Like Sixby, I'm going to be the guy the news reports as "Injured hunter found safe, in good condition".
Actually if you've never done it I would encourage everyone to at least once in their lives try making a fire without fire starter materials. I always knew the process and thought I could do it at any time. Tried and failed. Looked into it a little more, and wood selection is prob the #1 thing that would screw most guys. So many woods are horrible for this. Anyways, adjusted a little and was able to make it work. Very satisfying. I used it as a lesson to teach a young mens group and then we made chicken on the fire. Kids loved it.
I tried to do it with only what I had in my pack on a challenge from a buddy of mine. I tried it in 15 degree weather after a slushy rain. It took me over two hours to build a small fire. It was very frustrating and brought a lot of perspective to what we need to carry and be able to do. On this particular hunt, we had broke down about 12 miles from the nearest road that anyone would drive on, no cell service... it was a LOOONG walk out that day after already hiking 6 miles from the vehicle hunting in the morning. The challenge came after we made it back to camp that evening and we started talking about what could really happen especially if you got hurt. On this hunt and in this area, I never used to carry stuff for starting a fire. I always thought about stuff like that as a "Backwoods" kinda thing. I now carry more than enough stuff to get a fire going no matter how wet it is. I also carry a couple of small fire starter cubes. they are very lite and pretty small. Space blanket, whistle, duct tape and super glue are also very important items to carry.
Gents, if you have never done this, try it!
But when Big League Real Life hits and the temperature drops 40 degrees in 30 minutes and everything is saturated with hail and the wind is blowing sideways and your fingers are numb and your ankle is bent sideways and it's getting dark, it's not scout camp anymore.
Every outdoorsman should read Jack London's classic short story, "To Build a Fire".
I was having a conversation about this event with another really good friend of mine not long after this and he told me this "If you can't spend a night or two out in woods, completely alone, with no real shelter, and be prepared for whatever may be thrown at you, you should go find a new hobby" He said this in jest, but it actually struck a chord with me. Since then, I am always prepared as I can be when I am out in the woods. I also carry extra water, food, a few select items of clothing and a really good first aid kit in my hunting vehicle.
Will see what I can find in some of the backpacking stores up here or on-line might be cheaper.
I used to play with different old school methods of making fire - flint and steel, magnifying glass, bow, bird nest etc. Came to the conclusion that those methods can work but could be a real pain if you are hurt in any way or if everything is soaked.
I would have to say that I fall into the "lucky" category. Have been tromping the mountains, deserts, prairies and woods alone my whole life without anything to get me through a bad situation except maybe a bandaid. Most of the time no one even knew where I was. Have had some very close calls over the years.
I actually put a sticky on my calendar to make up some fire kits and put them down in my packs this weekend.
The heat from the blue flame extends up about 4", and because it's push-button, it works even with wet and cold hands. I's like a little jet engine. I just dropped it in a bucket of water and it fired right up on the third push. Try that with a Bic.
Figure I need at least one for my fishing gear, one for my day pack and one for my big pack. Maybe a couple more for backup. Saved the lint from the dryer this morning and will start making some firestarter material and kits for each pack.
I have had some very close calls with no ability to make a fire. Midnight in a November snowstorm on my last elk hunt in Wyoming comes to mind... Damn glad Ron Niziolek was around and I was able to get one bar on my dying cell phone or I might not be here today...
Years ago was deer hunting in Nevada and midday after a brief rain storm decided to try to start a fire. Was humbled when I couldn't get it done. Decided to get my act together and learn how. Read a great survival book "98.6, the Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive". Strongly recommended reading. I now always carry vaseline, cotton balls, windproof and waterproof matches, two lighters, and a sparker.
I like the look of that Klipp lighter. Question- do you have to refill it and if so how often?
Made my own :)
Tavis, I've never used it that high. Only reason I need to get to that altitude anymore is on an airplane and they won't let me use it there.. You do have to refill it with a butane filler. Stick the little nozzle in the port on the end and press down. You can adjust the flame height with a fingernail. It's HOT! I don't know how often it needs to be refilled because I just got it this past fall.
Another great book on survival is Laurence Gonzales's excellent work, "Deep Survival - Who lives, who dies, and why". Not only is it an analysis of a bunch of good and bad real-life situations, but it also breaks down the mental and emotional aspects of surviving. Plane crashes in the jungle, stranded in a snowdrift when nobody knows where you are, lost in the wilderness, etc.. It's a LOT more involved than simply building a fire.
Also, note that the flame is almost invisible in daylight and you can burn your hand or something else a ways away from where you think the flame ends. I learned this the hard way....
I have em all over the place, hanging on the dash on my truck, in my pack, archery bench for burning tag ends (careful around the bowstring and cables...) workbench(s) I have a couple that you can solder with in a pinch. Check them from time to time and make sure they are topped off, having mechanical valves and such they can and do leak. I have waterproof matches, ferro stick, 000 steel wool, cotton balls, etc. Instead of Vaseline I carry packs of neosporine. Pretty much the same thing as Vaseline with a couple other uses too. All in my first aid kit anyway.
I've lost a couple torch lighters over the years flying with them, I use my pack as a carryon, they are actually pretty good here at finding them. For some reason bics are fine, but not the torches. TSA stands for "Takes Sh!# Away".
Last time out Elk hunting was when it finally really, truly sank in that there are times when it would be a good time to build a fire, and there are times when you Need a fire. And when you NEED a fire, you need a BIG one, and you need it right freakin’ NOW. Times when you’re cold, wet, wind-chilled.... throw in being sick, injured or exhausted and then tell me how you’re going to construct a fire-bow when you can’t untie your boot laces because your hands don’t work.
I’ve carried a magnesium block & ferro rod as my primary tools for about 30 years now, because Practice. I also was taught by my dad to never use a match until I was sure that only one would be needed.
Bottom line for me is that you can never know enough ways to start a fire; I’m always up for learning more ways and I typically carry at least 3 or 4. Matches, lighters, tinder, whisperjet+fuel...
There’s a reason that people used to carry a smoldering ember in their belongings.