Today I am sharing pictures of my cook stove and fire starters I have used and like. It is called a Sierra Zip Stove. One place you can buy it is here: http://zzstove.com/mcart/index.html It burns twigs, pine cones, leaves, bark, and other woods readily available around a campsite, as well as charcoal and other solid fuels. I like it because you don’t have to carry fuel. I keep a small bundle of dried twigs with the stove just in case it’s raining and I need to get a fire going. It has a battery operated adjustable speed fan which works like a forge. You can get a very hot fire going with a few twigs and pine cones, in just a few minutes. The sellers say: “the SIERRA weighs only 1 lb yet creates up to 18,000 BTU/hr, enough heat to boil a quart of water in four minutes”. It has a windshield for faster cooking on windy days and a grill for barbecuing burgers, squirrel etc. I have figured out a way to even use it as a rotisserie. The one and only draw back in a survival situation is the single AA battery needed to run the fan. We overcame that issue by buying a solar battery charger which we use for other items we have, like our walkie-talkies. I love this thing. It is lightweight, efficient, easy to use and leaves no sign of any cook fire. You can use it under your lean-to and you don’t need to carry/buy fuel.
The other pictures are of various fire starters I have made that are quick and easy to make and really help get a fire going in any situation. The first picture is of a cardboard and match type fire starter. You make them by first dipping strike anywhere wooden matches in paraffin wax. This makes them waterproof and helps keep them burning. Next cut strips of cardboard about an inch wide and 6-12 inches long and dip them in wax also. Next wrap the strips of cardboard around 4-6 of the waxed matches and tie with string. Finally hold the string tail and dip again in wax to hold everything together. I have made two sizes. The smaller 6 inch strips of cardboard are perfect for the survival pack and the ones made with longer strips of cardboard for general camping use. These are of course a limited supply item but they are worth making and keeping for wet, cold weather situations. With one of these fire starters, some pine cones and a little gentle patience you can get a good fire going even in wet weather.
The next fire starter I have used is so simple and I have used them in plenty of situations. Simply put a bunch of dryer lint in each section of an egg carton. Then pour melted paraffin wax over it. There is no need to fill it with the wax, just about a tablespoon spooned over is enough. These work great but are only used around the fire pit. I feel these are too big for survival packing.
The final fire starting item I have is a small zip lock bag of cotton balls mixed with petroleum jelly. These are my favorite. You can make a small zip lock bag that fits into your pocket. The small baggie in the picture will start about 30 fires. It is very small and easy to tuck into a pocket. They burn like crazy. I love these. Or you can keep a larger bag in your pack. These are simple to make and take up very little space. One cotton ball saturated in the petroleum jelly is enough to get a fire going. I made them by taking a bunch of cotton balls and putting them in my zip lock bag, scooped in a few heaping tablespoons of the petroleum jelly and set it in the sun for a few hours. Every once in a while I would squeeze and work the bag to get the jelly to saturate the cotton balls and that was it. When you want to start a fire separate a cotton ball and sort of fluff it up by pulling it apart and presto-instant fire.
Keep on Preppin!
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