There are few skills that are as universal as building a fire. From remote Afghani villagers who have never seen a cell phone to the most Gucci’d-out backpackers, the fundamentals of building a fire don’t change much. It comes as a surprise to me when I encounter individuals who can’t build a fire…even though I encounter them with some regularity. This post is going to take a very deep dive (13,000 words and 70 photos, or about 6-8 times longer than the average article here) into how to build a fire.
Sparking fire-starters are a mainstay of wilderness survival kits. They are rugged, waterproof, and have the potential to light thousands of fires. They aren’t terribly expensive and you can find one of just about any size or form-factor from keychain-sized models to large, purpose-built versions. For all their virtues, lighting a fire with them can be tougher than you might think. Today I will offer a few hard-won tips for using sparking fire-starters.
Welcome to Part II of my favorite wilderness survival books. In Part I I covered a mindset book, a how-to, and a survival story. This post will follow that same format. Unlike Part I this post will not have a bad example to share…but I will share a bonus book at the end and it’s one of the most fun books in this genre.
I recently wrote about the contents of a theoretical minimalist survival kit. I love the concept of such a kit: the bare minimum stuff you’d want to survive in the wilderness, so I decided to put one together. I’ve walked with it several times now and here’s what I have to report.
I have recently been down a rabbit hole of reading survival-related books. The wilderness survival class I taught a couple weeks ago prompted this reading track and I’m so glad it did. It got me back into a couple books that I have long loved, and introduced me to a few new ones. Here are my favorite wilderness survival books.
Survival kits come in all shapes and sizes, from the junk contained in the handles of those 80s “survival knives” (if you’re old enough to remember them definitely check out that video…or even if you’re not) to Altoids-tin kits to backpacks full of stuff. My last article on wilderness survival covered a very strong survival kit. Today I am going to discuss the bare minimum “stuff” I would want in the woods.
I was recently asked to teach a wilderness survival class. Though not specifically in my lane of expertise, I jumped at the chance. No guidance was provided other than “wilderness survival” and I was given a three-hour block. This article is what I decided to teach. I am making the full content available here to my readers, and to serve as a resource for my students afterward.