Best ever firestarter for kayakers

Seriously though
Richland mentioned carrying a “magnesium starter”. I assume that is a Firesteel or similar unit.

Does anyone carry an actual piece of magnesium to shave and then strike with a firesteel?


A magnesium . . .
. . . starter has a block of magnesium plus a striker to make sparks.

Cannot find it now
but I had a link to a site where they sold magnesium rods of different sizes. I will try to relocate it.


Thermite fire starters:


– Last Updated: Feb-06-10 11:56 AM EST –

I use several different types depending on what I'm planning. All are interchangeable. I take the lint from the dryer and stuff empty cardboard egg cartons. I then recycle the left over Yankee candle wax after the candle has served it's useful life and melt it into the cartons leaving them to cool. After, I cut the carton up, and place them in a ziplock. I then have starters that will burn for 10 or 15 minutes. I usually keep a magnesium / flint block in a dry bag when I paddle and between the two I'm never without a warm fire.

I’ve got one of these…

Two sticks
Unless you can start a fire when it really matters (w/ nothing but what you can find in the wild) I’m not very impressed. I Carry two Bic lighters, they haven’t let me down yet.

Bic lighters . . .
. . . don’t work when wet. Anyone who can make fire with two stick can probably shoot lightning bolts out of his ass.

And more to peruse…

Testing different types…about a quarter of the way down the thread…

a pocket knife…
or buck knife and match sticks or lighter. Whittle a stick to make tinder. If you really want high pitch, bring a 6 inch block of SPF 2x4, and you have yourself 2 weeks worth of high pitch tinder.

Firesteel & a knife along with…
Good tinder.

That’s all you need. Why waste time with anything else. Maybe a firepiston is cool too, but there are much more reliable ways.

Don’t get into the “gadgetry”… it will only make you cold & broke.

Paddle easy,


Bring From Home - Find Along The Way
You can use dryer lint with the petroleum jelly. Then there are those magneseum flint things:

For myself, I try and find dry brush, like dead leaves & small branches to use as tinder, and pile them under the wood. It works great.

This is a special topic for me. I love to start a good hot burning fire just before sunset and stay up late w/my dog in my lap. She loves a good campfire too! I enjoy collecting firewood if I know I’ll be in a place I can do it. If I’m in a state park that is clean of wood, I kayak to another beach and get it there to bring back, as I can really load up my sit on top.


native materials
in my area balsam trees are easy to find. The blisters on the trunk are filled with highly combustible sap.

Just puncture some with a small twig.

Dead spruce boughs in the understory…even when its raining.

Birchbark… I have quite a bit in my yard.

When you absolutely got to have fire…
You can talk all you want about handy-dandy fire starters and one match fires, but when it’s GOT to get lit there’s one sure way to get even wet wood going.

Flame On!

fire jelly
i saw some canadian who had a squeeze bottle of av claer jell that worked well.

better fire starters
the best fire starter i have is ripped wood with a chain saw and a light coating of wax. i like ash. store in a plastic bag or alunimun foil. i use this idea to start my woodstove all winter. the alunimun foil pack it like a foil meal. i save it for winter camping

I start with kayakers having high fat
content, and then I cut them into flaps like salmon filets, and dry them thoroughly on a rack.

I learned this at the Burning Man festival.

paraffin and sawdust
Molded to whatever size and shape you want. Doesn’t matter if it gets wet or breaks apart in storage. Wrap in paper tape (painting or masking tape).

One method is to pour the melted wax/sawdust mixture into a cardboard egg carton. When hard, break off the individual egg sized chunks. Lights with a match. I find the round chunks uncomfortable to keep in my PFD pocket with the rest of the survival items, so I make the chunks in the bottom of paper cups, resulting in wafers about 1/4 - 3/8" thick.

If you want a fire
start with some dead pine bows. Break a dead branch off a pine tree and light it in your hand with a Bic or whatever. Get it going good and lay it under some sticks. The pitch in the dead needles is oil, and it will get your fire going as good as anything you stuff in a can. I’ve started a fire with sticks. It takes patience and a good preparation of tinder, kindling, etc. A Bic lighter will work fine even after a swim. It will dry much faster than most people can start a fire with a can of goo and a steel. I carry a Scout Fire Steel and a Bic lighter in my PFD.

dryer lint
The best thing to use is the lint out of a dryer.I carry one in my survival kit.