Three Top Emergency Fire Starters for the Backcountry

These three options will get a blaze going quickly when you need it most

When I think of emergency fire starters, I imagine being soaking wet, freezing, and needing to get a fire going immediately. A flint striker and classic options are great for their longevity, but when you're losing dexterity and can't feel your fingers, you need a fire now. That's when these three options can potentially save your life. The only thing better than having one of these is having a couple of them on hand.

My three favorites are Wetfire, UCO Sweetfire matches, and a standard road flare. Wetfire is a trioxane-like fuel, but comes in individually packaged, lightweight cubes. Like the name suggests, it ignites easily when wet, and burns for several minutes. The Sweetfire matches are super convenient, as they combine ignition and fuel in a foul-weather resisting match. You do need to protect them somewhat, as the ignition coating can flake off, but they are fast and convenient. Finally, a road flare is one of my favorite emergency fire starters. They are cheap, and they ignite and burn hot in just about any condition. It essentially gives you a blowtorch to start your fire, and even a cut-down flare burns long enough to get damp wood to burn.