Home Made Fire Making Kit -By Grumpy G

After I submitted my article “How To Make Water Proof Matches,” Andrew asked me if I’d be willing to post some pics and descriptions of my home made fire making kit.  I said sure.  So, for your viewing pleasure and critique, here is my

Home Made Fire Making Kit – Contents

Home Made Fire Making Kit  Here is the kit itself.  The plastic container was purchased at Hobby Lobby for $1 USD.  It measures 5.5in x 5.5in x 1.5in, and has a hinged lid.  It is not waterproof; more on that later.
 The next photo shows the kit opened up.  There are 5 compartments, 1 larger center compartment and 4 smaller ones.  I’ve numbered them for ease of identification in this article.# 1 A portion of the strike strip from a box of wooden matches.  I used spray on contact glue to affix it to the inside of the lid. Home Made Fire Making Kit
Home Made Fire Making Kit  #2 60 home made water proof matches.  Click here to read the Prepography pictorial article on how to make them yourself.   They are wrapped in a bit of aluminum foil to keep them from rattling around in the compartment,
 #3 2 tea light candles and the instructions for the magnesium fire started that is in the kit.  The candles came from a bag full of misc candles purchased at a local thrift store.  I needed something to keep them from rattling around in their compartment, so I used the fire starter instructions.  These instructions are made from card stock and folded to take up the extra space and keep the candles quiet.  There’s also an added benefit to including them, not only do they provide instructions for the person who does not know how to use the fire starter…but in a pinch the card board can be used as tinder. fk4
Home Made Fire Making Kit #4 Magnesium fire starter and a length of braided hemp rope.  The fire starter came from Harbor Freight Tools and cost around $3 USD.  It’s not the best one on the market, it does the job, though.  The rope can be used as tinder.  I wrap it around the fire starter to keep it from rattling around.

Andrew’s Note:  Make sure to test your fire starter as there have been reports of counterfeit, non-working models being imported in recent years.  Testing it will take several tries as there is usually a coating or varnish you must get through.

 #5 12 Vaseline covered cotton balls in a snack size Zip-lock bag.  These make great accelerators for starting fires in damp conditions.  Folded up, the bag fits perfectly in it’s compartment.  The cost for this item was negligible, as everything came from the cabinet and pantry. Home Made Fire Kit
Home Made Fire Making Kit  #6 2 lighters and 30in x12in piece of aluminum foil.  One lighter is a Bic Mini ($1 USD).  The other is a light anywhere lighter I got from Survival Life ($4 USD)  It has a steel striker with a cotton wick that fits inside the lighter.  The lighter is filled with butane.  The striker is struck on a magnesium rod that is on the side of the lighter.  It works very well.  In my other fire kits, I have 2 bic lighters.  The aluminum foil can be used for many purposes; gathering water, cooking, signaling, etc.  It also keeps the lighters in place when in the kit.

Home Made Fire Making Kit – Future Improvements

The kit has multiple ways to start a fire when needed, and are usable as they are. There are a couple of improvements I am going to make, though. The first is going to be to add some char cloth to the kit. I need to make it, writing a Prepography How-To article in the process. The second improvement will be to water proof the kit. I am going to do this by taking electrician’s tape and wrapping it around the case, along the seam where the lid and body meet. Not only will this help water proof the kit, but the tape could come in handy in a survival situation.

If you’ve made it this far, let me know what you think. Is there something I missed, or that you would change? Feel free to comment below.

How To Make Water Proof Matches

How To Make Water Proof Matches – Materials Needed

“How To Make Water Proof Matches” Materials:How To Make Water Proof Matches - Materials
  1. Wooden Matches ($1 for three 300 count box-strike matches from Dollar General)
  2. Candles ($1 bag of cast offs from the thrift store)
  3. Small Pot (preferably not one used for cooking)
  4. Tin Can (large tuna/chicken can, free)
  5. Stove, or some other cooking heat source (free)

How To Make Water Proof Matches – Instructions

1) Fill the pot with about 3/4 inches of water. Take the candle and put them in the tin can, and place it in the pot. Put the put on the stove and turn on to medium heat. Allow the water to heat up to a point right before it starts boiling, in order to melt the candles. How To Make Water Proof Matches - Step 1
2) Once the candles have melted, take the matches and dip them head down in to the wax. The wax should cover about 1/2 the match. How To Make Water Proof Matches - Step 2
3) Stick the dipped match in to the Styrofoam, and allow the wax to cool down.4) Repeat steps 2 and 3 several times, until each match has a good coating. How To Make Water Proof Matches - Step 3

How To Make Water Proof Matches- Use and Storage

How To Make Water Proof Matches - Storage Use – Now that you have learned how  to make water proof matches, to use them, simply take your finger nail and scrape the wax from the tip of the match head. Strike the match on an appropriate surface to light.Storage: Store your with your fire making kit, or some other easily accessible place. Mine (seen at the left) are wrapped in tin foil and are part of my fire making kit.

Andrew’s Note:  The same process works with Strike Anywhere Matches or turn your strike on the box matches into Strike Anywhere Matches using this technique.  As one who’s been out in the wild with strike on box matches and a disintigrating box consider the more versatile but much harder to find and slightly more expensive Strike Anywhere Matches if possible.

Be Prepared For World’s End Infographic

Be Prepared for World's End: A Survival Guide

Full Spectrum Preparedness and the 5 C’s of Survival

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.” – Albert Einstein

In the quest for preparedness, we constantly face the challenge that Albert Einstein discusses above. How do we approach the exceedingly complex topic of preparedness and survival in the way that makes it as simple as possible. We’re not geniuses here at Prepography by any stretch of the imagination but we do think that we have done a pretty good job creating and expanding the concept of Full Spectrum Preparedness (FSP). We’ve tried to develop a comprehensive approach to preparedness in as small a form as possible. Additionally, FSP is a scalable approach that can be used equally well whether you’re building a Bug Out Bag (BOB) or a survival retreat. Just because we’re partial to the concept of FSP does not mean that other approaches are not valid or worth considering. This is especially true when making sure FSP is as simple as possible, while remaining comprehensive. Recently, I have been looking at a more simple preparedness model and how it relates to Every Day Carry (EDC) items, as well as FSP. This concept is called “The 5 C’s of Survival”

10 Fundamentals of Full Spectrum Preparedness

Before going any further, let’s do a quick review of the 10 Fundamentals of Full Spectrum Preparedness

  • Security Preparedness: Items, skills and knowledge necessary to keep your family and provisions safe.
  • Shelter & Clothing Preparedness: Items, skills and knowledge necessary to protect you and your possesions from the elements.
  • Health (Personal), Fitness and Medicine Preparedness: Everything needed to keep you and your family healthy.
  • Transportation Preparedness: Items, skills and knowledge necessary to support your family’s transportation needs.
  • Family & Community Support: Building family and community networks and ties focused on helping you prepare for, and live through short or long term emergencies.
  • Financial Preparedness: Wealth; as well as the ideas and skills to help building and protect your wealth.
  • Food Preparedness: Items, skills and knowledge for food gathering, preparation and storage.
  • Water Preparedness: Items, skills and knowledge for gathering, purifying and storing the water necessary for health, hygiene, sanitation or other purposes.
  • Communications Preparedness: Items, skills, techniques and knowledge necessary to maintain communications within your family or group as well as with the outside would.
  • Cognitive, Mental & Spiritual Preparedness: Developing and incorporating preparedness skills and knowledge, as well as the ability to adapt, the mental strength necessary to persevere and faith in a higher power; fostering the “will to live” through even the toughest of times.

What are The 5 C’s Of Survival?

The fundamentals of FSP cover many topics, each interacting with the others to create a protective web about one’s life. As stated before, it is a scalable concept. It’s easy to see how it scales up. The question is, how does it get scaled down? Can the idea of FSP be made to fit in your front pocket? Well, maybe not in your pocket but certainly in your pockets and your head. When starting with the idea of Every Day Carry (EDC) items, it does provide us with a base to start with.

You can spend literally $100’s of dollars on EDC doo-dads and trinkets to fill your pockets . You can go out on the internet and find 100’s, if not 1,000’s, of links with people giving their advice on what you should carry at all times. According to the 5 C’s of Survival it’s as simple as counting to 5. There are five areas that should be covered by Every Day Carry (EDC) items that you should have on you, or immediately available at all times. They don’t have to break your budget, and they fulfill well over half of the FSP fundamentals. To remember what they are , all you need to remember is “The 5 C’s of Survival”; Cutting Tool, Combustion, Cordage, Cover, and Container.

(Note: The examples bullet pointed below are not all-inclusive, and are presented to give the reader a broader understanding of the FSP concept)

The 5 C’s Of Survival – #1 Cutting Tool

You should have some sort of cutting tool on your person, or in your pocket whenever you can. From day-to-day use, to an emergency, the ability to cut things is a must. Your cutting tool can be used for a myriad of things from cutting cordage, to tangled/stuck straps, to kindling, and beyond. It can be used to help create a shelter, as well as gathering food and water. As a last resort, it can even be used for protection. Optimally, you want a good quality folding knife in your pocket, or fixed blade on you belt, or around your neck. In a pinch, though you can use a lower quality, less expensive cutting tool, like a folding credit card knife. Remember having something is better than having nothing.

FSP Fundamentals Covered:

  • Security Preparedness: Lashed to a pole, or used in your hand, a knife can protect your life.
  • Shelter & Clothing Preparedness: Cutting material for a shelter or making primitive clothing.
  • Health, Fitness and Medicine Preparedness: First aid uses, such as removing splinters or cutting bandages.
  • Transportation Preparedness: Cutting the material to create a travois.
  • Financial Preparedness: A good quality knife can be a useful barter item
  • Food Preparedness: Used on a spear, or as part of a trap for hunting, as well as preparing caught/gathered food.
  • Water Preparedness: cutting items used as a container for gathering and storing water.  Creating tinder to start a fire for water purification.
  • Communications Preparedness: Light reflected of a polished blade makes a good signal

The 5 C’s Of Survival – #2 Combustion

The biggest threat in a survival situation is often the environment. An unprotected person can die from hypothermia in a matter of hours. Having the ability to start a fire is a must. The easiest method is to use a lighter. Carrying around a disposable lighter gives you the ability to start a fire in an instant. Flint and steel, strike anywhere matches, and hurricane lighters allow you to create a life saving fire under the most adverse conditions. Even a magnifying lens can be used under the right conditions to create fire.  You can spend money on expensive fire starting kits, or make one yourself, on the cheap. Whatever route you take, be sure you know, and practice how to use it. Having to learn in an extreme survival situation is a recipe for disaster.

FSP Fundamentals Covered:

  • Security Preparedness: For eons mankind has huddled around the light of a fire in the dark of night for security from predators.
  • Shelter & Clothing Preparedness: Smudging a primitive shelter to clear out bugs or drying wet clothes.
  • Health, Fitness and Medicine Preparedness: First and foremost, a fire will keep you alive in a survival situation by warming a dangerously cold environment.  Incinerating waste or the infectious dead.
  • Transportation Preparedness: Fire for wood gasification or steam, as well as making a canoe.
  • Family & Community Support: Again, mankind has gathered around a fire for a sense of community or evening of storytelling for all of our existence.
  • Food Preparedness: Preserving food through smoking or cooking meals.
  • Water Preparedness: Purifying water through boiling.
  • Communications Preparedness: A signal fire can be used to mark one’s position for rescuers.  Charcoal can be used for writing.

The 5 C’s Of Survival – #3 Cordage

Having some sort of cordage on you, or immediately available, is an easily, and oft-times over looked thing. A length of good quality cordage, like say 550 para cord, can come in handy in many ways. You can use it as lashing for creating a shelter. Game can be caught using it as a snare. It can be used for first aid as a tourniquet or to keep a splint in place. There are 1,000’s of more uses for it; your imagination is the only limit. One thing about cordage and EDC. It looks out-of-place carrying a 10 foot coil of 550 para cord on you waist. It’s an easy problem to fix, though. That 10 foot length can be braided in to an 8 inch paracord bracelet. You can make a belt, which would be somewhat fashionable at this time, with over 100 foot of para cord.

FSP Fundamentals Covered:

  • Security Preparedness: Cordage can be strung with hanging cans filled with rocks as a warning system.
  • Shelter & Clothing Preparedness: Tied between 2 tress and length of cordage can hold up a tent, or tarp for shelter.
  • Health, Fitness and Medicine Preparedness: Tourniquets and splints can be made from cordage.
  • Transportation Preparedness: Use a length of cordage as lashing to hold equipment while traveling.
  • Family & Community Support: Games and toys can be made from cordage.
  • Financial Preparedness: Barter items could be made.
  • Food Preparedness: Snares will trap small game for food or hold foods while drying for storage.

The 5 C’s Of Survival – #4 Cover

Out of the 5 C’s of survival, this one, and next are probably the hardest to carry on your person as EDC items. Cover entails having sort item that will protect you from the elements. The cheapest and simplest, which is also carriable is a mylar space blanket. They fold down into a small 3×5 inch package and will help ward off hypothermia. It can be wrapped around your body, used to reflect the flame from a fire, and even in combination with the cordage you are carrying to create a shelter. That aside, it is always smart to keep an extra blanket and change of clothes in your car or stashed at work.

FSP Fundamentals Covered:

  • Security Preparedness: Concealing your shelter will increase your security.
  • Shelter & Clothing Preparedness: Tents, tarps, space blankets all help protect you from the elements.
  • Health, Fitness and Medicine Preparedness: Staying out of the elements will help you keep your health up.
  • Family & Community Support: Communal living helps create a sense of community.
  • Financial Preparedness: Extra clothing can be used as barter items.
  • Food Preparedness: You can protect food preparation with a blanket or tent from the elements.
  • Water Preparedness: Water can be gathered with tarps and blankets that are used for cover.
  • Communications Preparedness:  Tarps and blankets can be used a ground signals to attract rescuers attention.

The 5 C’s Of Survival – #5 Container

The last of the 5 C’s of survival is having a container for gathering and carrying water. Preferrably, a water bottle with a filter is the most desirable. Bottles like these are more expensive. They can filter out harmful pollutants and contaminants from your drinking water, though. If you can’t spend the money on something like that, the next best thing is a metal water bottle, with a braided cordage lanyard, of course. You can boil water in them; purifying it for drinking. Plastic bottles will work, also. You will need to take in consideration how to purify your water, though. Like everything else on this list; having something is better than having nothing.

FSP Fundamentals Covered:

  • Shelter & Clothing Preparedness: You can extra clothes clean and dry in a larger enough container
  • Health, Fitness and Medicine Preparedness: Keeping hydrated and cool by drinking water is essential.
  • Food Preparedness: Water gathered in you container can be used to clean, prepare and cook food.
  • Water Preparedness: Keeping clean water is essential towards survival.

The 5 C’s of Survival – The Unwritten 6th C

You’ll notice that missing from all the examples of how the 5 C’s interact with FSP is “Cognitive, Mental & Spiritual Preparedness”. That was not an oversight. I purposefully left off examples, because I wanted to highlight this last one by itself. No matter what you may carry, whether it be EDC items, or a full size survival kit, the most important tool for survival is your brain. Not having the skills and knowledge of survival preparedness turns everything you have with you into nothing more than lumps of plastic, leather, cotton, nylon, metal, etc.. Whatever you do, make sure you engage and use this most important tool in your kit.

The 5 C’s Of Survival – Conclusion

As I said, the 5 C’s of survival are considered the bare minimum you should have on your person, or close at hand, everyday. They each cover multiple aspects of disaster preparedness. If you are prudent, the chances of you being in a situation where you will need them to survive are really kind of small. If you are following the FSP doctrine at home, in your car, and elsewhere, then the 5 C’s of survival are already covered and in a much better and more methodical manner. At the end of the day, though, not having any one of the area’s covered, by not having these items on your person, or close at hand, could spell the difference between life or death.

How To Make Moonshine Infographic

Andrew’s Note:  How To Make Moonshine is a reprint of an infographic we first ran a little over a year ago.  For some inexplicable reason I’ve received a bunch of e-mails lately asking about home distillation and specifically about avoiding methane poisoning and how to legally distill.  I’m no expert having only played with a buddy’s system and enjoyed his production but I’ve added some links in the introduction below for those adventuresome souls who wish to experiment with creating this multi-talented liquid.

Needless to say, fire, pressurized vessels, ATF, State Liquor control, blinding yourself…there are lots more things to know about how to make moonshine than just what’s presented here but this infographic is a nice overview of the process and you really can make your own moonshine safely is it’s legal in your neck of the woods with a little research and experimentation.  Moonshine can be used socially, medicinally, as fuel, for cleaning and for barter.  Looks like the guys that built this How To Make Moonshine infographic aren’t around on the internet anymore…maybe they’re just consumers now. 

Links to Get Started Making Moonshine:

How To Make Moonshine

September is National Preparedness Month

The following is the announcement on FEMA’s Ready.gov regarding September is National Preparedness Month:

During National Preparedness Month we ask you, your family, community and workplace to take action by planning a National PrepareAthon! Day on or around September 30th. We recommend using digital media tools as a way to promote National Preparedness Month, September 1-30th.

National Preparedness MonthWhat you can do to promote National Preparedness Month:

via 2014 National Preparedness Month NPM | Ready.gov

Green Beret Says Prep

The only blog I pay to subscribe to, SOFREP is run by a group of Special Operations veterans and features great news stories, (recent) history stories, commentary and analysis.  Recently they updated a short article by one of my favorite authors on the site, Blake Miles called ‘It Has Begun’ in which the Green Beret says prep.

If you and your family is not prepared for disaster and war, you should really, really, get your head in the game… like yesterday.  US Army Special Forces Veteran Blake Miles via Best of SOFREP: It Has Begun… | SOFREP

In the article, Miles describes what he feels was our modern Archduke Ferdinand moment and there’s no doubt that the world is devolving a number of anti-American and anti-Western factions with massive economic and increasing military power as we abdicate our position as a world leader and eviscerate our military strength.  The comment in this short article that chilled my blood was Mile’s vision of a ‘night of 1000 jackals’ for having experienced Washington D.C. during the sniper attacks in October 2002…I have long imagined what would happen if hundreds or God forbid thousands of John Mohammads and Lee Malvos descended on Main Streets across America.

It’s especially concerning now that we no longer feel the need to secure our borders.  The Green Beret says prep…and beware the night of 1000 jackals!

Top 10 Tips For Dehydrating Frozen Vegetables

Top 10 Tips For Dehydrating Frozen Vegetables

  1. Buy Store Brands:  Store brands are less expensive but are often sourced and prepared exactly the same way as their more expensive, name brand alternatives. In normal circumstances, most people won’t be able to tell a difference anyway.  In a survival situation the extra food that you can put away for the same cost could be the difference between life and death.
  2. Shop The Sales:  Different stores have sales at different times, so search around for the best price.  You don’t have to process your veggies on a set time schedule so hold out for the best deals.
  3. Stay Cool:  Place your vegetables in the freezer as soon as you get home. Even if you plan to dehydrate your vegetables the same day, keep them frozen… your finished products will be better if you start with a completely frozen bag of vegetables.
  4. Don’t Refreeze:  Don’t refreeze your vegetables once they thaw as frost will form on vegetables as they refreeze and this will make for a poorer end product.
  5. Use Tray Liners:  Be sure to use your dehydrator’s tray liners. Once your vegetables start dehydrating they will shrink and fall through regular trays.
  6. Just One Layer:  Make sure your vegetables are laid out in just a single layer.  If you pile your vegetables up on one another or put them in your dehydrator in frozen clumps you may have uneven dehydration, and you could end up with un-dried bits.
  7. Airless:  Once they are dehydrated, get them in to an airtight container as quickly as possible.  Air, and the moisture it contains is the enemy of your dehydrated foods.
  8. Seal Them Up:  Glass jars with tight fitting lids which are not suitable for canning may make good containers for your dehydrated vegetables.
  9. Suck it up:  Vacuum Sealed Bags also make a great storage option and make it easy to package meal sized portions for quick and easy preparation.
  10.  Store it Right:  Store you package items in a cool, dry, dark space.  This will increase the shelf life.


  • Identify It:  Label everything with a date and contents, so you can rotate your stock as needed, without confusion.

Search the web for more useful tips on how to become more self sufficient by dehydrating food for long term storage. and check out my article on how to Dehydrate Store Brand Frozen Vegetables.

Confucius on Preparedness – Today’s Quote

Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.



Sharpen Your Tools – Today’s Quote

The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.



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