Many of us go on trips far away from the comfort of civilization without always thinking about how to correctly prepare ourselves should the worst happen. But nobody ever plans to be in a survival situation, so we should always carry a basic survival kit with us on these types of excursions.
A basic survival kit means just that. It’s a basic kit, separate from the normal provisions you would carry, because it’s something you will hopefully never use. You should consider the basic things you would need to keep yourself alive.
You should carry something to transport water (condoms without spermicide work well), something to catch or trap food, something to help keep dry (a tarp will do) and something to start fires with.
One of the hardest, yet most essential skills in survival situations is to start a fire. There are numerous ways to start fires without equipment, yet many of these methods take many years to perfect. They also often rely on you being in an environment which is suitable. For example; you could be in an environment where the ground is sodden, after many days of consecutive rain. Even after many years of practice with fire-starting techniques, you are not guaranteed to be able to start a fire in these conditions.
How to always guarantee a fire in a survival situation with a ferrocerium rod.
Two of the best items you can pack into a survival kit is a ferrocerium rod and some kind of kindling. The ferrocerium rod will give off a number of very hot sparks when struck with an object such as; a knife or a sharp stone. You should ensure that these sparks then land on your kindling. Cotton wool will work well as kindling and packs easily into a small survival kit.
Once the kindling begins to ignite, you should then try and spread the fire to the smallest and driest twigs and fauna you have been able to gather. Eventually you will be able to start burning logs and keep the fire going. Sheltering the fire and surrounding it with stones can help keep it going for many days, in all conditions.
So why is fire so important?
There are several reasons why it ranks so highly on the list of things to consider in a survival situation. The first, is obviously warmth. In a cold environment, the effect of the cold can quickly accumulate, with your core body temperature staying low throughout the day, even with the sun in the sky, from the night before. As night falls this may leave you prone to hypothermia. Which is one of the biggest killers in the great outdoors.
Secondly. It’s important for cooking food. In winter months, it may be that the only food you can find is that which you have trapped, or fished for. You should obviously cook meat before eating.
It’s also important because passing aircraft, or someone a few miles away may be able to see the smoke and come to your aid.
Amongst the other benefits are for hygiene (smoke cleanses the clothes and the body), allowing you to boil water (which can kill some harmful bacteria) and also as a moral booster.
All of this can be achieved by packing a small ferrocerium rod and a bit of kindling. Which is light to carry and only costs a few dollars.