Fire Starters

About Fire Starters

Starting a fire is an essential skill but sometimes we need just a little help to get the thing going. Fire starters help do just that. This makes them an important, if not essential, part of our emergency preparedness inventory.

With fire, redundancy is key. You must have multiple ways to start a fire. Don’t rely on any one method, especially if you were to run out of matches or lighter fuel.

Four things are needed to make a fire: a spark, tinder, kindling, and of course firewood. It really comes down to the ignition source, the resulting spark that ignites the tinder, and the kindling taking over until the firewood starts to burn on its own. Each one of these steps are important to building a strong, sustaining fire.

Ignition Sources

Matches & Lighters

As far as matches go, stick matches are best. You can keep them dry by storing them in a ziploc bag. You can also purchase waterproof matches.

Disposable lighters cost less than refillable but refillable lighters far superior in performance.

Ferrocerium (Ferro) Rod

These are both popular and reliable. This works by scraping magnesium flakes onto any type of tinder with the use of a knife. Then, striking the ferro rod close to the magnesium flakes will provide a spark and ignite the magnesium. This will start a fire.

Fresnel Lens

You place the lens in between the sun and the object you wish to ignite, some sort of dry tinder or other dry ignition source, it can catch fire quickly.

Tinder & Kindling


Tinder is used to ignite a fire. It takes the ignition source and turns it into a flame. It’s important because it ignites much more quickly than would larger pieces of wood. Tinder is small and made from easily combustible material such as dry grass, leaves, or dried pine needles. The small size of tinder makes them ineffective for use as kindling.


Kindling feeds off the ignited tinder and provides the fuel necessary to sustain the fire until the main source of firewood starts to burn. It tends toward thicker materials like branches or other small pieces of wood. Insta-Fire can also be used as a great source of kindling.

How much do I need?

Many of our emergency preps rely on our ability to start a fire. Redundancy truly is the key so take a look at this list and get as many of the fire starter options as you feel comfortable with. A Ferro Rod and Fresnel Lens, along with the tinder and kindling, will assure that you can still start a fire should your matches and lighter fluid run out.