Thursday, March 14, 2013

LOTM: survival tip

I bet you-all are sick of hearing survival tips from this little lady, but you're just going to have to tough it out for one more post. You see, the Ladies of the Mountains are all posting their tips today because we care so dearly about all of you and we want to make sure you're equipped for your next adventure.

Although I've shared many tips before, I think the most important skill you can learn when it comes to surviving in the wild is how to build a fire. Every survival course I've been to (all two of them) has focused a fair bit on fires. You see, not only do they keep you warm, they also provide you with comfort and they give you something to boil water on to ensure it's safe to drink. Win-win-win, right!?

So, here are some fire starting tricks that I've picked up during my days as an outdoor explorer:

My first tip comes from my days as a Girl Guide. Back in my preteens, I remember going on camping trips where we used a segment of an egg carton stuffed with lint and Vaseline as our fire starters and hot damn did those bad boys work. To make them, you just take an egg carton, stuff each individual cup with a bit of lint, put a tablespoon of Vaseline in the middle and then stuff more lint in until it reaches the top. When it comes to making your fire, you light the carton and put small tinder and kindling on top until your fire is large enough for real wood.

Now, if you're in an emergency situation, that might mean you've been separated from your pack, which would likely mean you've been separated from luxury items like egg carton fire starters. Keeping that in mind, I recommend that you keep some sort of fire starter—a lighter, matches or a flint and steel—on your body, along with something to use as tinder. Tinder could be a cotton ball, dryer lint, cedar shavings or birch bark. To keep those items effective, it's important to have them inside a tin or some sort of air tight container so, no matter the situation, your tools stay dry.

Another tip to remember when making a fire is to give it air. I've watched so many people attempt to make fires and often, if they've never done it before, they smoother the fire by placing too much kindling over the flames all at once. Fire making is a slow process. You need to work your way up, beginning with tinder, then kindling and then larger pieces of wood. If your flame starts to waver and you're losing your fire, give it some air by lightly blowing on it. If the embers light up, you know there's still heat there that could again become a flame.


At my latest survival course, I also learned that it's a waste of time to start a fire if you don't have enough fuel to keep it burning for a good while. So, if you're planning to build one, be sure to collect a lot of wood. You want enough to ensure that it will at least sustain itself long enough for you to get more to last you the night.

I don't know how often you-all make fires in the wilderness, but I hope these few tips help you out the next time you do. Happy fire making, friends!

Before you head off, don't forget to check out what tips the other ladies have for you today.

Gentri of Gentri Lee
Lena of Musings
Michelle of On The Adventure
Meagan of The Egg Out West
Kelley of A Crooked Trail
And, guest blogger Jorie of Charmed Life


  1. This is a great post. I'm going camping next week (nothing rugged--I'm staying in a cabin) and I'm tempted to show up with a lint-and-vaseline-infused egg carton. That being said, I will unabashedly admit that starting fires is my hands down favorite thing about camping! So much fun!

  2. Have you ever heard of an upside down fire? My ex's dad use to do that and it worked pretty sweet. Also, I love this egg carton idea, I'm going to try it this spring.

  3. Finally a use for all that fluff cloging up my laundry room- thank you!

  4. these are great tips! I wanna go camping now haha!unfortunately it's still a bit too cold for that in netherlands

  5. these are such wonderful tips! thanks