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7 Essential Items Your Fire Starter Kit Needs to Have

Preparing for any outdoor activity should include having a reliable way to make a fire. A well-prepared fire starter kit can provide warmth and light, cook food, or melt snow for water when necessary.

Here, we’ll outline the seven essential items your fire starter kit needs. From waterproof matches to tinder, these items will help ensure you have all the supplies you need to start your fire.

How to Build a Basic Fire Kit

What Are the 3 Components You Need to Start a Fire?

Starting a fire requires three core components: heat, fuel, and oxygen. You won’t be able to start a fire without these three components.

Heat is the energy source that will ignite the fuel and make it burn. This can come in the form of a lighter or match and another heat source, such as a Ferro rod or magnesium block.

The fuel is what will actually burn up; this could be wood, paper, or other combustible materials.

Oxygen is necessary for the combustion process to occur. It acts as an oxidizer for the burning material enabling it to burn rapidly and sustainably.

Mortons on the Move by campfire
We love a good campfire but getting it stated reliably is part of being able to enjoy it.

What Is a Fire Starter Kit?

A fire starter kit contains the necessary items needed to quickly and efficiently get a fire going, such as a lighter, matches, a flint striker, kindling, and tinder. Additionally, some kits also include waterproof containers and fire accelerants such as petroleum jelly or wax to help jumpstart the combustion process.

Why Do You Need a First Starter Kit?

A fire starter kit is a must-have for any outdoor activity, providing an easy, reliable way to start a fire. Whether for cooking food, providing warmth in cold weather, or just providing light, having a fire can provide comfort and security to campers and hikers alike.

Having a fire starter kit on hand can save valuable time in an emergency, ensuring you have the heat source you need to survive the night.

What Does the Military Use for Fire Starter?

The official fire starter of the U.S. Military is the Spark-Lite Firestarter kit. Each kit contains a Spark-Lite Firestarter, eight Tinder-Quik Firestarter Tabs, a plastic storage container, and instructions.

The firestarter is a simple, lightweight device with a wheel on the end. You rotate the wheel with your thumb to generate sparks. You can do this with one hand.

This ignites the tabs, which consist of special wax-treated cotton for easy lighting. The tabs light quickly, even when wet. They burn for up to two minutes, allowing time to add more fuel to the fire.

Pro Tip: First time building a campfire? Use these 5 Best Techniques To Start A Fire Like An Expert.

Close up of person using fire starter kit to make campfire
Investing in a fire starter kit makes it quick and easy to get your campfire roaring.

7 Essential Items Your Fire Starter Kit Needs to Have

We recommend at least three flame sources to create heat. Essentially, that’s a backup plan (and maybe another backup plan), as a flame can be the hardest to create. A couple of tinder sources are also essential, though other elements are essential to any good fire starter kit.

Waterproof Container

A waterproof container is essential for any emergency fire starter kit. The container will help keep your supplies, such as matches and tinder, safe from the elements. It will also ensure you have quick access to them when needed.


A lighter in your fire starter kit is a must, as it’s the quickest way to start a fire. Make sure to get a high-quality lighter that has an adjustable flame setting and is strong enough to withstand getting wet.

Waterproof Matches

Waterproof matches can be very useful in wet environments where regular matches may fail and are a good secondary flame source. 

They come with a striker box to rub against the match tip and are extremely reliable when starting fires in damp conditions.

Mortons on the Move by campfire
Whether you’re backpacking or RVing, pack a fire starter kit to help make your campfire.

Ferro Rod

This small rod made of iron, cerium, and a couple of other substances puts off sparks when struck with a hard surface such as a rock or knife blade. That makes it an ideal item for quickly and easily lighting fires.

Tinder Rope

Tinder rope is a great addition to any fire starter kit. That’s because you can even use it in wet weather conditions. 

It consists of fine strands of tightly wrapped cotton or jute fiber saturated with paraffin wax, making it highly flammable and waterproof. It requires only minimal heat before catching fire.

Petroleum Jelly and Cotton Wool

This combination is highly flammable and creates a long-lasting flame when ignited properly. It’s perfect for starting fires in wet or windy conditions. To use it, simply add petroleum jelly to some cotton balls, and store them in an airtight container. 

When needed, ignite a cotton ball with either a match or lighter. These will typically burn for several minutes until you get a fire going.


A knife is useful for cutting wood. But you can also use it for scraping magnesium rods or striking Ferro rods, which can both create sparks to ignite tinder materials.

Pro Tip: If you’re building a fire, make sure you know these 9 Campfire Rules You Should Never Break.

Man building campfire
If you don’t want to build your own kit, you can buy a ready-made fire starter kit.

Get a Ready-Made Fire Starter Kit

So you understand the need for a good fire starter kit when heading into the great outdoors, but it seems like a chore to assemble everything. That’s okay. We’ve got you covered. There are several ready-made fire starter kits on the market. 

Most of them, however, don’t come with the several sources of flame that we recommend as a backup. These fire starter kits are all great, but we still recommend adding a lighter and waterproof matches to each.

1. Weyland Fire Starter Kit

The Weyland Fire Starter Kit is the priciest on our list but also the most comprehensive. While we still recommend adding a lighter and waterproof matches to the mix, the Weyland kit comes with the most varied assortment of tinder. It’s the only one to include bellows to help keep the fire burning once started.

This kit comes with a Ferro rod and striker multi-tool. Still, it is unique because it includes fatwood kindling, compressed wood campfire sticks, and waterproof saturated cotton wicks. It also has a waterproof reusable wax-coated hemp match, wood wool tumbleweed fire starters, a wax-infused fat rope stick, and a fire-starting rope. 

Beyond all the actual fire-starting materials, it also features a char cloth, an age-old way of creating and transferring embers into a fire bundle. It also has bellows and a compact carry bag that measures just 6 inches-by-4 inches-by-2.5 inches in size. 

WEYLAND Fire Starting Kit with Flint and Steel -...
  • This Fire Starter Kit makes a perfect addition to an emergency...
  • Essentials in this Fire Starting Kit are: magnesium fire starter,...
  • In addition to flint and steel - fat wood wool tumbleweed fire...

2. Bushcraft Survival Ferro Rod Fire Starter Kit

Looking for something a little more simplistic? The Bushcraft fire starter kit might be more your style if you’re more likely to be in less risky situations, like simple backpacking, day hikes, or fishing. 

This kit comes with a Ferro rod, a handy multi-tool striker, a jumbo-sized 6-inch tinder rope, a 2-foot paracord, and a handy lanyard pouch to carry it in.

Bushcraft Survival Gear Ferro Rod Fire Starter |...
  • 15,000 STRIKES | Composed of a high quality ferrocerium and...

3. Kaeser Wilderness Supply 15-Piece Fire Starter Kit

Though it doesn’t include as many different sources of tinder as the Weyland Fire Starter Kit, this Kaeser Wilderness Supply Fire Starter Kit is also rather robust. It comes with a couple of its own unique elements. 

It comes with a multi-tool striker and Ferro rod, as well as several tinder options. That includes jute rope, fatwood sticks, and a mix of fatwood chips and dust. That makes it extremely easy to ignite a fire.

This kit uses no chemicals and doesn’t use cut-down trees for its tinder. What really makes this fire starter kit unique, though, is its inclusion of a 3.5-inch knife and 21-inch cable hand saw. That makes it easier to collect more fuel for the fire. Everything nestles into a handy tin container that fits in your pocket.

Kaeser Wilderness Supply Fatwood Fire Starting...
  • (1) Tin full of sticks of fatwood, 4" long. Saves you the time of...
  • (1) Tinder Wick, 12" hemp rope infused in soy wax for a long...
  • (1) High quality ferro rod, 3" long, 5/16" thick, will last for...
How to Build a Fire || REI

Have the Right Tools to Start a Fire

Starting a fire can seem overwhelming if you don’t have the right tools, but having the right fire starter kit and supplies makes it much easier. Fire starter kits come in all shapes, sizes, and varieties. Make sure to look into what kind of fire starter kit is the best for your activity or campsite.

And if you’d rather not go through the trouble of assembling your own fire starter kit, pre-assembled kits provide everything you need for success. Whatever route you decide to take when finding the right fire-starting essentials, always have the right supplies and tools on hand.

When it comes down to it all, having the right gear is key to creating an enjoyable outdoor experience and being prepared for emergencies. No matter what type of outdoor activity you’re doing, you’re now ready to safely head off on your next grand adventure!

What fire starter kit on our list caught your eye? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

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About Tom Morton

Tom, a Pacific Northwest native, is our technical genius. Born in Washington and raised in Alaska before settling in Michigan. He's the man who keeps our operation running, both figuratively and literally.

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Tom specializes in RV solar systems and lithium batteries. He made history as the first documented individual to use a Tesla battery module as an RV battery. Tom has personally assisted countless RVers with system installations and has educated thousands more through his videos and articles.

Cinematography is another of Tom's passions, showcased in his work on the Go North series. You can see his camera skills on display in The RVers TV show on Discovery Channel and PBS where he also stars as a co-host.

Tom's mechanical expertise extends beyond RVs to boats, planes, and all things mechanical. He's renowned for taking on maintenance and repair projects single-handedly and is often spotted underneath RVs, making him the technical backbone of our endeavors.

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