catches fire easily and will burn long enough to in turn kindle the larger pieces of wood you aretrying to use.Firesteel and Fire StartersMy favorite means of making a spark to start a fire is not a match. firesteels are the choice for me.Why? Because a firesteel will always work. Even if the firesteel has been completely dunked inwater and soaking for days, a scrape or two with a sharp object will produce enough sparks to geta fire going; if you know how and if you have the proper materials.In comparison to firesteels matches just do not measure up; if you rely solely upon matches (seethe Survival Topic on How to Make Waterproof Matches) be prepared to spend some cold nightsin the wilderness. Not only that, some firesteel is good for 20,000 lights. Try carrying 20,000matches with you!Firesteels work best when you can catch the sparks they produce in some kind of dry, fuzzymaterial. Taken as a whole, fuzz has a very high surface to volume ratio and there is plenty of airspace within it. If you understand the fire tetrahedron then you know these characteristics makefor prime fire starting material.Often a fuzzy fire starter can be created on the spot; dust made from dry bark scrapings, wood, oreven cloth works well. Char cloth is also excellent for collecting a spark but requires a certainamount of skill and experience to make properly.For all the effort required in making a fire starter in the wilderness when you need one, mostexperienced survivalists choose to carry pre-made firestarters in their survival kits.Making Fire Starters with Petroleum JellyAlthough you can buy fire starters in the form of wood and wax composites and pastes, the do-it-yourselfer can easily put together a collection of efficient fire starters from common householdmaterials. Doing this can save you money and provide you improvised survival gear experiencethat can serve you well should difficult situations arise (read SHTF).In the Survival Topic on How to Make Fire Sticks we discussed using wax and cardboard to makefire starters. These will work well for matches and lighters that give an active flame.As stated above, if you are using a firesteel the commercially available fire starting aids may notwork since they will not take a spark. Rather, these require a flame such as that from a match orlighter in order to catch fire. However if your fire starter is made of a fuffly materials the firesteel(as well as matches or lighters) will work just fine.In the picture are some of the fluffy materials that can be used to make good fire starters:* Cotton Balls* Dryer lint – great way to recycle this material* Cattail Fluff – found naturally throughout the worldAlthough these fluffy materials will catch fire very easily by match, lighter, or firesteel, they tendnot to burn well enough to be used alone as tinder. However, when a dab of petroleum jelly isadded the combined material becomes an excellent firestarter.Here I have used part of a fluffy cattail head mixed with petroleum jelly as a fire starter. One strikefrom the firesteel set the fine fuzz ablaze, which in turn caught the petroleum. This sample burnedfor several minutes, which is usually plenty of time for small kindling to catch fire.Cotton balls and dryer lint also make excellent fire starters. Mix the fibers with the petroleum jellyand store in a small container like a 35mm film canister as shown. Keep several homemade firestarters in your survival kit as insurance that you can make a fire in the wilderness whenever youwant too. Your very survival may depend on it.