It’s cold, wet and miserable. You’re drenched to the bone. All you really want to do is get warm. Now would be a good time to start a fire, but dry tinder material is scarce.
In such a situation it pays to have an emergency fire starter close at hand. Listed below are five lightweight and reliable options:
1. Vaseline Coated Cotton Balls – A long-time favourite. Store in a tiny Ziploc bag.
2. Dryer Lint – In the weeks prior to your hike, empty the contents of your dryer’s lint catcher into a plastic bag. If you’re a tad short out in the field, politely ask any nearby hikers to empty out their belly buttons. Every little lint counts.
3. Fritos Corn Chips – This one is courtesy of Justin “Trauma” Lichter. Burns slow and evenly. Other oily chips work just as well.
4. Trick Birthday Candle – The ones you can’t blow out. Works well in wind and rain. Multi-purpose; just in case you decide to have an impromptu candlelit supper.
5. Light My Fire / Firesteel – This lightweight (1 oz) fire starting tool makes for a reliable backup if your BIC lighter is on the blink. Can take a bit of practice to get the right pressure and striking angle. Works great with Dryer lint. Bonus points for the old school/romantic factor of starting a fire with a spark.