7 Fire Kit Survival Essentials That You Should Carry

7 Fire Kit Survival Essentials That You Should Carry

A fire starter kit is a MUST for anyone who enjoys hiking or snowmobiling a new trail, camping in the backcountry, or just enjoying the serenity of the outdoors. Far too many go into the woods unprepared or lack the knowledge of proper gear usage. Let me ask you – are you prepared for the possibility of an unexpected circumstance? One way to ensure preparedness for the unexpected is to carry a fire kit. So, let’s dive into what those 7 fire kit survival essentials are.

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What is in a Fire Kit?

In a fire kit are items that will help you start a fire no matter the circumstance. A lighter alone will not suffice in the wilderness. Think in terms of weather and your emotional and physical condition. With cold hands, would you be able to light a fire? How about rain? What if your lighter runs out of fuel? Basically, your fire kit includes items that are a backup to a backup, ensuring the ability to light a fire no matter what. You must carry a fire starter kit for survival.

Here is a list of required fire-starting items for your emergency fire kit:

  • Lighter
  • Waterproof matches
  • A fire striker (flint & steel or Ferro rod or mag bar)
  • Magnifying glass
  • Tinder
  • Emergency candles (at least 2, min. 9-hour burning candles)
  • Stainless steel straw

1. Lighters

Bic Lighters Wrapped in Duct Tape
Bic Lighters Wrapped in Duct Tape

First off is the lighter. No fire emergency kit should be without one. A Bic lighter is a reliable and cost-effective choice for outdoor enthusiasts looking to add a dependable fire source to their fire survival kit. It requires no maintenance, rarely leaks and can light up to 3,000 times.

However, the Bic lighter does get a bad rap, but it is disinformation. To offset its failure during cold weather, merely carry it in an inside pocket to keep it warm. Also, if it becomes waterlogged, it will fail. While this is true, it is a simple fix by blowing on it vigorously for a minute or two.

For those who prefer refillable lighters, be aware that they can be inconvenient for long-term storage and may require specific fuel types. If you decide on a refillable, a recommended lighter for your fire-starting kit is the Maratac Anodized Peanut XL. Constructed of aerospace-grade aluminum, it comes with readily replaceable flints and o-rings.

Finally, electronic cigarette lighters (EDC) are convenient but not the best choice for a survival fire kit. As with any battery-operated device, the charge level can drop over time. Such is the case with any technology; less is often better when dealing with survival gear. Less technology means fewer things to go wrong.

RELATED: How To Make Fire in the Snow

2. Matches

Fire Kit Survival Matches
UCO Stormproof Matches

The second most important addition to your fire preparedness kit is matches. And no, not just any match will do. There are a ton of matches on the market, but not all are suitable for your survival fire kit. For example, take your standard everyday matchstick. Not only are they short and burn quickly, but they also do not withstand the elements. 

Ideally, look for longer matches, which enable you to dive deeper into your tinder pile. Our best-recommended fire starter match would be the UCO Stormproof Match Kit. Not only are they longer-lasting than the average match, but they are also incredibly weatherproof. Heavy winds, rain, and snow will not stop these matches from igniting. Even if they get submerged in water, they will relight with ease. For only a few dollars more, the UCO Stormproof Match Kit includes a waterproof case to keep your matches safe and dry. These matches eliminate the frustration of a simple match, leaving you to utilize your fire quickly, which is the point when you’re in a survival situation.

RELATED: How to Build a Campfire: The Basics of Fire Building

3. Fire Strikers

Collection of Fire Kit Strikers
A Collection of Fire Strikers: Ferro Rod, Flint and Steel, Magnesium Block

The third item to add to your fire kit is a fire striker. Yes, I know, we already have matches and a lighter, so why in the world do we need to add a fire striker? Simple. To increase your odds of success!

When it comes down to a survival situation or an emergency, Murphy’s Law will dictate that things will probably not work out in your favour. If the lighter and matches fail to get a fire going, a fire striker is your next best alternative. There are three types of fire strikers to choose from: flint & steel, Ferro rod, or magnesium block. Let’s break each one down for you.

Option #1: Flint and Steel

Starting with flint and steel – to use flint and steel, you need to strike a piece of flint against a steel striker. In turn, it produces a little, dull spark, consequently necessitating using more flammable tinder such as char cloth or cattails. True flint and steel can take a fair amount of technique to use well and is more of an ancient fire-starting method.

Option #2: Ferrocerium Rod

Ferro rods are space-age and produce very hot sparks in the thousands of degrees. However, these rods are not an instant flame product. The metals they are constructed from determine how easily these rods can scrape. 

Some Ferro rods may be soft or hard. In a softer rod, more of the material gets scraped, which leads to a substantial spark – at the expense of the rod wearing faster. However, Ferro rods typically provide thousands of strikes regardless of their construction.

Since dealing with sparks versus flame, you should use a genuinely dry and finely processed tinder, which we will cover below. Make sure you practice how to use a Ferro rod, as it does require some skill! 

Option #3: Magnesium Bar

Another option worth considering is Magnesium blocks, a.k.a. mag bars. A striker is required to scrape off the magnesium from the mag bar. You could also use the spine of your knife if it has a 90-degree edge, such as the Morakniv Garberg

Once you have enough shavings, place them on top of or in your tinder bundle. Please note that these shavings burn violently and are extremely hot! Do not forget that a separate ignition source is required to ignite the magnesium shavings. In this case, you can use your Ferro rod or the mini Ferro rod if it comes with your mag bar. A perfect example of that is the Fire Fast Trekker

In case you are wondering, why not use a Ferro rod instead? A magnesium bar is much easier to learn and will significantly aid in getting a tinder bundle into flames. 

When building your emergency fire kit, there are many options of fire strikers to choose for yourself, with some requiring more prep or skill than others. In my fire-making kit, you will find that I rely on a Ferro rod for reliable sparking.

RELATED: Backpack Survival Gear: Secrets of the Ultimate Bug Out Bag!

4. Magnifying Glass

The magnifying glass is another phenomenal addition to your survival fire kit. It is a versatile item that can aid you through various situations! A quality magnifying glass is durable and scratch-resistant. It also never needs to be plugged in and never runs out of fuel or strikes. Plus, they can be utilized anytime the sun is out – an indispensable tool for lighting campfires, reading small print, and even clarifying distant objects. And if you ever find yourself without prescription glasses, this is a great backup option. A definite addition for every fire kit, but be sure to test it first, as not all lenses are designed equal!

5. Tinder

Fire Kit Tinder Examples
Common Examples of Tinder

The fifth fire kit essential on our list is tinder. It is a critical component of outdoor fires. These materials are easily combustible and burn hot quickly. All you need is a spark or source of flame to get the fire going, and your tinder will act as the ignition for the next phase, kindling.

Remember that tinder is your first step to a good fire. Next time you are camping, hunting, or exploring the wild, be on the lookout for natural tinder items to add to your fire tinder kit, such as:

  • Cattail fluff
  • Birch bark
  • Dried animal poo (not recommended for your kit)
  • Dry grass
  • Leaves
  • Dandelion head (clock)
  • Dry pine needles
  • Tinder fungus
  • Punk wood
  • Poplar cotton
  • Vaseline laden cotton ball
  • Duct tape*
  • Char cloth

*Note: Wrap your lighter with duct tape. It is an excellent source to start a fire in a pinch, not to mention aiding in other tasks, such as patching and emergency medical needs. You will be thankful you have it!

As you come across these materials, keep some in a dry sac as part of your emergency fire kit. There is also the option of purchasing commercially available products such as Flamers Firelighters. Couple this with vaseline-soaked cotton balls, and you now have a powerful source of tinder.

6. Emergency Candles

Emergency Candles
Emergency Candles

Another essential fire-making item for your kit is candles. They stay lit for extended periods, conserving fuel and resources. The candle acts as a flame extender and is incredibly useful for igniting subpar or partially wet tinder. A good example and what we use is the UCO 9-plus hour candle

Candles also have other valuable uses in an emergency. You can place a candle in a tight makeshift shelter or emergency blanket, and the candle will assist in warming you up. It is also a source of light. Candles may be small, but they provide countless benefits – making them an ideal addition to any fire kit pouch.

7. Stainless Steel Straw

Stainless Steel Straw for Your Emergency Fire Kit
Stainless Steel Straw

Lastly, and probably the most overlooked item, is a stainless steel straw. Not only can it be used as a versatile tool, but it also doubles as a bellow, supplying oxygen and aiding in the ignition of a fire. An invaluable addition to any adventure-goers or survivalists’ kit!

Where to Buy a Fire Starter Kit?

If you’re not keen on a diy fire kit, there are premade fire kits that you can purchase. You will find fire starter kits that are basic to ones that have pretty much everything you need and then some. The SOL Fire Lite Kit is what I consider a basic kit. It comes with a dry bag, a 10′ utility tinder cord and a micro sparker & tinder. This kit will do for someone who wants something in their pack for peace of mind. I recommend adding at least extra tinder, lighter and waterproof matches, just in case the provided striker fails.

On the other spectrum, something like the TACAMO 15-piece Emergency Fire Kit includes everything you need to survive an emergency. In this kit, you will find a waxed canvas bag, a stainless steel mess kit, a bellow, a large Ferro rod, charcloth, striker, magnifying glass, survivor cord, fatwood shavings & blocks, and waxed jute. Some items in this kit have a dual purpose. For example, use the stainless steel container to boil water in an emergency or as a mess kit. Larger kits have greater versatility, and if you’re an avid adventurer, something like the TACAMO has greater use than the basic SOL fit kit.

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Concluding the 7 Fire Kit Survival Essentials

Whether you need to heat food or get a signal fire going, your ability to survive seriously depends on having the correct items in your fire starter kit. Not only is it important to have these 7 fire kit survival essentials, but knowing how to use them correctly is equally important. Make sure you take the time to practice using a fire striker, as it does take time to master.

7 Fire Kit Survival Essentials That You Should Carry Infographic

Do not wait until an emergency occurs! Start gathering all of your fire kit survival essentials today! Put one in your pack, your home and your car! Carrying a fire kit in your backpack will increase your confidence tenfold.

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7 Fire Kit Survival Essentials That You Should Carry
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Katherine Widziak
Katherine Widziak

Fuelled by the boundless energy of my two adventurous children, my diverse repertoire extends beyond the realms of an ordinary mother. As a seasoned graphic designer, master of social media content, and savvy marketing strategist, I've sculpted my own entrepreneurial journey. My passion for the great outdoors defines me - from igniting fires to setting up camps, my skills are diverse and practical. Skilled in ATV riding, possessing sharpshooting accuracy, and a knack for out-fishing just about any man - even my husband, though that's our little secret.

When not working away at something creative, you'll find me enjoying the outdoors in one form or another. Hopefully, I can inspire many women and men alike to pursue their outdoor goals and embark on new adventures.

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