by Mike Duncan
Keep steel wool dry and compact
Steel wool is an excellent, hot-burning tinder for fire making that can allow for one match/spark/etc. lights. Even better, it can be lit in a variety of ways, including with the use of a flashlight or car battery.
It is an especially good medium for igniting with sparks. (TO LIGHT WITH BATTERY: Simply bridge the battery's leads with your steel wool. 'Bridge' means touch an end of the steel wool to each lead. If using small flashlight batteries, one may need to place them in series-connect them as they are in your flashlight and touch the steel wool to the exposed ends.)
Here's my trick for keeping my steel wool dry and compact:
Step one - Get a package of 000 gauge steel wool and cut each piece into thirds.
Step two - Get some plastic wrap and use scissors to cut it into 4" by 4" squares
Step three - Roll your steel wool pieces into tight little capsules and wrap them tight into the plastic as follows.
--- Place capsule on bottom left corner of plastic. Roll once and then fold to the right once. Repeat until plastic is completely wrapped around steel wool. Secure roll with small piece of scotch tape.
Using this method I have fit an entire package of steel wool into a small prescription pill bottle.
STEP 4!!: Hedge your bets! These rolls are hard to open with cold fingers. Don't die of hypothermia because your fingers are too numb to access your kindling. I set some of my steel wool aside and place it unwrapped in a 35mm film container so I can access it quickly when cold. Think ahead!