Working with rain-soaked fire materials and without any fire starters or accelerants from home on hand can be a very challenging scenario. Enter the “fuzz stick.”
Whittling fuzz sticks is a classic wilderness technique that seems to have been unseated by modern fire starting cubes, drier lint, and fire packets. But despite being slighted in many of today’s survival books, the fuzz stick holds a valuable place in fire building, especially in wet conditions.
To create a fuzz stick, find the driest stick you can. It can be any size or shape, but something thumb-thick, straight, and a foot long is ideal. Hardwood sticks are more difficult to carve, yet they burn for a long time. Softwoods are easy to carve, but short lived. After you have made your selection, start carving long thin curls near one end of the stick. Work your way backward while spiraling your cuts to create a shaggy-looking stick. Any shavings at all will improve the stick’s flammability, but the best fuzz sticks are loaded with many curly pieces. You could also dribble some oil, wax, pitch, or other flammable on your fuzz stick for an added burning value.
Carve several of these sticks if the fire building conditions are really bad, place them throughout your fire lay of kindling and twigs, and light them up.