Often considered one of the most important skills to possess, having the ability to create a fire is extremely important. Fire can be used to cook food, sanitize water, signal for assistance, and provide physical and psychological comfort. If you’ve ever tried, starting a fire can be a frustrating ordeal – even under ideal weather conditions with the right resources. Under adverse weather conditions or not having the proper resources can make it seem nearly impossible. Fortunately, there’s several techniques and tools to aid you in always being prepared to start a fire should you need to, anytime, anywhere, under nearly any weather condition.
A firestick is exactly what it sounds like, a stick used an initial fuel source to start a fire under pretty much any weather condition. It’s obvious benefit being it’s ability to start and remain lit under wet or windy conditions. These firesticks can be made with very common and inexpensive materials in just a few moments. Produced in batches, it’s a great piece of equipment to have in any survival or disaster kit.
The following materials will be needed to make these firesticks:
- Wax – You can use paraffin or soy wax, the source of the wax doesn’t matter. You can utilize old candles or go purchase some wax at hobby and craft stores or online.
- A double boiler to melt the wax, if you don’t have a double boiler, two different sized pots will also get the job done.
- Corrugated cardboard – Although you can purchase this item, it’s not necessary. It can be found in old boxes, and obtained with ease by going to local stores and simply asking the store manager for any unused corrugated cardboard boxes.
- String – This will be used to bind the finished firestick. It’s advised to avoid man man synthetics and stick to cotton or plant fiber based string to avoid any toxic fumes or byproducts. If it came down to it though, pretty much any string or cording will suffice.
Once the materials have been assembled, it’s time to make your first batch of firesticks. Begin by melting the wax in the double boiler (or pots if you don’t have a double boiler, simply place a smaller pot in a larger pot that’s been partially filled with water. Once placed over a source of heat such as an oven, the heated water will melt the max. Keep in mind that if you buy the wax, soy wax is much, much easier to clean than paraffin.)
While the wax is melting, begin to cut the cardboard into strips approximately two inches wide by six-seven inches long. If available, use one sided corrugated cardboard, if this type of cardboard isn’t available, you can always strip one side of most types of cardboard with tools such as a needle nose pliers and a utility knife. Once you’ve cut out the cardboard strips, roll them up with the corrugated side as the interior and tie them off using the string.
After that, simply dip the rolled sticks into the melted wax. With this step it’s strongly advised to use some type of tool such as salad tongs, pliers, etc., to hold the firestick while dipping it into the wax. Once the cardboard has been submerged for several moments, remove it from the melted wax and allow the wax to cool and harden. There’s no right or wrong way to gauge if you’ve used enough wax so feel free to play around and test some firesticks out to determine whether one or multiple coatings is sufficient.
That’s it! Once all you’re newly created firesticks have fully cooled, it’s a good idea to test one out of each batch you made. If done properly, the firestick should be easily ignitable with a match or other heat source and have a burn time of five-ten minutes depending on factors such as quality and construction of the cardboard you used as well as how much wax was utilized. These firesticks are quick to make and very inexpensive. There are commercially produced products that do the same thing but often are expensive compared to simply making your own.
Firesticks are an inexpensive, practical, and valuable piece of gear to have. They can make starting a fire in both fair and adverse weather a cinch and are great to have along on any camping or outdoor trip. The wax adds a waterproof quality to the firestick and makes it easy to start a fire even if the firestick has been exposed to water. Give it a try and make a few to keep around and be prepared to start a fire at any time you need to with ease.