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How To Start a Fire in the Field

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Whether you need to start a fire to signal for help, get a blaze going to heat water for drinkability, or simply ignite a fire to keep yourself warm, fire can be the difference between life and death in the wild.

Because of this fact, most hunters, hikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts know to always have a lighter or a box of matches tucked away in their pack. Quite simply, you never know when you are going to find yourself stranded in the wild, whether as the result of an injury that handicaps your ability to walk, a dead car battery, or a wrong turn that has left you lost and without a clue of how to get home. To take a phrase out of the Boy Scout handbook, you always need to be prepared.

Sometimes however, in particularly wet, cold, or windy conditions, a match or a lighter can be all but useless to you. Building a fire in the wild can be difficult even in the most ideal conditions. In rough weather or crappy terrain, it can be all but impossible. With that in mind, you are going to want to have a fire alternative in case your matches and lighters fail you, and that’s where fire starters and spark rods enter into the conversation.

There are a wealth of different fire starters and spark rods on the market, and they all represent a vast variation in price and methods of generating a spark. Of course, the end goal of all fire starters – to ignite a spark – is the same across the board. Luckily, you can get very good spark rods for entirely reasonable prices, so you don’t have to choose between spending a lot of money on something that might not see a lot of use and finding yourself unprotected in a dire survival situation.

When you buy a spark rod, the tinder that comes with the product is just as important as the fire starter itself. Even in cold and wet weather, tinder can turn a spark into a full-sized blaze. WetFire, a tinder product from Ultimate Survival Technologies, is arguably the finest fire-starting tinder on the market, with cubes that can – on their own – burn for as long as 10 minutes on a single spark. It’s also not exorbitantly expensive – with $7.99 packages including eight cubes – so stocking up on it is easy.

bass pro wetfirePhoto via Bass Pro Shops

Paired with Ultimate Survival Technologies’ flagship spark rod – aptly called the Sparkie ($9.99) – WetFire will not let you down in even the harshest conditions.

bass pro sparkiePhoto via Bass Pro Shops

Of course, Ultimate Survival Technologies is certainly not the only manufacturer of high quality spark rod and tinder combinations. Other brands present similarly high-quality fire starting products in innovative ways. For instance, Chums incorporates a fire starter into a rugged and cool looking bracelet, while Light My Fire conceals a spark rod in the handle of a neon green hunting knife. Both ideas are unique, and both products can be used with virtually any type of tinder, whether you opt to stick to WetFire or explore other brands and presentations of tinder.

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How To Start a Fire in the Field