When you are attempting to build a primitive fire without fire assistance products, you can face conditions that might make it impossible to get it started. If it is especially wet or cold outside, getting a flame can be difficult.
Fire Assistance Products | Building A Fire With Ease
In addition, certain types of ignition devices require a specific type of tinder that can be difficult to find in the wild. With different fire assistance products, you can give yourself an additional edge to help build a successful fire. Some of these products can be made at home and brought with you, while others can be purchased.
One of the most common fire assistance products you can bring is char cloth. While available for purchase, most people make it themselves. This product consists of small squares of cloth that will catch a spark and smolder for several seconds. It will also take the heat of a fire lens. Lenses can sometimes be difficult to use because they require tinder that is very fine and dry.
To make char cloth, first cut up an old piece of cotton cloth. I usually use an old t-shirt. You want the squares to fit inside of a mint tin, so they should be no larger than two inches by two inches. Punch a small hole in the mint tin. It should only be large enough to let a little air into the tin. This hole will allow the impurities to escape as they burn off. Fill the tin with cloth and throw it in the fire for about 20 minutes or until it stops smoking. The cloth inside should now be ready to use for making fire.
Greased Cotton Balls
This is one of the easiest but messiest fire assistance products to bring with you in the wild. I personally bring the ingredients separately and make the product as I need it in the wild, but most people make them in advance. All you need are standard cotton balls and petroleum jelly. You just need to dip the cotton ball into the petroleum jelly and then work it into the fibers. I like to fluff mine up a little bit before lighting it to give it more surface area. It will take a spark and give you about a one-inch flame for roughly a minute. It normally works well in wet or windy conditions. You can makeshift a similar product with any fibrous material and any waxy additive. You can break up fibers from your clothing and add lip balm or candle wax for a similar effect.
Other DIY Options
There are two other options I have seen that work well in the wild. You can stuff a toilet paper roll with dryer lint for some good dry tinder. You can also bring a small manual pencil sharpener with you. This little tool is ideal to shave up small sticks into thin strips of wood that should take a spark well. This often works even with wet sticks as the interior wood is typically dry.
Products for Purchase
There are two primary fire assistance products that I like to take with me in the wild. Wetfire is a small, wax-based cube that works well in wet and windy conditions. You simply shave off a small pile of shavings, and then only one spark should get you a small flame. Add the rest of the cube to the fire to keep it burning for several minutes. This is one of the best options for difficult weather. Be sure to get the ones in individually wrapped packages as the others can expire over time.
The other option I like is called Fire Stix. It will not take a spark but is handy if you have a small flame. Fire Stix are windproof and waterproof. Once lit, one of these sticks will stay lit for 20 minutes or more. This often allows me to skip over small tinder and move straight to larger kindling. In heavy rain, this can save your life.
Taras Kul shows a video of the Crazy Russian Hacker testing a fire assist product:
Are there other fire assistance products you would like to add? Please let us know in the comments section below.