 11 weeks ago

I agree with Bear Grylls and Les Stroud I believe is his name, he also has a show called survivor man.

There are some great ideas on here, I am gonna give a few of them a try before my next trip.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hunter Savage wrote 4 years 46 weeks ago

along with a flint and steel and a bic. i carry two small (PLASTIC) jars one filled with potassium permanganate and one with glycerin a small amount of potassium permanganate and a few drops glycerin on top of it wait a few seconds and poof fire no striking needed . but be careful with the potassium permanganate it is an oxidizer and and can burn skin or eyes . both can be bought online

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Looking for something that really works and I mean really works even after being stored wet for a long long time! Well by ‘golly get’ya a small jar of good old fashion Vaseline from and a magnesium fire starter stick from your local Wal-Mart. So simple of an operation a caveman can do it. Take a 2x2 inch piece of cloth and saturate it with Vaseline and scrape a little magnesium on it and hit it with the flint side and now you have instant fire 6 to 10 minutes of flame, now compare that with any other lighter and remember you haven’t really used your fire starting resources at all. I still got the same Vaseline jar in my back pack some 10 years ago and still work as good as the day I put it in.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from JoshuaMiller wrote 4 years 30 weeks ago

Back in the scouts the envy of camp was the "Hot Spark."
http://www.scoutstuff.org/BSASupply/ItemDetail.aspx?ctlg=05NDC&ctgy=PROD...

Basically a steel and flint set, but it's not flint. It's some alloy. Regardless, we'd put a keyring through the holes on each and throw them on our carabiners. And then there was always a film canister full of dryer lint.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sourdough Dave wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Anytime I leave the trail head I have one of those fire steels along with its striker and an aluminum waterproof pill vile full of cotton balls smeared with petrolleum jelly on a thong around my neck. A similar kit has a permanent place in my day pack. Nothing I have found is as dependable and foolproof.

As for Bear Gryllis and Les Stroud, the latter is a mentor while the former is a moron. Les Stroud has a wealth of valuable information and experience. Bear Gryllis is a showman that is willing to say and do stupid things for entertainment that could very get you killed if you follow his lessons.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from sere9501 wrote 5 years 11 weeks ago

Hi Dwayne, if you really want to try something while getting a good workout try the handdrill method of starting a fire. This will really get your cardio going. I started practicing with Mullen stalks and a Cedar fireboard. It is still one of my favorite ways to start a fire. I actually like it more than the bow and drill. Nice to meet you.

Take care and God bless,
Jamie

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from theyounggun wrote 5 years 11 weeks ago

I carry a altoids box filled with dryer lint, Cotton balls, Q-tip heads, Tissue, and whatever else I can find. I tape up the box and when I need it I got a little tinder box. I got a camp-fire going with one match with this combination. Light it with a lighter, match, Flint 'n' steel or whatever you got.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sere9501 wrote 5 years 9 weeks ago

I used to carry a ziploc bag with cotton balls with vaseline, pencil size pieces of pitch wood, also known as fat lighter to the southerners here, and some pitch shavings. It would amount to basically the size of an opening of a paper towel holder. I would take this bag, put it in another gallon ziploc and toss it in my pack. Just remove the bag, light a match to it and instant fire.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Christian Emter wrote 5 years 9 weeks ago

The best fire starter is the stuff I'm making.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamin wrote 5 years 8 weeks ago

I like the Doan and the Swedish steel. I live in the Pacific N W and we have a lot of Cedar, Pine, and Fir. Pitck from Pine and Fir can be lit from the sparhs of the rod. The under bark of Cedar works good as a starter. There are always dry branches under all three of these trees. I find the Doan and Swedish steel a more dependable and longer lasting source of firestarting then Matches, Lighter and Flint & steel.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Christian Emter wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

No just pack a flame thrower. Now your set.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sere9501 wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

Jamin, where are you at. I am right outside of Spokane. Do you know how to find pitch wood? A great natural tinder in any season.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sere9501 wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

I like the flamethrowers...but the forest service looks at you funny when they see you :)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamin wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

I live on the Skykomish river. One can find pich wood in the roots of dead pine and fir trees. Many stumps of trees cut long ago have goog pitch wood, this is because after the tree is cut the roots keep trying to heal the wound to the tree and pitch builds up. When out in the hills of Washington and Oregon and need a fire I look for old stumps and dead conifers because of the pitch.

In western Washington we have a lot of Red Alder, this is one of the woods that burns good green, so once you get a fire going you can keep it going by burning green branches if need be. By burning alder, if you have to cook over the open fire, you don't taint the food with smoke from the fire. Alder emparts a good flavor, that is why it is used to smoke fish and meat.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sere9501 wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

So I am guessing you live right near the Money Creek or Beckler River campgrounds. Beckler River is our favorite camping spot and we do drive the five hours it takes to get there even though it is so far away. We love it. Know of any good spots to pick huckleberries around there?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from S. Gregersen wrote 5 years 6 weeks ago

For a purely primitive firestarter take some paper thin birch bark and wrap it around a thumb-size wad of pine sap. Burns hot and last a while.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 5 years 5 weeks ago

Always good to have some candles on hand.

Hemlock material burns supremely.

Use a knife to shave little hairies off of sticks. Light them.

Amen to Bics and Zippos.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from LIFishFinder wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

Most reliable starter has got to be a good Firesteel sparked into a combo of pencil shavings and dryer lint.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Standingbear wrote 5 years 1 week ago

I have everal flint and steel in my kit as well as a lighter, fluid and matches. What I want to say is I had got a email from a friend who is retired from the Army and was the head honcho of the Joint Cheif Of Staff Intellegence and he said a person needs to purchase as many matches and fire startersas you can and fix them inwater proff containers. The reason for this, is if something happens here in the USA, causing us to move backwards and there is no electricity, folks are going to need to make a fire. What better barter material to trade a city person and sadly to say, many country folks who have nver lit a fire or cooked on a wood stove. Anyone else have any info on barter material? Take care and GOD bless.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from keen one wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Cooner, KMNO4 and glycerin what are you a chem set? I love it! until the mix becomes combined in my pocket. Kind of like the Zippo itch on steroids!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hunter Savage wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

keen one . you got that right, keep the glycerin in your pocket and the potassium in your pack .and you wont go in to spontaneous combustion lol : )

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from AndyH wrote 4 years 39 weeks ago

Bics and fire starter logs you can buy a large box for about 15 bucks at WalMart during the wood burning season,cut into small chunks to your liking. I use them to start my wood stove works better than old news paper. 1 inch square burns about 15 minutes.

Perfect wood for survival fire pine pitch, cedar or pine needles, dry hickory burns nice and hot.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from steve182 wrote 4 years 39 weeks ago

magnesium bar and flint, struck with the back of my hunting knife

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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