The Fire Mini Kit fits in a small, waterproof, poly zip bag and contains tools for starting a fire. Keep all the items in a single bag to make them easy to find, transport, and use.
You need four things to start a fire, namely, (1) ignition, (2) tinder, (3) kindling, and (4) main fuel. An ignition source ignites the tinder. The tinder ignites the kindling. Kindling is small pieces of wood or wood shavings that are generally the diameter of a pencil or smaller. The kindling ignites the main fuel that consists of larger pieces of wood. Your fire kit should include fire tinder and there are a variety of ways to create your own fire tinder.
Your kits should include multiple ways to ignite the fire. Those skilled in bush craft can start fires with available materials but for us amateurs it is much safer and easier to have ready made ignition sources. I have three ignition sources in my fire kit:
- Disposable lighter: small, inexpensive, easy-to-use
- Storm Matches: waterproof, almost windproof, burn for up to 15 seconds
- Sparker: lightweight, long-lasting, can be used when wet
- (optional) Fresnel Lens: magnifier, uses sunlight to start a fire
Have multiple ways to start a fire in case some of your starters fail. Fire can be critical to survival and comfort so having backup ignition methods is a sensible precaution. I use Bic lighters and I remove the outside decorative wrapper so that I easily see the fuel level.
My mini fire kit also includes tinder to ignite the kindling. Other items in your pack can aid in starting a fire. Petroleum jelly, Carmex, or insect repellent from your first aid kit can make tinder burn longer. If you have bicycle tire rubber bands then these can be ignited to aid in starting a fire. My kit contains a poly bag with tightly packed dryer lint wrapped with several bicycle tire rubber bands. The rubber bands compress the lint (tinder) and can also be used when starting a fire.
Be sure to have a fire mini kit in each hiking kit, bugout bag, and vehicle kit. Test the matches, lighter, and sparker and replace any items that no longer function.
A Lighter Note
Your lighter can still be useful after it runs out of fuel. If you need to make a fire you use the sparker on the lighter to start a fire. Remove the metal protective cover around the sparker, hold the sparker very close to tinder, and then click the lighter. It will spark even when empty. An empty lighter should be replaced but if you are stuck an empty lighter can still be useful.
Fire Kit Checklist
Poly Zip Bag to store the items
Disposable Lighter with decorative wrapper removed
Storm Matches that stay lit in wind
Sparker used to light fire tinder
Tinder to start the fire (wrap in bicycle tire rubber bands)
Flammable Gel from your first aid kit (Carmex or petroleum jelly)