The last thing you need is another writer telling you that dryer lint with a little candle wax can get an emergency fire going, or that pine pitch is a natural fire-starter. Such things are interesting, but if you’re lost and cold and will have to spend the night out there, looking for a bird’s nest for tinder means you put yourself in a preventable survival situation. Unless you’re starring in an episode of Discovery Channel’s “Naked and Afraid,” you shouldn’t have to use such skills.
What you should do is carry a few foolproof essentials. Keep your fire kit light, so you won’t be tempted to leave it behind. Use a Ziploc bag or small waterproof container to carry these four things with your emergency medical kit:
• Fire-starting material, such as the nuggets or sticks sold to start wood-burning fireplaces. Recommendation: Lightnin' Bug.
• Small candle—its flickering light will give you peace of mind, and it keeps burning and burning even if your tinder is too wet to give you a fire. Recommendation: 9-Hour Candle.