The consensus is that nothing feels better or soothes the savage brow than a good campfire. Just having the flickering flames available for a comfort factor, providing some needed warmth, or available for cooking a hot meal, a fire can be an essential ingredient of having a working Bug Out survival camp set up. Sometimes though, just starting a fire can be a chore. If the conditions are wet with little available fire starting materials at hand, then building a comfort fire can turn out to be just another stressful task.
By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache
Rubbing two sticks together may work if the conditions are ideal, but most preppers are not that skillful. Even if you have a butane lighter, you still need fire materials at hand to build a quick fire.
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All this is made much easier if you prepare fire building fire bags ahead of time. This is a simple process and you’ll be ready at any time to have some base materials available to light up for a quick fire, ready to add kindling and larger materials. This should be done in advance to be stored at home or cached at a designated Bug Out location.
Bags for Fire Bags
Folks this is not rocket science and there is no reason not to prep some fire bags well ahead of time for when they are needed. These bags can come from an infinite number of sources, and most often are something you might already toss into the trash, recycle bin, or burn outside in an outdoor fireplace or fire ring.
Fire bags can be as small or large as you care to fabricate. Use your best judgement as to how much fire material you want gathered and ready to go. These bags can be easily stored in the garage, an outside tool shed or storage building, or kept at a Bug Out location.
If you are forced to Bug Out then one or two of these fire bags can also be quickly grabbed and tossed into the travel vehicle. At home, these bags can be left in the corner of the garage or tool room to continue to stuff with fire starting materials.
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Easy to prep bags can include such options as outdoor grilling charcoal bags. This is my go-to bag for building fire bags. The paper material used to make bags of charcoal are usually made from a couple layers of brown craft paper that is a good, heavy material. Even the bag itself can be torn apart and burned as separate pieces. Otherwise the entire stuffed bag can be used as the fire starter base.
All kinds of larger plastic or paper bags can be used, too. Right now I have several fire bags ready to be taken to Bug Out Camp in yard bedding mulch sacks/bags, bird seed bags, and dog food bags. These are heavy duty bags that can hold a lot of fire fodder materials plus they can also just be burned themselves filled with fire starter stuff.
Fire Bag Stuffing
This is really the easy part. Every day you probably throw a ton of burn materials in your trash cans at the house or work that could be separated out and stuffed into a fire bag. The list is virtually endless. Just get creative thinking any possible piece of paper that can be easily and quickly set afire for a fast burn to start a hot fire.
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In the list of paper materials we stuff into fire bags includes every kind of junk mail that comes every day and more. Sales flyers, notices, mailed bill envelopes, extra letter insert papers, catalogs, magazine inserts, advertisements, envelopes from business correspondence, coupons, newsletters, pure ole junk mail you never even open, toilet and paper towel rolls, food packaging and any other piece of clean, dry paper you would otherwise just throw away.
Every day just carry these materials out to the garage or wherever you keep your fire bags and toss them inside. As the bags fill up, mash them down inside and keep adding more. When the sacks eventually totally fill up, then roll the tops down to keep them closed and secure. You could even staple the tops closed so nothing spills out.
These will be relatively lightweight bags that can easily be tossed into the bug out vehicle or in the bed of a pickup truck or SUV. Build up as many of these fire bags that you care to deal with, but probably at least a half dozen or so to get you started at Bug Out Camp or a home outside fire pit or even an indoor fireplace for a controlled fire.
Starting a Fire Bag Fire
I use these fire bags in one of two ways. If I want to eventually have a big bonfire at Bug Out Camp, then I just lay the entire fire bag down into the rock lined fire ring. I mash it down as flat as possible. Then I pile on small kindling limbs I pick up in the camp area yard. Mother Nature is always happy to supply plenty of those via wind storms. Next, I will stack on top two or three pieces of split firewood we keep stocked nearby. Viola. Light the bag and watch it go. Sometimes I use charcoal lighter to quicken the blaze up.
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If I want a smaller fire in camp, then I just open the fire bag and take out enough paper to get a fire going. Add sticks and kindling, then bigger pieces of wood as desired. A fire bag full of junk mail and other paper will last for starting several fires. So, don’t toss your big product bags or all that junk mail and waste paper. Stuff your bags full and just turn them into handy fire bags. There is no easier way to get a Bug Out Camp fire going.