Posts Tagged ‘survival fire’
During the recent Do It Yourself World survival weekend we experimented with various fire starting methods and tinder materials. Milkweed fluff was one of the materials we learned to use during the weekend. In a survival situation you will need fire starting skills and the knowledge of materials in your area that can be used to start a fire.
The fluffy silky fibers from a milkweed seed pod make awesome fire starting tinder. The milkweed seed pod forms in late summer and is often found deep into winter. The seed pod contains silky strands attached to a seed. Each seed has a bunch of strands, which catch the wind and act like an umbrella, floating it across the country to find a new resting place for the seed. The fluff from milkweed seed pods catches fire fast and easy, making it one of the best natural fire starting tinder materials you can find.
Milkweed seed pods form on the top of the milkweed plant in fall. These later burst open to reveal the seeds and fluff inside. When the seed pods open and the wind blows, the seeds float on the air. Often, in protected areas, where the wind does not hit the seed pods as strong, the fluff can still be found in large quantities.
As you are walking along through the forest and find a milkweed seed head, simply pull out the fluff from the seed head and add it to your tinder box for later. Milkweed fluff also makes good insulation for winter bedding or clothing in a survival situation.
To start a fire using milkweed fluff, build it as you normally would using milkweed fluff tinder at the bottom. The milkweed fluff catches fire very fast and easy, so the fire should ignite right away. Using good, dry leaves or grass on top of the milkweed fluff ensures that the fire will start right up.
In the photo below you can see the milkweed fluff has caught fire very well. This is less than a second after ignition.
Follow The Survival Weekend for more survival skills.
In a survival situation fire is necessary for heat, light and cooking. If you get stuck in the wilds with now way to build a fire, your chances of survival are greatly reduced. There are many ways to make a fire in a survival situation ranging from rubbing sticks together to survival fire starting kits. I prefer the easy methods.
A magnesium emergency fire starter consists of a block of magnesium with a piece of flint embedded into it and a piece of metal for cutting the magnesium and striking the flint.
Magnesium emergency fire starting kit
To start a fire with the magnesium block is very easy in theory. But, depending on the quality of the magnesium you get, it can be a whole different story in reality. You may have seen nicely formed magnesium shavings in videos and commercials. But the cheap magnesium blocks do not shave off so neatly. Rather, they sort of chip off in tiny little pieces. They still work, but it makes starting a fire a bit harder. Read on and see why.
To make a fire, first get a good sized flat leaf or a piece of hollowed out wood. Then gather up some fine, dry tinder. Break up the tinder onto your leaf or hollow piece of wood. Then use a knife or the piece of metal that came with your kit, to shave off some magnesium shavings onto the tinder. If you have a higher quality magnesium block, this process will be easier. But if you get a cheap Chinese made block of magnesium, then the stuff sort of flakes off in tiny little particles and flies all over the place. This makes it harder to get the shavings onto the tinder properly.
Anyway, you do not need too much magnesium to start a fire. Just a little pile about the size of a penny or a dime in diameter. Push the magnesium into a pile right up against the tinder. Place a little bit of the tinder on the edge of the magnesium pile.
Turn the magnesium block around to the flint side and hold it close to your tinder pile. Using the blade that came with your survival fire starter or the back of a knife blade, strike the flint sharply in a downward motion. Sparks should start to fly off and towards your tinder pile.
Striking the flint to make sparks
When a spark hits the magnesium, it will ignite, which will ignite your tinder. The magnesium catches fire very fast and burns bright and hot.
Igniting the magnesium to start a fire
Quickly place some sticks and twigs on top of the tinder to keep the fire going.
Thats it. See the video demo here:
Some notes about the magnesium fire starter. The flint wears down pretty quickly. It is advisable to get two or three of these magnesium fire starters. Use one for practice and normal camping trips or just for fun. Put away two more of them in your bug out bag or emergency backpack for future use. They are great to use in an emergency, but will wear out eventually.
It is even better to have multiple methods of fire starting in your survival bug out bag. See Emergency Fire Starters for more fire starting ideas. This article shows you how to start a fire with a magnifying glass on a sunny day. It also advises you to keep butane cigarette lighters in your survival back pack as well. If you keep a combination of all three, then you will be sure to have fire for years to come.
The magnesium emergency fire starter works well.
And it sure beats rubbing sticks together!
Here are two survival fire starting methods that require no work or effort and together can provide a lifetime of fires. There are many tools, ideas and techniques out there that claim to help you start a fire. But some of them are too expensive. Some are too fragile. And some are just too much work. If you are ever caught in a survival situation, be sure to take these two items with you.
No rubbing sticks together for me. I will never be sitting around in the cold with blisters on my hands while trying to make a fire.
On a sunny day, use a magnifying glass to start a fire. Even the cheapest dollar store childs toy will start a fire. Simply hold the glass over your tinder and direct it into the sun. Concentrate the focal point on the tinder while gently blowing on the smoking point. Within seconds, you will have a nice roaring fire going.
Keep your magnifying glass in its original case, if it came with one. Or keep it wrapped in a soft cloth or material to prevent scratches. Project it from being broken in your backpack or survival kit. Keep it clean and free of sand and grit when not in use and it will last a lifetime.
A magnifying glass can even work on partly sunny or cloudy days. It depends on the strength of the sun and the magnifying glass and tinder quality.
On rainy days, use a cheap cigarette lighter. Yes, a cigarette lighter for survival. Forget about one time use expensive water proof matches. A single cigarette lighter can light between 2,000 and 3,000 fires before the fluid runs out. That equals about 6 – 9 years of rainy days folks. If you use your one, single cigarette lighter for rainy days only and your magnifying glass for sunny days, you have a lifetime of fire for two bucks. The dollar store often sells cigarette lighters in 6 or 8 packs. That equals multiple lifetimes of fire, if used sparingly.
You often find lighters laying by the roadside or lost along forest trails. I always pick them up. You can repair lighters and keep them going for many years. Often either they run out of fuel, (it takes years), or the flint gets damaged or broken. Sometimes just the wheel comes loose from its mountings. No matter the case, you can usually make a good lighter out of two bad ones.
If a lighter gets wet, simply take the top apart and dry off the flint and the striker. Put it all back together again and it works.
After your lighter runs out of fuel, keep it for fire starting. The flint and striker will still ignite fires. No bruised, bloody knuckles while trying to smash two rocks together in the hope that a spark will fly.
I highly recommend adding these two survival fire starters to your survival kit right away. It may save your life.
Or you can rub sticks together for hours if you get bored.
Watch the video: