Another good element or tool to put in your firecraft kit is the combination of flint and steel. This is one of the most primitive means of starting fire, and dates back to the beginnings of the iron age, around 1200 BC. Although the flint is not the important part, any hard and non-porous rock with a sharp edge will do. It is used to chip off very small pieces of carbon steel off the striker and as the fine particles break off, they oxidize and ignite immediately in the air with a yellow to white spark. The trick is to catch these sparks on a medium that is almost on the verge of igniting itself. This is where the char cloth comes in.
Char cloth is made, usually from cotton cloth, by heating it in an enclosed container to limit the amount of oxygen that is around the material. The cloth "bakes" without air around it and gets toasted to black "char" and is ready to take a spark that will grow to an ember that can be used to ignite a dry tinder.
This past weekend, I completed the BushclassUSA elective, "Student Practice for Flint and Steel with Charred Cloth." It was a great lesson in first making charred cloth, then cooling it down and using the freshly made char cloth to start a tinder bundle on fire. Here is the video submission I made for this lesson and it was a great adventure and fun to do. I hope you enjoy watching.
Please check into learning this great fire starting skill and consider putting together a fire tinder kit that includes a steel and a good piece of flint or chert. Even a piece of quartz can work. This will really add to your adventures in the wild and that my friends is what it is all about. Happy Exploring.