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Making fire as survival skill
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jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Making fire as survival skill on 07/25/2013 17:08:28 MDT Print View

Generally, I'm skeptical of making fire as a survuval skill, better to get in sleeping bag in tent.

Someone was hurt on Mt Hood. Called SAR. Built fire. SAR was able to easily locate them because of fire:

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Making fire as survival skill on 07/25/2013 18:52:16 MDT Print View

Getting into a sleeping bag and tent only works if you have insulation sufficient for the temperature and all of your insulation is dry. A fire is typically made when that is not the case. A fire gives you external heat. You can survive almost any low temperature - just add more wood. Ray Mears claimed that with a lean to, raised bed, and a long log fire, you can survive down to -50 degrees without a sleeping bag. He has the experience to back that up.
If you are day hiking and get stuck overnight, a fire is the only way to stay warm unless you are going to crawl in a emergency bivy and tolerate being borderline hypothermic.

This does not work when you are exposed to a storm. You need to be in a sheltered in a forest, don't even bother trying to make a fire in a storm on the side of a mountain at the timberline.

A tent and fire are not compatible. A tarp and fire pair up nicely. Set it up lean-to style, as a canopy, or as a 3 sided shelter with a small opening and you can heat yourself with a fire placed a safe distance in front of your shelter. The tarp reflects the heat to keep your back warm. This is standard procedure for my winter trips when setting up camp for the night. We have a shelter place to relax under while being warmed by a fire. It really saves weight over carrying super warm camp clothing. If I expect it to get extra chilly that night, I will drag over a few more logs and if I wake up cold in the late hours of the night, I can warm right back up. I rarely hike in an area where a tent is necessary and the weather is harsh enough to make a fire impossible.

Being in the pacific northwest, I understand why you are skeptical of fire as a survival skill. All of that moisture can make a fire extremely difficult.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Making fire as survival skill on 07/25/2013 19:07:50 MDT Print View


Richard May
(richardmay) - M

Locale: Swamplands.
Re: Making fire as survival skill on 07/25/2013 19:23:12 MDT Print View

I've thought of it as a survival skill for several reasons:

- warmth
- sterilization (water, needles, etc)
- light
- signaling
- emotional comfort
- drying wet clothes

Plus I'm proud of my skill. :D

Edited by richardmay on 07/25/2013 19:23:51 MDT.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Making fire as survival skill" on 07/26/2013 10:36:38 MDT Print View

I think people would be surprised how difficult it can be to make a fire- even when you have a lighter. It's a skill. The wetter and colder it is, the more you may need a fire, and the harder it is to make one. I practice occasionally and it never ceases to amaze me how much harder it is to do when conditions are not perfect.

I carry a lighter and vaseline soaked cotton balls. The cotton balls work fantastic under normal conditions for lighting a fire.

Not green, but a bombproof method of making a fire in the worst conditions is with a road flare. It should be a last resort for obvious reasons, but it will light wet wood. I have had to use this method twice in my life.

Mike Farrell

Locale: C.A
Re: "Making fire as survival skill" on 07/27/2013 15:06:19 MDT Print View

I agree with Dena 100%. Fire making is a skill that anyone spending any time in the outdoors should master. There is a lot more to fire making than people think. For me a very sharp knife is a essential part of fire making. Making tinder and splitting wood into various sizes.