15 Fighters: Fire

How best to do it, remembering the series concept of providing a solution for a bunch of folks.

Stoves, starters, you name it.


64 responses to “15 Fighters: Fire

  1. Amazon:

    UST BlastMatch Fire Starter with One-Handed Operation: $12.02 free shipping

    Survive Outdoors Longer Fire Lite Kit: $7.99 free shipping

    BIC Lighters (Colors May Vary), 5 Pack: $6.89 free ship

    • A
      I’d add a link to the Mora FireKnife. Decent blade, very decent sheath, and a built-in ferro-rod. Only about $20. Provides two essentials in one package that’s easy to EDC

      Put some MicroPur water tabs inside a section of innertube you slide over the sheath and you’ve got 3 essentials. Other essentials can go in the innertube ….

      The blade spine is sharp, and the rod throws lotsa sparks. Good deal

  2. Ah, an Esbit-stove!
    We all had one in the Austrian army! Highly recommend.
    Doesn‘t take up a lot of space and very lightweight.

    • SemperFi, 0321

      I have many of them. The tablets burn twice as long as the blue US issued ones.
      The Germans got it right the first time, in continuous use since 1936. And readily available on Amazon.
      And how many models have the US military come out with in that same time frame, still looking for another ‘new and improved’ version? Kapitalistische Vollidioten.

  3. As for fire starters, I’ve spent years overnighting it outdoors, and it’s hard to beat a Bic. In most cases, it’ll work unless it has been run out of gas, and even then it’s a flint. Put one on your first line kit, another in your third line kit in a baggie. Now that I think of it, I have one in the canteen pouch on my second line gear too. Ferro rods are good too, but when you’re cold you’d rather just get it started. Wrap a short length of duct tape around the lighter for a little added utility. It burns well, as do ranger bands (bicycle inner tube) Cotton soaked in either wax or petroleum jelly in a medicine bottle, altoids tin, etc. I’ll let someone else comment on stoves. I run a Kelly Kettle in my third line gear and it’ll heat up water for at least 2 guys at a time, but they’re expensive and can be noisy if you don’t pack them well.

    • +100! Win if you can, lose if you must, but by all means, cheat! 😉 I carry at least 5 bic lighters spread all over my kit. I also have ferro rods, shredded jute, cotton balls, all those guys…..they are held in reserve for those times that I don’t have the choice of using a bic….there is one lighter, however, that stays on my harness in a pouch. It’s a Brunton Helios Stormproof Lighter. The thing is bombproof. I’ve used it in all sorts of really nasty weather. Works great. Don’t know anywhere you can get except REI. YMMV. Stoves? As long as it’s light and has a good draw, you’re good. I’ve got several titanium stoves from gasifiers to simple wood burners. They’re fine for what they are.

      Now, if things were really bad, I’d get a small section of galvanized screen, the kind you use to keep critters out of things, maybe 8″X8″ and dig a Dakota fire pit. If the ground were really frozen, I’d build a good coal fire and use the edge to cook/heat water.

      But that’s me….

  4. i just made a bunch of firestarters. took a styrofoam egg carton. melted a bunch of old candles, and poured the wax into each egg holder thingy in the carton. bout a 1/4 full. then put lint from the dryer and old gunpowder gone bad on top of that. squashed her down a bit, then covered the whole shebang up to the top of each egg compartment with more melted wax. let it cool, then cut them up into individual starters. viola, 12 firestarters. light easy , the one i tried burned 10 min. the gunpowder gave it a good kick, oughta help with wind or wet fuel. pack em up in baggies with some windproof matches, and presto, ready to fight commies in the wind rain and snow.

    • Another good use of egg cartons, the cardboard ones, is to cut them up into little cups, dump sawdust into each of them, and then fill with candle wax.

    • Sounds like a great use for old materiel, except that styrofoam is inappropriate in fires intended for direct personal enjoyment. Fumes are bad ju-ju. Stick to cardboard.

      • point taken. i did consider that, but cardboard gets wet . mine are pretty much waterproof and don’t require any wrapping. they aren’t for personal enjoyment fires. they are for when things go to shit , hell and highwater, and i got commies , feds and useless murikans after me, and i’m trying to survive long enough to take a few with.

        • The candle wax will soak through the cardboard, and once it cooles, essentially makes them waterproof (or at least, water resistant).

  5. Over the years my wife and me have built bugout bags for all our kids and their spouses. Both our grandchildren also have their own bob’s.

    These bags have evolved from the 80s to present. Our focus is fire filtration. Every Bob, has a American version of what’s pictured, with ten 12 packs of fuel for then.

    Matches in pill bottles life boat style, lighters and striker Ferro rods, all three, we like redundancy. Same with water filtering, life straws, and another pump style filter in each Bob.

    In addition to these stoves, my truck, landcruiser and my wife’s SUV, also each have a Kelly kettle, bitchen tool. Take the time to have a look, their not light, N my mind work the weight.
    Basically a aluminum va’s sel, that holds water with a hole in the center. You start a fire using forest duff. Sits in a metal bottom with a hole, like a Dakota hole.

    Fill the bottom with wood duff, fill the water vessel, ” pull the red plastic cork” before starting the fire. Creates heat and boils water quickly. Great tool, as long as your wood duff are dry, easy starting.

    And then we have multi gas units. God knows how many we have, I’ve carried these for years backpacking, lite and they work everytime. I’ve got a dozen of these, their cheap on Amazon, most now have the push button fire starters.

    We also have propane style stoves. Screw a bottle on touch it off with a lighter.

    We have a special made closet in the office, which contains all this stuff, plus a faraday cage. I dug a third Kelly kettle out for review. Takes less then a minute to set it up.


    • D

      Agreed on the Kelly Kettle. The smaller one is a good compromise, and in an extended fixed camp would be ideal, since the kits now have an insert that lets you cook over the chimney.

  6. you might say that esbit stove is better than nothing. it’s small, comes with half a dozen fuel tabs. flames up and burns impressively. and available from several sources for $10 or so.

    at the expense of taking up more space and requiring a bit more effort to make work, it’s still hard to beat the old-school svea 123 liquid fuel stove. cost is more but uses just about any liquid fuel available, including 12 year old scotch. (boo, hiss.)

    just don’t forget the quietstove add-on to tame that noise. worth the extra bucks.

    liquid fuel can also be used to set fire to many other things that wouldn’t be possible with fuel tabs. think “flammen waffen”.

    and if you’re thinking ahead, might as well get something extra from all that heat. both the power pot and the cup charger will charge your precious little electronic friend a bit while you’re eating.

    eventually, if you’re “on an extended hunting trip”, you will need to fall back to burning locally available materials and somehow manage the smoke and smell and unpredictability caused by cold, dark, wet, and wind.

    “skills are better than gear”.

    unless it’s an option to take along a mule to carry all those mre’s with heaters, and worry about all that trash later. got resupply points? those antifa boys don’t carry enough to bother with salvage.

    • Svea, killer old school kit. Agree. My bigger sailboats have Svea stove tops. All work fantastic. This is what I used in the Boy Scouts, in the late 60s, or a version of, out of Sweden.

  7. @CenturionCornelius
    To answer one of your questions, since the 90’s, almost no med school grads take either the Hippocratic or Geneva Oath.

  8. Ah yes…the German Esbit cook unit!
    Proof that a great idea for a great product NEVER
    goes out of style or is ‘obsolete’.

    Here’s the current incarnations:



    Sehr Gut!

    NorthGunner – The Truth Is It’s OWN Defense!

  9. Old Gray Wolf

    I use bics lighters with bike inner tube bands for emergency use, ferro rod and a flint. Short piece of hacksaw blade throws lotsa sparks from that ferro rod, and works good for the flint, also. Only use carbon steel blades because they make good sparks too. Also carry a tinder kit of good dry stuff that catches the spark and burns easy. Vaseline cotton balls and/or paraffin and dryer lint firestarters for when things are wet. Also carry a small fresnel lens for sunny days. Easy. Also matches in a waterproof container.

    I use the Solo stove, also have a larger woodburning chimney style stove. Will use the MSR multifuel stove for short trips, but carry the solo as backup, and it usually ends up as primary. MSR is good for urban use.

    Skills are where its at with fire. Redeundant firemaking methods are advisable, along with knowledge of how to make it with stuff you pick up.
    Know how to make and use a bow and drill. Know the woods for each that exist in your AO. With practice, it is not hard to get a coal this way. Lots of info about this is available. Worthwhile skill to learn. Fire is one of the more simple aspects of bushcraft, if you learn a few techniques well. There is no reason for a prepared person to die of hypothermia because they could not make a fire. This excepts people above treeline, and perhaps folks in other areas devoid of vegetation. Those folks gotta carry stoves and fuel, and have good shelter figured out.

  10. Honestly I have used all kinds of methods and they all have their ups and downs. The stoves that work the best tend to take up more space because they have fuel requirements that are also a consideration. I think you have to discount anything that uses gas canisters. That leaves you with fewer options but we have to sacrifice sometimes. For me Esbit is the winner here. There are other options that use alcohol and those are fine stoves but that fuel will run out and at that point you cant do much with them.
    The Esbit does normally use fuel tabs but it can serve as a base for a small wood fire with no problems. In addition you can use a lot of different types of fuel packets and not just the tabs. The Trioxaine (sp) fuel tabs, the Fuel gels, heck even Hand Sanitizer gel will work.
    Cheap and effective, and they don’t take up much space.

  11. Seraphim of Sarov

    Catfood can stoves ran off of 91% rubbing alcohol lighted with a Bic. That’s how people on a budget do it on the Appalachian Trail.

  12. Dang, my wife just reminded me we switched to Jet Boils aswell, very efficient.

    • SemperFi, 0321

      I use a Jetboil for backpacking, very fast and stays lit in the wind, did I mention it’s windy in Wyoming?
      However, 3 cans of fuel last summer caused me grief, they wouldn’t unscrew without continuing to leak until they were empty, all MSR brand. The inner seal doesn’t like the Jetboil plunger. My buddy had same issue also. Stick to Jetboil fuel cans.
      However, the fuel source will dry up one day after SHTF unless you have a case of them already.

      I’ve used the Swedish alcohol stoves, but they won’t burn above 8,000′ due to thin air, so for me I prefer the Jetboil and it’s canned fuel.

      Esbit stoves are lightweight and easy to use, the stink is not something everyone gets used to, like Ballistol. I keep mine in a plastic MRE ziplock baggie to keep from stinking up my food. Bought a few cases of German tablets yrs ago. Keep 4 tablets and a book of matches inside the stove. Tablets are carried inside almost every coat and backpack for emergency fire starter too.
      Keep a firestarter rod and P-38 can opener inside my backpack lid also. Those rods work great for throwing sparks on a gas stove/Jetboil too.

      KellyKettles are great, several friends use them, but boy are they bulky, take up most of your pack space.

  13. I have heard that if you touch a Jew or a Muslim with a crucifix, they will spontaneously burst into flames. Two birds with one stone?


  14. Once……I took two liberals and rubbed their heads together thinking If I got some synaptic function I could get enough of a spark to light a ball of tinder…..didn’t work at-all.

  15. https://www.theknifeconnection.net/esee-knives-firesteel/ .handy little item when you need it and serves several functions. There is much info about tactics like a Dakota fire hole out here on the interwebs and that might be an idea for group study should upcoming fun times go long. I like the tech items but we might have to Plan B like our ancestors did. Smoke, fire -cooking aromas sure have the potential to draw a crowd.

  16. My preference is ferro rod, biggest diameter available. Possess multiple stoves from the ole metal coleman 2 burner, single pot kero stove, but my preference is the coleman screw top stove. Light, LP bottles can be found anywhere, lights every time.

  17. Have an Esbit; like it fine. A small mix of a variety of starters (waxed batting, etc.) in ziplocs, along with a ferro rod. This last is also typically packed together with a small section of old hacksaw blade, which works superbly as a striker, vs. one’s knife blade or notched knife handle. PIeces of treated batting, even a field-stripped cigarette filter can be used if you still do that.

    Also something that should be available is a stout tool to get into wet wood & find the dry if needed; be it hatchet, worthy knife. Like many, stashed everywhere, the ubiquitous BIC (even with the Zippo in the pocket). Because why the hell not? 🙂 I also have one of the better (not quite but almost) windproof propane single-burner campstoves. Don’t recall make. It’s real nice to have; it does presume some mobility for dealing with canisters; depends certainly upon circumstances.

  18. Walter Sobchak

    Many great ideas in the comments here. Bic lighters are definitely good, maybe have a Zippo on hand too as an alternative. I keep some dryer lint or cotton balls for kindling. I just recently discovered using an inner tube cut up for starters. Some of these new ‘atomic lighter’ electric lighters look promising for wet and windy conditions. I’ve got a little butane micro torch that’s a handy little fire source. Some kind of light weight stove is something we lack that I’d like to get. We have a Coleman stove that runs the little propane bottles, it’s too bulky for backpacks but great for the vehicle, really handy for coffee and breakfast quick at camp while we get the real fire going, bottles last through several uses and are only about ~ $3.50 per. bottle. I have a Gerber hatchet and folding saw that work well for harvesting wood. My brother in law carries a little red metal fuel bottle with some gasoline or lighter fluid on his pack that’s really helpful. I have a steady supply of used motor oil which is also a useful fire starter.

  19. Walter Sobchak

    I forgot to add I like the Uco waterproof matches, they work really well. Also I twisted an old plastic bag up in a piece of paper and this made a good improvised fire starter.

  20. everlastingphelps

    A vintage Flammenwerfer 35 from the Big War would be best, but I think that if you can get a M9 from Vietnam, it’s lighter than the old M2’s that we used in the war.

    Stockpiling naptha and palm oil to be authentic would be best, but I think that long term you’re going to end up at gasoline and Styrofoam sooner than later.

  21. BICS lighters, at least 5, The real ones. Not the fakes. worth thousands of lights They are butane and susceptible to cold, so keep at least 2 on your body.

    Esbit stove. Lightest, smallest, easiest, all around method. Carry 1/2 a roll of collapsed paper towels. Invaluable for starting fire, wiping ass, etc.

    I keep a 2.5″x3.5″ thin, flexible, fresnel lens in my wallet, have tested it and it will start fire on brown, dry leaves but it’s only good on sunny days. BICS are good at night, when it’s cold, and raining, if you practice before hand.

    Forget all those sparkers and waxxy assed gooey shit, it’ll break your heart in more ways than one. Dyer lint and cotton balls in vaseline??? What idiot came up with that genius idea? Somebody that hasn’t spent more than 3 minutes outside ever.

    If you don’t go out and work these things regularly it doesn’t matter what you carry cause you’re inexperienced ass is going to die or get killed anyway. Onward.

  22. Fire tinder – alcohol based hand cleanser. Serves two very important needs – sanitation and fire starter. Comes in many convenient carrying sizes and can be purchased nearly everywhere.

    Actual flame – a permanent match and a can of lighter fluid will last a long time. If you take care to have all of your tinder and fire building material ready to go, it goes much faster.

    Very good topic – thanks for bringing it up.

  23. good.

    now everyone go outside and set this POS forsaken land on fire.

    it should burn pretty easy and non-stop being that everything sold these days is cheap fucking plastic shit from China.

    then, go find a politician- any politician, and anyone else who has out-sourced their manufacturing to foreign suppliers and set them and their families on fire too. then shoot the fucking scumbags and their pets for good measure.. do not forget all the salesmen who peddle that worthless crap either- they are all guilty of treason.

    i just had to bring in my Polaris SxS- with 45 miles on it, to have bearings and seals replaced on the front gear box and new a guide-roller assembly for the winch cable… damn thing has been in the shop 3 Xs since i purchased it. on the way home, the plastic license plate bracket broke and i lost that too. i’m so tired of murka and the over-priced plastic garbage products sold here.

    i have ZERO qualms with milking this FUBAR cuntry dry of anything left of value and watching the whole shitty fucking thing turn to ashes. it’s the only pleasure i will ever get from it at this point.


  24. lastmanstanding

    I’m kind of a trad when it comes to fire. Good ole wooden matches in a protected container. I also have soaked cottonballs. I bought a bunch of Firesteel starters. http://www.firesteel.com. They have a ton of choices now. I have the originals. Work great. Have a couple in each rig and any bags we pack.

    Spent 3 winters thinning a couple properties of dead timber. All conditions. Didn’t matter what they were, was always able to get a fire started with natural materials and the device. Sometime we really had to search to find dry kindling, moss, etc. but we always got a fire started. Most moss will light even if damp. In the west, I never saw it soaking wet. Lots of natural stuff works if you think about it. Take some pitchy, small pieces of any dry pine and put it in a waterproof container. Matches with it. No weight at all.

    There was a new “debris” cooker over @ directive21.com Tiny and packable. Also have a bigger Silver Fire cooker for power down scenarios. That fucker is amazing. Amazing as in what it can do with a tiny amount of sticks, pinecones, etc. Minimal fuel to boil water…gallons of water fast.

    The high tech fancy stuff all work, depends on what you want.

  25. Johnny Paratrooper

    I use a Nalgene bottle to stone my fire kit.

    I have several things in there.

    The only things I really use are the Bic lighters and the blow torch.

    I also have one of those stamped metal folding stoves. Although its a little hard to balance a canteen cup on top of one.

    Mostly I just put the cup between two sticks and pile some coals under it.

  26. Let’s see what’s in the fire starting inventory:
    1. Waterproof matches in waterproof containers.
    2. Disposable butane lighters, lots of different kinds. Try to find ones that still have an adjustment so you can turn the flame to max if needed.
    3. Light My Fire: Swedish FireSteel 2.0 and Tender-on-a-Rope http://www.lightmyfire.com/products/products/swedish-firesteel-20.aspx
    Fatwood available other locations, such as this box from a sporting goods store: https://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/b-b-natural-fatwood-fire-starters#repChildCatid=1501919
    Alternative to purchasing the Tender would be locating and harvesting your own fatwood sticks: https://www.offgridweb.com/survival/finding-fatwood-how-to-use-it-for-fire-starting/
    4. Doan firestarters https://www.doanfirestarter.com/ I buy mine directly from Doan, there are imitations galore that pass themselves as Doan.
    5. Solo Scientific Aurora Fire Starters http://www.soloscientific.com/aurora-fire-starter1.html
    6. Old film canisters with petroleum jelly infused 100% cotton balls jumbo size
    7. Small ziploc bags of dryer lint

    Currently only have two non-wood sources to heat water/cook with:
    Eteckcity Mini Camping Stove (qty 2) https://www.etekcity.com/product/100246
    Have a 10-piece cook and dine set for use with above.

    Planning on adding to our stove kits:
    1. Folding Firebox stoves https://www.fireboxstove.com/5%E2%80%8B-g2-firebox/5-inch-folding-firebox
    Reviewed by JC Dodge: https://www.americanpartisan.org/2018/11/the-backpackers-woodstove/
    2. Kelly Kettle https://www.kellykettle.com/

  27. Bic lighters, rocks and make a nice little rocket stove on the ground. Close to water? Use some mud to pack in the rocks to make it air tight. Or just use the fire pit. Dig it down a little into the ground to make it more wind proof. Not much cheaper than that and weighs a lot less.

  28. For a carry stove I have used a Sierra with a titanium body. You have to run the fan with a AA battery but it will burn damp fuel. Bic lighters are the way to go for quick field use. But in all of my bags I have a flint striking torch lighter. Found in any tool section to light propane and acetylene torches. For less than five bucks you have an all metal waterproof source of fire with a cup that directs all of the sparks down into your tinder. You can use it one handed and if you spend another dollar you can pick up five spare flints which will give your kids and grandkids the gift of fire for a long time. They are light, cheap, durable, easy to use and can even be used for signaling. https://shop.harborfreight.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/i/m/image_14696.jpg

  29. When staying outdoors I carry a Kilopower. Mobile fission nuclear reactor. The Kilopower can power a small town for an extended period. SSTAR’s are passively safe and last for thirty years. Weighing in at 400,000 pounds,they are a little bulky. Livermore developed the SSTAR for extended space colonies. With a little improv and a large herd of burros,anyone with a couple billion dollars can have one. It will fit in a large ruck.

  30. I have a couple Lixada stoves. They fold flat, stainless steel, burn twigs, grass, or what ever, light weight, takes up almost no space. Buy on Amazon. I use wood saw dust with a little diesel in it, works excellent as a fire starter and it doesn’t take much. Bic lighters, matches, blast stick… think redundancy.

    • lastmanstanding

      “Dude dust”!!! I forgot about that cowboy…I like shavings better. Weighs nothing and only takes a couple tablespoons with dry tinder.

  31. European American

    As a back up to all the other suggestions here, these are cool…
    Rechargeable Electric Plasma Lighters Single and Dual Arc

  32. Alfred E. Neuman

    Reblogged this on FOR GOD AND COUNTRY.

  33. Years ago, Bic removed the adjust knob and set the default flame height to “sissy.” Mighty Match brand has not, so look for those instead.

    • The zippo-sized “Djeep” is a pretty good one also; more but a fine disposable. Lots of the cheaper versions still have the singe your moustache settings; really cold wx get your likely candidate close on your body.

  34. This looks interesting, a wood gasifier using tin cans. Size to fit your needs. Stable base and top rack for your cooking pot, and inexpensive. On my to-buy list.

  35. Matt Bracken

    When you just want to heat water for instant coffee or to reconstitute a freeze dried “Lurp,” and you are fresh out of fancy stove fuel or tablets, don’t forget this old Afrika Korps trick. Just take an empty can, fill it with dry sand, and pour in a little gasoline. This is using what you have to make a cooking fire. It will do the job.

  36. Get any pre-1990s Boy Scouts of America Field Book and master the fire section. This is one of the most primitive important life skills to posses. One should be able to start fire in damn near any conditions in which they live.

    Being in the upper Midwest, the only think I carry in my pack for fire starting is a lighter, spark stick, and several cotton balls impregnated with Vaseline. Cheap and extremely effective. I can tease apart a cotton ball, set it in the snow, and light it with merely a spark. Turning this into a blaze is where the Field Book skills come in.

  37. my personal favorite has been long pine needles from the trees from my work wrapped up with a single wrap of black tape and then one end dipped in bees wax, paffin wax works well also. after a couple of dippings in the hot wax i stick some drier lint on it to get it going. this will burn for up the 8 minutes last time i tried and you leave it together. if you cut the tape once it gets rolling and it will get really hot and burn fast. this has been my go to scouts trying to start fires and were struggling with it. the trees shed their needles about twice a years and i just pick them up and put some in a bag

    my kindling bag for scouts has the above fire starter. a bag of cedar bark, a bag of birch bark, some corn cobs, corn husks, some cheaters that i bought at a garage sale, some fat wood from a piece of pine pallet wood from work. and some pine pitch in a old pill bottle.

    For fire starters i have matches, lighters, a snazzy electric light that uses 2 little lighting bolts to start fire and is rechargeable. a blast match, and a lighter that has duct tape wrapped around it holding a piece of 550 cord that holds a tiny light, and compass this is always on me when out in the field.

    as for stoves i have a bunch raging from colman, steva, msr and home made rocket stoves, my bob has a jet boil with a spare tank. i used to carry a whisper light but changed over to the jet boil for less weight.

  38. the most efficient way to start fire is shooting a flare gun into the front window of a cops house. preferably when the entire family is sleeping soundly..


  39. generally i like stoves that run on white gas for FOB and iso stoves for patrol packs. solo stoves 900, might be the best choice for overall pot. a msr titan holds .85 liters. 1 being titanium and the other stainless steel. tianium is lighter, but when you have teh stepped bottom. i can’t see it lasting over open fires. i’ve seen the titan flex pretty bad just over coals.

    the svea 123r. i love mine, but it is really heavy. the whisperlight works ok with the titan and larger pots. the snow peak solo is to small.to fit the pot supports.
    i’ve been taking gift cards to REI and when i can find iso butane cheap, picking up the canisters and storing those for whom ever. meijers has had the best price so far.

    wish i could suggest a really great iso stove. oli camp is supposed to make a great one. [about $50] but you can find some decent knock offs, under the name BRS. for about $17.

    the jury is still out on the alchol burners.