by David Ellis
(Dallas, TX)

A good fire starting kit doesn't have to be big and bulky. Mine is in an Altoids tin like you may have seen made up on the internet. There are lot's of good ideas out there just like this site but let me share with you what the contents of my kit contains.

First of all I use clear soda straws cut to a little less than the length of the tin. I hold it near the end with my MFT pliers and bring a flame close to melt it together. I can then fill it with different items. I carry four in my kit.

- 1 Maya dust (fatwood shavings)
- 1 Magnesium shavings (from hacksawing)
- 1 Vaseline soaked cotton ball
- 1 Q-tips (2 cut short)vasaline soaked then dipped in magnesium shavings to make a mini-torch

When everything has been inserted into the tubes, I carefully seal the ends of the tubes creating a completely waterproof system. In addition to these survival "tubes" I also include the following:

- several pieces of charcloth wrapped in wax paper
- Jute twine
- dryer lint
- ferrocerium rod (removed from cheap magbar)
- hacksaw blade scraper
- triple A battery and a fish hook (prison lighter)
- book of matches
- waterproof matches

and of course a flat sided lighter (not a BIC).

After reading one of the posts on this site I have now included a small plastic pencil sharpener for making quick tinder from a small twig. This gives me 7 different ways to start a fire.

Since I have replaced all my bootlaces with 550 paracord I always have a string for making a bowdrill. By taking a stainless steel 1/8 teaspoon measuring spoon (handle removed) and modifing my knife by epoxying it into a drilled hole in the handle, I always have a bearing block. I can only think of about 22 other ways to start a fire without matches or a lighter so I never have to worry about how to get one going.

Knowledge is power.

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