FAST Blog: Family Homestead

Permaculture, Preparedness, Homesteading & Survival

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

The 10 C's of Survival 2/10 - Combustion

Today's hot topic is Combustion. We're talking sparks and flames, the ability to start a fire makes the difference between success and failure in a survival situation. Fire keeps your temperature from dropping too low, lights the way, cooks your food, marks your position to rescuers and can help ward off wild animals.  Sometimes I like to light a fire in the middle of the office to help prevent bear attacks.

There are hundreds of ways to get a fire started, but disposable lighters are the way to go as far as EDC is concerned. If someone asks you for a light in the street, they often don't have time to wait whilst you use your bow drill to create an ember by friction, and a throwaway lighter saves a lot of hassle. Disposables are cheap, light, easy to obtain and easy to use. But, since we all know that the first person to borrow a lighter becomes the new owner of it, it is useful to have a tried and tested backup. My preferred backup is a decent sized ferro rod. They're robust, work in all weathers and are good for thousands of uses and will be lighting fires long after the lighter gives up the ghost. One thing to bear in mind is that although almost all ferro rods are equal, the quality of strikers can vary wildly, especially with cheaper rods. The rod I carry is the basic Kombat UK version, and the striker is almost completely useless and produces a pathetic little spark that would be difficult to light a fire with. However using the same rod against the back of my knife I can create a massive shower of sparks capable of lighting any suitable tinder, so if you have ever struggled with fire rods, try using a decent bit of steel instead of the striker it comes with (old hacksaw blades are perfect for this).

There is something immensely satisfying being able to start a fire from a spark, if you have never done it before I suggest starting with a cotton wool pad/ball as they ignite easily and is a great way to get young ones involved in building the campfire.

One thing to consider is that the 10 C's of Survival does not account for any type of water filter or purifier, so we must assume that fire will be the main method of making water safe to drink whilst in the wild

At the time of writing, you can get the Kombat UK Ferro Rod Fire Starter, £6.95 HERE (no affiliation)

Let us know what type of fire starter you prefer in the comments below



  1. My brother and I have done quite a few survival courses and fire lighting is one of the best skills I learn from this, but it is one of those skills that has to be practised - which I'm sure you do but many do not! I like cyclone matches as well, just because they're fun!

    1. Absolutely! almost more important than fire lighting is knowing how to build a fire properly too, a skill that many people have lost these days


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