Starting fire is an important outdoors skill. Fire starting is a perishable skill and I wanted to practise. This is both the first fire from my PSK Personal Survival Kit and my Mora Garberg.
This is backyard practise in suburbia so I'm away from structures and fences and am using a stove. I'm insulating the ground with bricks and catching ash in a foil pan. There is a bucket of water nearby to deal with extinguishing the fire should the need arise. Since my stove is open I follow the local laws for braziers. I have my bush whacking belt, from which I'm using my Garberg knife. The black blob below that is my PSK. I'm going to use these two sticks at the bottom for kindling and fuel. My aim is to boil a cup of water using nothing more than what is pictured.
Here's the content of my PSK. I have detailed the content of this kit in other posts so I won't go into it. But, what I really need is the red-mini Bic lighter and a ranger band. There are plenty of other items I could use to help, but I don't want to make it too easy. I'm going to boil a cup of water. I do have water purification tablets in this kit, but this session is about the fire practise.
Practise making curls from the sticks. It takes a bit of getting used to the knife. I probably should make feather sticks, but a ton of curls caught in my hat will also work. Some people carry a pencil sharpener to turn twigs into shavings fast. Small shavings will catch easily and burn fast and hot.
All of this wood is processed but the Garberg from 3 sticks. It was good to get some knife practise in. On the Garberg is a cut section of rubber bicycle inner tube. This is a common flame extender used for fire lighting in the wet.
Light the rubber, throw it into the shavings. After a few seconds it went up like it was paper. There was a lot of heat but this would not last long.
The medium sized sticks went on. Ideally there should be more of these and they should be thinner. It was touch and go, but the sticks eventually did catch. I didn't even need to blow on them. As Dave Canterbury says, fire loves chaos so there was no one-sticking this fire.
Finally, in go the fuel wood. These are will produce the coals that give off long heat. These catch with no problems.
This is the aluminum cup from my PSK. It is from a Swiss Army canteen that is just the right size to protect the PSK and give me a.comtainer to boil water and cook in. The cup sits on the side of the stove and water is at a rolling boil. The butterfly hands barely got warm and I could handle the cup without gloves.
Cooking over flame is going to put a lot of soot and creosote onto the side of the cup. A paste made from ashes and water works well to clean the cup.
So, what did I learn? I'm confident in my fire skills and my PSKs fire starting equipment. The key to sucessful fires is prep and I could really have done with a few more pieces of wood about little finger sized. I got better at making curls with the Garbeg too. All valuable skills.
Until next time.