Thursday, July 2, 2009

Impressions: KSF Fire Kit

Most days, I prefer to "roll my own" kits -- first aid, survival, bug-out and so on -- but there's no denying the convenience of turn-key solutions, especially if they're done right.

The KnivesShipFree Fire Kit is done right.

Firemaking is an essential skill, potentially a life-saving one, and in a survival situation conditions may not cooperate. Rain, snow, or wind can interfere, turning a bad situation dire. That's when having the right gear (and knowing how to use it) makes all the difference.

With that in mind, KSF included these items in its Fire Kit:

  • A firesteel
  • A hacksaw blade (to strike the firesteel)
  • Two wax-impregnated cotton "Tinder Disks"
  • Two wax-impregnated "Fire Cards" (printed with instructions)
  • Two "Fuel Bars"
  • Two wax-impregnated sisal "Kindle Sticks"
  • A sheet of aluminum foil
Here's the drill:
  1. Gather wood for fuel and arrange it into a flame-ready teepee (or lean-to, or whatever).
  2. Fashion the foil into a tray, placing it on the ground where you want to start your fire.
  3. Fold a Fire Card and set it on the foil tray.
  4. Tear a Tinder Disk (to expose the inner fibers) and set it on the Fire Card.
  5. Strike the firesteel, directing sparks onto the Tinder Disk's fibers 'til it lights.
  6. Lean a Fuel Bar over the flame.
  7. Un-braid a Kindle Stick into three strands and position them over the burning fuel bar.
  8. Slide the fire-bearing foil tray under the waiting teepee.
  9. Get warm, dry out, boil water, signal for help, etc.
Now that's turn-key -- easy, wot?

KSF ships its Fire Kit in a watertight
OtterBox -- which is handy, but everything in the kit works when wet anyway. The standard kit I've described costs $29.95; a Deluxe Fire Kit, with twice the fuel and a length of waxed jute cord, is available for $39.95.

Personally, I'm a believer in having three ways to start a fire, so I'll probably supplement my KSF Fire Kit with a disposable butane lighter and a half-dozen waterproof NATO matches (and a strip of striking paper, of course). There's plenty of room in the kit's OtterBox 1000 to accommodate my additions.

Like I said, I like to roll my own. As smart as the KSF Fire Kit is, I just can't leave anything alone.