Being self-reliant means having the ability to handle any situation on your own -- from food rations to clean drinking water to perhaps one of the most important skills -- making fire. The ability to make fire can literally mean the difference between life and death. Whether you're caught in bad weather during a camping trip or experiencing a power outage in a snowstorm, keeping warm is a necessity for everyone.
Things to think about are:
* How much room do you have in your pack or kit?
* How often will you need fire, and for what purpose?
* Which options give you the best flexibility?
There are all types of fire starters on the market, from simple magnesium flints to elaborate fuels, and each has their place in a family's emergency plan. For times when you need something small and simple, the old stand-by of waterproof matches is a must. Light, compact and extremely portable, there is no reason why they shouldn't be a part of every survival kit you have.
Looking for something with longer burning potential? Then Coughlan's Waterproof Fire Sticks or Solid Fuel Tablets are the way to go. Still light and portable, both of these items are non-toxic and odorless, providing quick heat in any situation.
One of the newest products on the market is InstaFire. It has water-repellant properties, a fifteen-minute burn time and a thirty-year shelf life. Use it to light campfires, prepare charcoal briquettes, or as a safe and reliable fuel source for cooking or heating in emergency situations. One pouch, one fire -- Easy as 1-2-3. InstaFire pouches burn for 15-20 minutes and leave only a small amount of biodegradable residue.
If you need a reliable solution for cooking as well as heat, it's worth considering a portable cook stove, such as the QuickStove. Weighing in at less than a pound, this little powerhouse can boil water in minutes and is completely reusable, to ensure you have a heating and cooking source for seasons to come. Having a heating source that can also cook meals for your family is a multi-tasker that gives peace of mind, even in a crisis.
Any time you're starting a fire, whether to keep warm or to cook a meal, using good judgment is always an essential part of the equation. Think before you strike:
* Is it too windy?
* Is it too dry out?
* What is the surrounding ground cover like?
* What is the soil type you are building your fire on?
A wise tip is to carry more than one type of fire-making tool with you at all times. This way, if one becomes damaged, you have a back up. Also, ALWAYS practice building a fire with your chosen method BEFORE an emergency, so you know how to best utilize your fire-making tool. Practice makes perfect and, in this case, it also makes you prepared.