So I feel that part of being prepared is having the skills to back them up. Anyone can make a fire with a lighter, or matches and ample tinder and kindling, but what if you had limited items?
So I took out my fire-steel I bought a while ago, and figured I would practice making fires with what I had in my BOB(besides matches and lighter), and what I had in my back yard. I had a section of newspaper, a container of dryer lint, and my fire-steel. Let's just say that I considered myself well-schooled in how to make a fire. I was COMPLETELY wrong.
First off dryer lint is not as good a fire-starter as you would think. It lights, but then because of all the dog hair, and synthetics I wear for work, it did little more than burn the outside layer of the lint. Even if I pulled it all apart and made it fuzzy I wouldn't be able to make a fire from it.
The second option was to try to start the newspaper from the fire-steel, but that is a no-go. It just will not catch. I did try some of the TP I had, but it's the fancy stuff that wouldn't catch either.
Now I could have cheated and used the whole section of newspaper, but I was determined that if I did need to bug out, that I would need more than one fire on the way. So each attempt used a little lint and a 6" square piece of newspaper. I could make about 30-40 fires from the amount of lint and newspaper I had.
After an hour, I could reliably get a small fire going from a bit of lint and a 6" square of newspaper. Now this was perfect conditions, in heavy rain or such I would have to use a firestarter. I also limited myself to the back yard which only has oak and maple, where the front yard has some pine trees. Pine makes firestarting a cinch!
I think it was a good exercise. If I was in the woods, the additional tinder available to me would make it easier. At least now I know I could make a fire when bugged out, even if the spare lighter, and matches were lost. The way I look at it, the more confident you are in your skills, the less likely your going to panic when and if the SHTF on any scale. Whether it's a blizzard, a hurricane, power outage, or even TEOTWAWKI.
When was the last time you practiced making a fire?