I'm the firestarter, Where's the firelighters??
You're the firestarter, twisted firestarter
Let's start by saying the obvious. Fire is one of the basic & single most important essential elements for individual survival in the wild. Whether it be for warmth, cooking, light, or a sense of security, the human need for fire is as old as our d.n.a memory.
There are myriad of ways to make fire. I'm currently able to use 30 or 40 independant combinations of material for fire starting from Gneiss to Rhodonite, from Tundra fungi to Guga shit on Sula Sgeir, to the use of oil Shale or concave ice - none of these methods involve matches, trips to the Co-op, lighters, conventional fuels or tapping electricity from batteries etc, although left-field thinking & alternative use of modern equipment should never be frowned upon. I'll freely admit to being partial to taking a wee supply of pre-gathered pine resin or Hex methenamine -Hexi- tablets with me on protracted forays. Hex methenamine tablets burn virtually smokeless, with a high energy density, & leave no ash. Pine resin has even more advantages.
With fire you do not just combat hypothermia & dry your clothes out. With an individual ability to make fire in any survival situation, you also open the door to, & off the top of my head, water purification & desalination, the ability to cauterize wounds, communicate at distance, create toothpaste, render food digestible, soften or harden materials for kayak or shaft repairs, preserve food, & often most importantly, provide yourself with psychological security.
You will never kayak with me & see a lighter in my pocket, but you will see this dangling around my neck wherever we go. My handmade stag horn handled strike.
Mischmetal 78% Iron Oxide 20% Magnesium Oxide 2% = Ferrocerium. The initial strike ignition temperature is around 200°C, the post-ignition burn temperature in combination with the other element ores, around 1/2100°C +
There are no moving parts, no springs & there is nothing to go wrong or run out. I can & often do, use this to make a fire in 100% of the conditions I encounter, in hurricane winds, at altitude, in torrential downpours & blizzards, on desolate & remote beaches, to equal snowfields. When £1.99 Coop lighters have long failed I have rescued people by means of fire who had otherwise given up hope & bedded down in freezing wet equipment, grimly hanging onto the thought of a better tomorrow, one of their kayaks already lost... Items such as a Ferrocerium strike & living skills such as percussion firestarting are again, like Greenlandic rolls when used as a kayakers principal defence & survival, invaluable skills that take patience to learn & develop, yet reward the practioner with confidence beyond that of the layman. Beyond modern misinformation, the illusion that everything you need to survive living can be bought with a piece of plastic, there is living to do, mud to get between the toes, & experience to be had. An individuals inability to think, calmly, simplistically outside the box in a wild environment, will often prove far more costly than the equipment they bought to take them there....
The ability to make a fire in extreme conditions can provide a physiological & psychological base for the rational to operate & ground in, increasing the survival advantage of an individual massively. Within true survival, there is no central authority or safety net, & your dictionary of repertoire is only as expansive as your investment in that very knowledge, that age & aeon of traditional skills upon which civilization is balanced.
Life is a cruel teacher. It punishes you first & then gives you the lesson. Like it or not, that is the process of true learning - Robert Kiyosaki