Survival gear is one of the most scam-ridden industries out there.
Most people have no concept of what survival even means anymore. When you think about it, we’re all practicing survival every day. Why do you need specialized gear that costs an arm and a leg?
You don’t, you just think you do. There’s two big reasons for this.
- Because you’ve been lied to about what is and isn’t necessary.
- Because you have no idea what you really need.
While we’re practicing survival every day, most of us are really bad at it. If all cell phones suddenly stopped working, we’d see a real-life zombie apocalypse. Millions of mindless drones wailing and shuffling around.
I’d give it three days before people start cannibalizing each other. They have no survivability.
How about you?
If you couldn’t go to the grocery store to get your food, could you provide for yourself and your family? If you found yourself stranded, could you make it through? Do you even know what you need?
Today, we’re only looking at one critical element of survival.
Can You Make Fire?
You need fire to live if you don’t have electricity. You need it to cook, to stay warm, for a wide variety of activities.
Making fire is a basic human skill.
The funny thing is, most basic humans can’t do it anymore. Just like cooking, or holding a conversation longer than five seconds without looking at your phone.
I’m not about to show you how to make fire with sticks, or even how to make char cloth. These are useful skills, but we don’t live in 1817. We live in 2017. There is technology available to you.
Most recommend carrying a ferro rod.
The ferrocerium rod is a handy tool, sure. But you need a knife or other striker to make it work. Even if you carry a ferro rod, it’s smart to carry redundancies.
Today, I present to you the best option going in fire starting technology.
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. Zippo lighters are the best option going in fire starting technology.
While its true that they sound cool, they look cool, hell, they ARE cool…that’s not the reason you should be carrying them.
There is another reason that maybe you haven’t thought of.
To make fire, you need a few things. Here’s a short list:
- Slow burning fuel (certain woods)
- Fast burning fuel (tinder)
- A spark
Your Zippo (when topped off) contains two of these things. Fast burning fuel and a spark, via lighter fluid and a piece of flint. These are both consumable – they will run out.
Your lighter fluid will run out even if you don’t use it. Zippos retain lighter fluid with cotton inside them. That lighter fluid soaked cotton isn’t in a vacuum – it will evaporate.
Your flint will wear out with repeated use, but it will last far longer than your fluid. What’s more, you can keep spare flints inside your lighter’s cotton compartment.
You should keep at least 5 spare flints inside your lighter. This is where your Zippo becomes a piece of survival gear.
What makes the Zippo the handiest fire starting tool in the world? The fact that you can store several flints and know that you have a spark on hand at all times.
If your lighter runs out of fluid, no big deal. If your wick becomes unusable, who cares? You can make a spark, which means you can make a fire.
You light your tinder with this spark, and your technique doesn’t have to be perfect. There are plenty of sparks per flint, and you have many flints.
Get your tinder burning strongly enough to light your actual fuel. There’s more art to it, but you can’t do shit without that first spark.
The Number 1 Survival Item You Don’t Carry
Sticking a Zippo in your pocket is easy as it gets. It has no learning curve, and it’s hard to rationalize leaving it at home.
If you have a Zippo and a good knife, you’re better prepared than the vast majority of people. Throw in a bit of cordage on the knife and a bandanna or handkerchief and you’ve got a minimalist’s survival kit.
Now you focus on developing skill instead of buying more crap you don’t need. You can’t buy skills and experience.
You actually have to go out and develop them. Get to it.