Having a readymade fire starter could be the difference between life and death in the event of an apocalypse. You can’t rely on there being any electricity or gas to run your normal appliances and you can’t even be certain that you’ll be anywhere near your home or a fuel source such as wood when the time comes.
However, if you have some means of starting a fire in a small container in your car and go bag, you can always be sure that you’ll be able to generate heat and purify water to get you through the first few days.
If you’re serious about prepping for all possible scenarios, then your go bag should already include things such as matches and lighters that will give you the initial flame from which to work. The difficulty is turning this into a proper fire, which is where a ready mix fire starter comes into play.
These containers are full of small pellets that burn slowly over an hour or so. This allows you to either build a larger fire and use them as a kick start or as a fire in their own right for cooking food and purifying water in emergency situations.
The market leader at the moment is a company called Fired Up. They produce a fire starter ready mix that contains pellets of a wood and wax mixture. This means that their product is virtually waterproof so there’s no panic about leaving it out in the open or sealing the container fully. It’s essential to stir the mixture regularly as it burns so that you get the most out of the product as it’s easy to leave some of the pellets unused in the center of the fire.
The mixture comes in either cans, which hold approximately 12 cups of mixture, or buckets, which hold almost 70 cups. Given that two cups of the Fired Up fire starter mix will burn for approximately two hours, you can see the benefit of having a couple of cans or a bucket stashed away. Both containers are designed to be fireproof so that you can use them, when empty, as a fire container for emergency situations. Expect to pay around $11 for a can and $50 for a bucket.
Another brand worth looking at is InstaFire. Again, they offer a pellet mix in a two-gallon bucket. The mix is a blend of volcanic rocks that have been super heated, mixed with wood and wax and then coated in mineral spirit to keep them waterproof and to ensure they burn quickly. You won’t get as clean a fire as with the Fired Up mix, but you’ll find that you only need around a cup and a half for a half an hour fire.
Some people question the idea of taking matches and lighters with you in your go bag as they will eventually run out, leaving you unable to create any further fire. This is where you need the Gerber Bear Grylls starter pack. It is a simple system of two metal poles made from iron and pyrite which you strike together to make sparks. They will never run out and it comes in a weatherproof container to make sure it will always work.
Whatever type of fire starter you choose to use, make sure that you practice using it ahead of time. You need to understand how quickly it will burn and how to use it to set fire to other materials or to cook within the original container. You may also want to practice other methods of creating the initial spark so that you’re not reliant on matches or lighter fuel in the worst-case scenario.