Photo source: http://camp.wonderhowto.com
When we think of fire, we associate it with something destructive. Several cases of bush fires have been reported all over the world. Homes have been destroyed. Firemen are working double time to save people. There is something fearsome by the mere thought of fire
However, fire has also played an integral part in our lives. Its uses can vary from cooking the food we caught to combustion experiments in our science class. The concept of heat has been integrated in creating new ways on keeping us warm during the winter months. That’s why fire is very important for survival. The flexibility of this element plays a pivotal role in the world of camping.
The simplest way to start a fire is to bring a lighter with you. However, being on camping mode makes you want to associate with nature at a primal level. Living in an era wherein everything is ready-made makes you forget about the simple things. Making fire without any lighter used to be an easy task; not any more!
Photo source: http://sensiblesurvival.org
There are many ways on how to make fire without cheating. Using flint and steel is just one of them.
Flint is a form of rock that consists primarily of chert. Choosing also the right flint is important. Its edge has to be sharp so that it will take a bite off the steel. If the only type of flint that you can find within your area is rounded, it has to be shaped first until its edge is sharp enough. The trick here relies on the pressure being applied on the steel that will make it ignite. It is all about the energy being applied on the metal itself that makes it burning hot.
The ideal steel used in making fire should be rich in carbon. Quenching the steel first with oil would be very advantageous in lighting up your fire. Once properly treated, it can create thousands of sparks enough to make your fire last longer especially on long, cold evenings. Steels come in different shapes and it would depend on the user’s preference.
In order for your fire to last, you need to create a good foundation for your flame. It can be simple linen or any cloth made in cotton. You can place this in a small receptacle to create a low oxygen environment to prevent burning the cloth completely right away. Then, on the receptacle, you can create a hole where the smoke can escape.
Tinder serves as a conduit. Once the spark will land on it, it will burn. Looking for dry tinder is also very crucial but this may vary depending on the location of your intended campsite. Another alternative for tinder is oakum. This is from an old rope which can be found in caulking wooden ships. However, you need not look for an actual ship as oakum can also be purchased online.
You should first make a nest which comprises the tinder and the char cloth. Place the nest somewhere accessible within your reach. There should also be a fire bed that’s already soaked with fuel that can accept the burning tinder.
The char cloth should be placed on top of the flint. The trick here is to scrape off a small piece of metal that will burn and eventually land on the char cloth that you have prepared. Strike it at a certain angle until you can create a spark. You will know that a spark has been produced because it will create a red glow on the char cloth upon landing on it. Remember to blow on the char cloth gently until you see a crescent shape forming on it. If there’s none, continue striking on the metal.
If there’s a glow, continue blowing on it to promote the spreading of the spark or you can simply follow the wind direction as this will help in consuming the char cloth quickly. With the glowing char on hand, place it on the nest that you have previously prepared and fold it carefully. Continue to blow on it gently until you have built your own fire.
Making fire using flint and steel really takes practice, but once you already get the hang of it, it will all be a piece of cake and you are all set for camping.