Thermal Regulation and The Emergency Fire Kit
As I write this, nighttime temperatures in southwest Montana are averaging 0 to -3 degrees Fahrenheit without wind chill. While these temperatures are cold, it can get much colder in this region.
These types of temperatures combined with the fact that human beings do not have the aid of fur to help them maintain that much needed 98.6-degree body temperature. We need be prepared if we are going to survive when we find ourselves stuck outside in these conditions.
When it comes to being stuck in cold conditions one of the best ways we can maintain or even recover that body temperature is an outside heat source, and the most readily available heat source in the outdoors is fire. So, we can conclude that having the ability to start a fire is going to be critical to your survival in cold conditions.
Fortunately, there are many tools that you can use to get a fire going in some very bad conditions. One of the better fire-starting tools on the market today is the Zippo brand Emergency Fire Kit.
It’s about the size of a water-proof match case, so it’s easy to carry in a pocket or small pack.
The case is water-tight and has two compartments. The top compartment contains a wheel type striker like you see on lighters. The bottom compartment contains five round fibrous pucks.
The Idea is to take one of the pucks out of the case and scrape it with your knife exposing the fine fibers. Then use the striker to start the fibers on fire, which in turn starts the puck on fire. Once the puck is burning it is easy to get your fine tinder going.
While it’s not the perfect solution the Zippo EFK (Emergency Fire Kit) is very good. The waterproof case is made of rugged plastic, keeping your tinder pucks and striker dry at the same time. The over all size of both tinder and striker is relatively small and easy to carry. The tinder pucks will burn for several minutes giving you ample time to get your fine tinder burning. Finally, one of the biggest advantages to the EFK is that it is easy to use. It does not take much dexterity to operate the striker wheel, and this could be important if you find yourself in the early stages of hypothermia and need to get a fire burning.
However, as I said in the previous chapter, the EFK is not perfect, and the truth be told, I have yet to find a perfect device for starting a fire. The tinder pucks in the EFK need to be kept dry, they do not work if they get wet. This can make the tinder pucks difficult to get lit if it is raining or snowing heavily, so keep that in mind if you are going to carry one of these. The tinder pucks also need to be kept out of the wind while you are trying to get your fine tinder going.
Overall, the Zippo Emergency Fire Starter is a very good choice for building a fire if you find yourself in a bad situation.
This post is not meant to be an in-depth discussion of building life saving fires in the outdoors, but rather a quick overview of the advantages and disadvantage of a particular tool. There will be many posts on this topic coming in the future.
To get your EFK and check out other fire-starting tools follow the link below.
Until next time: Don’t be Safe, Be Prepared!
Thanks for Reading,