Fire has been a catalyst for human development. It has played an important role in giving us the flexibility to move to regions that are otherwise uninhabitable and food for longer periods gave us the ability to preserve food for a longer period of time.
The date of the first fires is a point of contention amongst archaeologists. The dates range from 1.6 million years ago in Africa to 400,000 years ago in Europe based on evidence (source). With such a wide range of dates, it’s hard to say exactly when the first fires were consistently used.
What we do know is that fire was played a crucial role in the development of societies and the growing human expansion. Lucky for us, the methods of starting a fire have grown leaps and bounds since the days of smashing two rocks together and praying to the fire gods for a spark.
There are various methods to get the flames burning. All it takes is a few strokes of the keyboard and a pre-assembled fire starting will arrive at your doorstep within days.
Pre-assembled fire starting kits
Fire starting kits all work to achieve the same goal, to light your fire. Some require more practice than others, however, after a few tries each one besides the bow drill is easily mastered.
Kaiser Survival Fire Starting Kit
Kaiser Survival Fire Starting Kit is perfect for anyone who has an interest in the outdoors. The tin will easily fit into a pocket and contains everything that is necessary to start a fire.
This kit contains no chemicals, is non-toxic, and is safe to handle. The wood is taken from fallen trees and then soaked in the resin of the tree to speed up the ignition process. This kit will get a fire started within minutes in nearly any conditions and is a pretty cool gift idea.
Kaiser Survival Kit includes:
- Fatwood sticks
- Fatwood chips and dust
- Tactical band
- Ferro rod
- Survival hand saw
- Fixed blade knife w/ sheath
- 48″ piece of jute
Primitive Fire Flint and Steel Kit
The Primitive Fire Flint and Steel kit comes with old school essentials for starting a fire. Using a simple flint and steel striker, you gently hit the flint piece with the steel striker to get a spark. This is a time-tested method for starting a fire and after a few tries, you will have the char cloth burning and a fire heating you up.
Primitive Flint and Steel Kit includes:
- English flint piece
- High carbon steel striker
- Large tin with char cloth
- Small round tin with pre-burned char rope
- Written instructions
Primitive Fire Bow Drill Kit
We’ll start by stating the obvious, a bow drill kit is not for everyone. It is one of the oldest and most primitive ways of starting a fire through friction which creates an ember. It is the most strenuous method and takes time, practice, and patience to get it right.
Understanding how to use a bow drill is the first step in the process. You start by rubbing two sticks together with a controlled rhythm, pressure, and friction. Then after a period of a few minutes, hopefully, you will have an ember which you place in char cloth and gently blow on.
Primitive Fire Bow Drill Kit includes:
- Hardwood fire bow
- Notched fire board
- Frictionless clay palm rock
- 12 feet of jute
Zippo Emergency Fire Kit
While not nearly as fun or primitive as the other ways to start a fire. This particular fire starting kit gets the job done. It is roughly the size of a Bic lighter it comes with a molded lanyard hold so you can wear it around your neck or attach it to your backpack.
It floats in the water and is water-resistant for added peace of mind. The flint wheel is the same that is found in Zippo lighters and if it stops working you can simply replace it. It works similar to the flint of a lighter, you roll it on the ground until the spark ignites the paraffin coated cotton.
Zippo Emergency Kit includes:
- Zippo flint spark wheel
- 5 pieces of paraffin coated tinder
- Water resistant storage
Waterproof Matches Fire Starting Kit
Magnesium chips and waterproof matches are the easiest way to get a fire started in wet, cold, and windy conditions. Magnesium burns extremely hot and will light damp pieces of small wood (kindling).
To start a fire you take enough magnesium chips out of the bag to make a circle about 2 inches wide and 2 inches high. Then light with waterproof matches and watch the magnesium burn. Keep in mind that magnesium burns white hot, so never attempt to light it indoors.
Waterproof Matches Fire Starting Kit includes:
- One tin container
- 2 bags of magnesium (about 15 fires)
- 20 waterproof matches
Fort Range Fire Starting Kit
The Fort Range FIre Starting Kit includes multiple ways to start a fire. It includes waterproof matches, a small Bic lighter, and paracord for making a bow drill.
This kit also includes water purification tablets and a waterproof container for keeping the gear dry. This multi-purpose survival kit is perfect for anyone who enjoys the outdoors and prefers to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
Fort Range Fire Starter Kit includes:
- 10 water and windproof matches
- 1 Mini Bic lighter
- Waterproof container
- Water purification tablets
- Serrated blade
- Paracord braid
- Packaged tinder
Carbon Steel Fire Starter Kit
The minimalists will love this fire starting kit by KonvoySG. The striker is made from high-quality carbon steel and each striker is handcrafted. The striker fits four fingers snugly giving you maximum leverage on impact to achieve a spark.
This method does take some practice to get used to, so take some time beforehand and get the hang of it. It’s always easier to learn a skill in a relaxed environment.
KonvoySG Fire Starting kit includes:
- Hand forged carbon striker
- English flint
- 1 bag of charcloth
- Leather hip pouch
Fire Starter Kit Individual Parts and Pieces (DIY)
If you’re more the DIY type of person or prefer having complete control over what goes into your fire starting kit, you can always make your own. It gives you more flexibility and you won’t have all your eggs in one basket. Survival experts all agree that the more options to start a fire the better.
Waterproof matches are always good to carry with you as a backup, however, they should never be your only option. They are small and easy to add to any fire starting kit.
Besides the fire starter itself, a waterproof container will keep everything dry. You will be able to hold flammable materials inside and know that they will be ready when you need them.
For most situations, a classic Bic lighter will work just fine. The one downside is in windy and wet conditions the lighter doesn’t perform that well. It’s always a good idea to carry one of these in the emergency pack along with your waterproof matches.
Magnesium fire rod
Magnesium fire rods always stay dry, you can put it in a glass of water or throw it in the river and then simply wipe it off and your good to go.
Similar to magnesium fire rods, ferrocerium rods are a man-made metallic material which produces a spark that exceeds 3,000 degrees. The most common use is the flint in a cigarette lighter and they are commonly found in survival kits.
Wetfire tinder cubes give you access to fire anywhere on the trail. They burn for a longer period of time when damp or wet and are lightweight and super easy to carry.
It’s always a good idea to pack a candle on hiking or backpacking trips as a backup and in case of a mechanical failure. They double as a nightlight and you can drip the candle wax on the tinder.
Petroleum jelly and cotton wool
Vaseline and cotton balls are a quick and easy way to get a fire going with just a couple items that you can find around the house. Dip the cotton balls in Vaseline and put them in a plastic bag for later. It’s a lightweight and inexpensive DIY fire starting kit.
Wine corks soaked in rubbing alcohol
The first step is drinking copious amounts of wine. Once this heroic task is completed, take the wine corks and place them in a jar full of rubbing alcohol. Let them soak overnight and in the morning remove the wine corks to give them time to dry and then place them into a plastic bag.