The secret to surviving in comfort is to be prepared. While it is important to know how to make a fire from scratch and in all conditions, being prepared is the smartest thing you can do. In my case being prepared is always having some fire starters in my survival belt. Sure I know how to make a fire with almost nothing, but let me tell you that day in Te Urewera National Park with very little but tree bark to start my fire, the fire starters were great!
Real survival skills are not about being Rambo, they are about being smart, practical and well prepared. It is vital that you take a moment to gather your thoughts and use your resources that you have available to you for the greatest good. Because once they are gone or have been used frivolously you can wind up in big trouble. Always remember if what you are using doesn’t work, stop and think about why it’s not working and then adjust what you are doing.
I have seen this so many times. When inexperienced people try to start a fire and either swamp it with too much material or don’t have enough of the right material to get the fire started and are franticly looking around to add bits which will inevitably ends in failure. Being prepared around fire lighting begins with firstly finding a place to build a fire safely, where it will act as a source of warmth and protection from the cold as well as way to cook food.
Most places will need to be cleared from debris and anything that might catch on fire (you really don’t want to burn more than just the fuel you add to your little, contained campfire. The position of your fire is important too. There is little point in building a fire for heat and then positioning it too far from your shelter. The next step, and one that is often overlooked, is to gather the right material to burn and in the right amounts. Don’t even begin to light your fire until you have this sorted.
This may all seem like pretty basic advice, but then survival is all about the basics. Get the basics right and you’ll come a long way. It is amazing how many people skip the basics and then find themselves in all sorts of trouble.