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Old 01-06-2018, 12:39 AM
Jsharp865 Jsharp865 is offline
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Hello all I'm just curious to how some of you all would build a fire if you was in a survival situation I went up to my land in the mountains this weekend in East Tennessee and try to build a fire with a bow-drill friction fire first time I've ever tried it I usually use a Ferro rod but I tempted the bow drill and it was a lot more complicated than I thought so just curious what you guys do start a fire here's a video of my attempts


https://youtu.be/qFfiMBic9VY
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Old 01-06-2018, 12:51 AM
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Bic lighter, matches, ferro rod or magnesium bar. Wood, tinder (birchbark, old man's beard (moss), grass, etc) and kindling.
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Old 01-06-2018, 12:57 AM
Jsharp865 Jsharp865 is offline
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Thanks foe reply, i always keep a few bic lighters in my bag but try amd practice other ways of starting a fire, 90% of time i use a ferro rod but just recently tried the cross bow amd that was pretty challenging
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Old 01-06-2018, 01:25 AM
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Thanks foe reply, i always keep a few bic lighters in my bag but try amd practice other ways of starting a fire, 90% of time i use a ferro rod but just recently tried the cross bow amd that was pretty challenging
I'm just watching your video now.

It's so weird seeing a frozen pond with no snow!

Anyway, I'm gonna sub your channel. I'll try to give you some advice if I see something.

Keep trying the bow drill, and learn some other methods to start a fire! There are lots.

The fire piston, the one that uses some sort of spindle deal (can't remember what it's called). And more.

Keep the videos going
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Old 01-06-2018, 01:27 AM
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Will do thank you!!!
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Old 01-06-2018, 01:36 AM
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Im 30 years old and honeslty i belive this is the first time, well that ive ever seen it frozen solid enough to stand on..... And no snow at all, we got a few snow flakes yesterday!!! Thats it
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Old 01-06-2018, 01:38 AM
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Im 30 years old and honeslty i belive this is the first time, well that ive ever seen it frozen solid enough to stand on..... And no snow at all, we got a few snow flakes yesterday!!! Thats it
We have about 3 feet of snow, -50c last night.

Never in my 28 years have I seen water frozen outside with no snow!

Your shelter looks pretty good from what I have seen of it so far, once I finish up this video; I'll watch your other ones.

Keep practicing!
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Old 01-06-2018, 03:32 AM
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Hello all I'm just curious to how some of you all would build a fire if you was in a survival situation
Using either Zippo lighter, butane, or waterproof matches to light up hexamine fuel tablet
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Old 01-06-2018, 03:45 AM
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If it's a dire emergency, like someone fell into an icy river and there's no heat without a fire... a self-igniting road flare It'll burn long enough so you can get a big ass fire going and gather enough fuel to keep it going.

Not financially feasible to start a fire this way every day, and they take up precious volume and weight in a pack, but in a dire emergency, they're hard to beat.
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Old 01-06-2018, 10:42 AM
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flint and steel and a wetfire tab. 2 if i need it quick. thursday we got 10" of snow and of course the power went out. out of habit, its the way i lit my fireplace wood. . it never gets wet and wont strike, it never runs out of fuel.
if you use something a lot, it gets easier and faster. ferro rods are my second choice.
use it when you dont have to and its second nature when you do.
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Old 01-06-2018, 10:44 AM
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Bic lighters.
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Old 01-06-2018, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Jsharp865 View Post
Hello all I'm just curious to how some of you all would build a fire if you was in a survival situation I went up to my land in the mountains this weekend in East Tennessee and try to build a fire with a bow-drill friction fire first time I've ever tried it I usually use a Ferro rod but I tempted the bow drill and it was a lot more complicated than I thought so just curious what you guys do start a fire here's a video of my attempts


https://youtu.be/qFfiMBic9VY
No matter the ignition source/method,tinder and kindling prep is everything.

There is no cheating when you need a fire NOW!
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Old 01-06-2018, 01:35 PM
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Every winter jacket I have has a lighter wrapped in saran wrap which is wrapped in paper dipped in wax then wrapped in saran wrap.

The saran wrap is to keep everything dry and to prevent the wax from the paper getting into the lighter and preventing it from working. I figure if I were to fall through the ice and everything on me got wet the lighter and paper should stay dry for at least a few minutes submerged and will allow me to or give me the best chance to light a fire.

I have also been trying to learn how do light a fire with a fire plow. But the best I can do with nice dry wood at home has been lots of smoke. I would like to learn how to do it though and once I get it I will practice doing it from found materials outside, in good weather at first then in worse and worse weather. I feel the fire plow is one of the few ways to light a fire if you have nothing.
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Old 01-06-2018, 04:04 PM
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Lighters fail. I think people who solely rely on them have not practiced outside enough in subzero conditions. Lifeboat matches that burn despite strong winds, rain/snow, cold, etc., are almost a guaranteed way, in addition to reliable highly combustible "tinder". I carry a bit of alcohol fuel and cotton balls. I'd not hope for finding anything in the forest, especially at this time of year, with a solid snow cover and -10F where I am. Yes, I also have a spare ferro rod with magnesium and a lighter in my hiking kit, but those would not be my goto ways in -10F if I needed (heaven forbid) a quick fire after getting my foot wet or something even worse. Bow drill or other primitive from scratch ways in such scenarios... I'd not even address. Ok, if one is walking around in land adjacent to one's house and can just run home if they get a booboo, then I can see how blasé and unrealistic one's attitude might be on this topic. I think we've all seen Youtube "wilderness survivalists" who are "wild living" on their back 40 homestead which is a 5 minute drive from a local Menards and Kroger. You've got a nice backyard where you show us new fire making technique, with an ATV next to you? Good for you. Don't make it seem like long distance backpacking advice b/c that ain't what you do...
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Old 01-06-2018, 05:48 PM
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Since the OP is about emergency and survival fire starting, I will list what I use in true survival situations first. And then include some of my additional thoughts on fire starting in the field afterwards.

When it comes down to last ditch, live-or-die, have to have a fire right now and there is only less than ideal tinder to catch a spark, less than ideal secondary tinder, less than ideal kindling, and less than ideal firewood, with shaking cold fingers, in wet, windy conditions, fire starters. I have two types currently that I use. There is always at least one of them on me. And usually two in bad weather.

One is an Orion Camper's Fire Starter/Signal flare. It is essentially a short road flare. It has a scratch starter built in. Burns very hot, for several minutes, so it will start a fire in very adverse conditions.

Another is a Fire Puck. This is essentially a very short, larger diameter version of a road flare. Scratch starter like the Orion. But as it is flat and burns on top rather than on the end, it can have some advantages in both carry and use.

Either of them will give a person the best chance to get a fire going under truly adverse conditions.

A third option I always have on me in the field is one of my emergency fire kits. These, unlike the Orion’s Camper’s fire starter and the Fire Puck, which need nothing else to get a fire going except burnable items, the emergency fire kits include a spark maker, spark catching tinder, secondary tinder, and ready-made quality kindling.

Since they are for emergency situations that do not call for the last-ditch methods, but when using something that requires time or when conditions are somewhat difficult, I use high reliability spark makers, along with quality, easy to use tinder. Sometimes a kit will include an accelerant and/or a windbreak of some type.

Each of the kits is similar, with the main difference being the spark maker. So, I am going to list just the components, in the various categories. I use many different combinations, but each kit has the same set of categories. Now, often people talk about fire kits, and include in them many of the things I will list.

But they tend to have all of it in one kit. I do not think this is a good idea. I have these much smaller kits all through my gear, with a couple in pretty much every bag, pack, duffle, tote, case, and kits that require fire making as part of their purpose. This way, no matter what happens, I will most likely have at least one kit that can be used to get a fire going in marginal conditions, or when time is important.

(There is some overlap in the items in the various categories.)

Individual fire kit contents by category:

Spark maker (not always a spark, but the initial heat source):
1) Regular Bic lighter
2) Mini Bic lighter
3) Zippo lighter (with refill fuel canisters)
4) Metal Match (with refill fuel canisters)
5) UCO Stormproof Matches
6) UCO Titan Stormproof Matches
7) Lightning Strike ferro-cerrium rod

Initial tinder/spark catcher:
1) Lightning Strike Napalm tinder
2) Fatwood (already shaved down)
3) Life Fire tin
4) Sisal (or jute) cordage
5) Char cloth
6) Vaseline saturated cotton balls (or derivative)

Secondary tinder/time extender tinder:
1) Fatwood (split down to matchstick size)
2) Life Fire Tin
3) Vaseline/wax saturated all-cotton makeup remover pads
4) Solid fuel tabs/bars
5) Gel fuel packets

Readymade quality initial kindling:
1) Fatwood (short pencil size sticks)
2) Gel fuel packets
3) Pencil size dowels
4) Prepared kindling sticks of good firewood

Windbreak:
1) Aluminum foil w/small spikes
2) Aluminum sheet (stiff enough to form into a curve)
3) The container (if suited)
4) Piece of sheet goods (tarp, poncho, plastic sheet, etc.)

Accelerants:
1) Gel fuel packets
2) Vial of lighter fluid
3) Vial of 190 proof Everclear
4) Blowing tube (to add air to the coal or flame)

With just about any combination of one or more item from each category in a fire starting kit, I can make a fire in most conditions, as long as I have local additional kindling, and decent firewood. If the firewood is damp, it takes a great deal more kindling, but can usually be done.

In addition to the kits that might be needed in some type of emergency, I always have my EDC fire starting materials on me. They usually are not in an organized kit, but in various places in my clothing. There are usually three fire starters, but not usually any specific spark catcher or tinder when in urban/suburban environments, as there are things around that can be used.

A Bic lighter and either a Zippo with fuel canisters or an electronic lighter. (The electronic lighter is a viable option for me since I also carry a power pack to recharge my phone, and larger ones when I have the tablet with me, so I can keep the electronic lighter charged.) And I always have a 4x or more powerful Fresnel lens on me.

When in the field the EDC includes not only the three fire starters, but at least one more fire starter, plus tinder options, as well. A Lightning Strike Firestarter (which has a few Lightning Strike Napalm tinder patches in it) is usually the fourth fire starter, with a separate tube of Napalm tinder patches, sisal cordage, and fatwood as the tinder and initial kindling.

Now, as to many of the commonly listed ‘Emergency Fire Starters’ that people recommend, they are, in my mind, more suited as daily use fire starters, and not Emergency fire starters. Because they take well maintained skills to use, tend to be time consuming to use, much less make, are difficult to use in adverse conditions, and require very specific items to make them and/or to use them.

If these various fire starters are used regularly when out in the field, the skills can be honed, the best materials available locally can be found, as well as the natural tinder that is in the area. All of these aspects to using these primitive fire starters make them much less suitable for emergency use than the more modern ones. But knowing how to make them and use them can be important for long term day-to-day use.

These include fire bows, hand spindles, fire plows, fire pistons, flint & steel, plus finding and using natural tinder, and a few of the other primitive, make-it-in-the-field-like-prehistoric-people-did devices.

Yes, all of these were used by ancient peoples, and were all of natural materials. However, not every one of them was used in every area, simply because the materials to make and use them simply were not available in those areas.

And the same goes for modern times. Looking for hours in vain for just the right materials to make a fire bow or find the right fungus or some cattails will wind up killing a person because those particular items just are not where the person is.

So not only can certain techniques only be used in certain areas, finding the materials and making the items during the worst possible conditions when survival is on the line is going to be problematical even in the areas where they do exit.

The primitive people used them. But just as we carry fire making materials with us, so they did as well. They did not make a new fire bow every time they made a move, especially in bad weather. They carefully carried one (or more) with them, along with excellent tinder, a bunch of it, kept dry and protected. Their lives depended on it.

So, the notion of just going out and finding the things to make a 'survival fire starter' is a very dangerous one, in my opinion. And even if found, chances are that creating a successful fire with whatever was made are going to be slim and none. Those things all take practice. A lot of practice, and that is when using excellent tinder.

Knowing that, what I do is save the lighters and matches, along with a few other things, for the emergencies, and start fires with the primitive items on a regular basis so I can use them if needed in some future time when they are all that is available.

I carry good versions with me. And when I get to an area, part of my initial survey of the location is looking for both firewood and materials to make fire starters. And when I do find something that will work, especially tinder, because making a spark is much easier than converting that spark to flame, I gather some up, and every once in a while I will make a primitive fire starter, again to stay in practice.

And doing so gives me extras and spares, gives me the opportunity to show those with me, if any, the techniques, plus I have some to give away or to cache in that particular location. Because I know that making one of them and then making a fire with it, when the rain is pouring, in 35 degree weather, or with three feet of snow on the ground and sub-zero temperatures and high winds blowing, is pretty much too little, too late, and I probably will not make it.

Just my opinion.
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Last edited by Jerry D Young; 01-06-2018 at 08:55 PM.. Reason: Fixed some typos. No content changes.
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Old 01-06-2018, 07:24 PM
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Since the OP is about emergency and survival fire starting, I will list what I use in true survival situations first.
Jerry's posts are awesome as usual, but his first sentence boils it down perfectly.

I do practice primitive fire making skills, mostly fire bow/drill and some old-school flint and steel. The value is really in understanding tinder and fire preparation. However, those specific methods are very far down on my emergency fire-making checklist. If you really need a fire, it's because you're minutes from hypothermia and chances conditions are not ideal (they rarely are when you need a fire quickly). The impacts are exacerbated if you're cold, wet and losing all your fine motor skills along with uncontrollable shivering. Just using a Bic lighter can be difficult and that is just the ignition source.

I've attempted making a fire under "less-than-optimal" conditions with some safety controls in place. Temps were only about 40 degrees with a slight breeze and I "fell" out of my kayak in our lake and swam about 20 feet to the bank and attempted to make a fire. I only had about 15-20 minutes before I was "done". My Bic wasn't operational and I had to use my firesteel. Natural tinder was impossible to find and collect fast enough...which prompted me to consider always having my own tinder with me. It was a very eye-opening test. A bow and fire drill would have been impossible for me to fabricate and use. When you need a fire, you likely need it in minutes.

Being prepared is what makes a serious emergency or survival situation survivable or maybe even just an inconvenience. For that reason, it's important to identify what is truly important and ensure you're plan accordingly and sometimes that includes redundancy. I've applied my old military communications planning to certain aspects of critical gear or skills:

P.A.C.E.
Primary, Alternate, Contingency, and Emergency.

For most non-emergency conditions, my Primary ignition method is a firesteel. It's robust and forces me to always focus on my tinder or accelerant sources.

While I don't backpack with a road flare, it's one of the quickest fire starting methods. However, for me, my "Contingency and Emergency" ignition sources are a Bic lighters and even when cutting grams while backpacking, I routinely have no less than two with me when outdoors.

So, while not a perfect P.A.C.E. when outdoors, mine typically looks like this:

Primary: Firesteel
Alternate: Smaller backup firesteel
Contingency: Bic
Emergency: Bic

Even with those ignition sources, I carry tinder in the pill fob handle of my main firesteel. I wear an HPG Kit Bag (chest harness) and also have a standard load including 8-10 of those waxed Quick-Tinder bundles. If backpacking, I also carry alcohol fuel which can be used as an accelerant.

There's a reason many primitive fire makers often carry their own bow, drill and fireboard. It takes time to find the right materials if starting from scratch. For real survival situations, you want the fastest method to get a fire going quickly, that would be best if it's a flare and a good amount of tinder or accelerant. While no everyone carries a flare, fast ignition is critical and on-hand tinder/accelerant to help get a blaze going in less than ideal conditions.

ROCK6
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Old 01-06-2018, 08:42 PM
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If I was hiking obviously I would have something like this but on a smaller scale, but I would also have a tarp or a pop tent where if I failed to start a fire for what ever reason I could burn the sterno inside or a candle. (add candle to my list)

But great info guys really enjoyed reading love the flare idea, life boat matches ect. In my long winter commutes I have in my car trunk a small free NRA range bag filled with just dry oak Kindling wood and white cedar shingles.
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:07 PM
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Lighters fail. I think people who solely rely on them have not practiced outside enough in subzero conditions. Lifeboat matches that burn despite strong winds, rain/snow, cold, etc., are almost a guaranteed way, in addition to reliable highly combustible "tinder". I carry a bit of alcohol fuel and cotton balls. I'd not hope for finding anything in the forest, especially at this time of year, with a solid snow cover and -10F where I am.
I've never had a bic lighter fail me, until it ran out of fluid. Not even in our -50c winters. Tinder, kindling and firewood are easy to find here even with 3.5 feet or more of snow. Birch bark, pine needles, old man's beard (moss that hangs from trees), etc. Standing dead trees can provide all you need.

Keep your lighter in an inside pocket, it will stay warm enough to light. Your trapped body heat will keep it warm.

But would I rely solely on a lighter? Hell no! As I have mentioned in a previous post; matches (strike anywhere, UCO storm, etc), mag bar and ferry rod.

I carry a couple lighters, each in a separate pocket. You can't beat an instant flame. Use a tea light candle to keep the flame and not waste fluid.
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:14 PM
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I've attempted making a fire under "less-than-optimal" conditions with some safety controls in place. Temps were only about 40 degrees with a slight breeze and I "fell" out of my kayak in our lake and swam about 20 feet to the bank and attempted to make a fire. I only had about 15-20 minutes before I was "done". My Bic wasn't operational and I had to use my firesteel. Natural tinder was impossible to find and collect fast enough...which prompted me to consider always having my own tinder with me. It was a very eye-opening test. A bow and fire drill would have been impossible for me to fabricate and use. When you need a fire, you likely need it in minutes.
ROCK6
Being wet in those conditions is no joke, well done for making the attempt.

I always carry cotton balls dipped in wax, in my lifejacket pocket. The wax prevents the cotton from getting wet, and is a great accelerant. They burn for almost 14 minutes. You will need a knife to cut them open and fluff the cotton. These are my goto solution for the last 6 years, and I think it has failed once....so I grabbed another one and success.


Also, not trying to discredit your other suggestions, because they are also very good advice.
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:57 PM
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If I'm trying to start a fire with a bow and drill, I figure I've already failed on multiple levels. You should never allow yourself to GET to that point, though it's an important skill to know in case something really bizarre happens.

If I need to get a fire started in less than ideal conditions, my choices would be, in no particular order:

1) Soak everything with lighter fluid, throw a match at it.
2) Soak everything with any other flammable liquid, throw a match at it.
3) Use a large quantity of flammable fire starting material to get the works going. This can vary depending on the situation but everything from commercial firestarters to a bag of cheetos will work.
4) Use a backpacking stove to ignite a pile of tinder. Isobutane burns hot.
5) Use magnesium shavings ignite tinder, with other flammable material included.
6) Use tinder bunched up around a tea candle to start a fire.

There's all kinds of ways to get a fire started and what I use depends on the situation. If you're smart you have multiple options with you, including tons of matches and a few lighters.
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