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Fire Starter Kits: 7 Setups and DIY Kit Ideas

DIY fire starter kits

If you’ve ever found yourself on the edge of reason after your seventh attempt at getting your fire started, you’ll know just how important good fire starter kits are. Being properly equipped when fire starting will not only save you from hours of frustration, it may also mean the difference between getting a hot camping meal or not. Or worse still, letting your core temperature drop in cold conditions and becoming hypothermic.

Building your own fire starter kit can be loads of fun – I’ll talk you through the essentials of DIY fire starter kits later. But putting together your own kit can also take a bit of time and organisation, especially if you also add in some DIY fire starters.

So, for those who want to cut to the chase and get sparking up ASAP, a pre-assembled fire starter kit is the way forward.

7 pre-assembled fire starter kits you need for every fire you build

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These 7 fire starter kits all offer slightly different things, depending on what you are after. Most are simple and straightforward. But to use some of them effectively you’ll need a few extra skills. The Bow Drill Kit, for example, will be rendered useless in the wrong hands, but ideal if you want to learn how to start a fire with a bow drill!

On the other hand, some of the kits offer more than just fire starting capabilities and include some useful survival gadgets too. And others hold aesthetic appeal (as well as excellent fire starting options), making them ideal gifts for the chief fire starter in your life.

8 in 1 Emergency Fire Starter Kit

Front Range First Defence 8 in 1 Emergency Fire Starter Kit

This is an excellent option for those wanting a few basic fire starting options in one watertight container, plus a couple of added extras: water purifiers, serrated knife and emergency mirror.

For fire starting, this good entry level kit includes:

  • 10 x UCO StormProof matches
  • A mini Bic lighter
  • Fire starting tinder
  • 5ft of Titan SurvivorCord for a possible bow drill set
  • Rubber bands

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Kaeser Fire Starter Survival Kit

Kaeser Fire Starter Survival Kit

For those looking to keep their fire starting chemical free, this simple but highly effective fire starter kit is ideal. The fatwood sticks are naturally soaked in the trees resin and light easily when combined with the chips and other tinder. The whole lot comes in a metal tin container for easy storage and use.

The Kaeser Fire Starter Survival Kit includes:

  • Fatwood sticks
  • Ferro rod
  • Striker
  • 48in piece of jute soaked in soy wax

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Primitive Fire Starter Bow Drill Kit

Primitive Fire Starter Bow Drill Kit

If you fancy trying your hand at fire starting without a spark then take a look at this gorgeous bow drill kit. Make sure you know how to use a bow drill and are confident (and consistently successful) at using it before you rely on it for your sole source of fire in the wilderness. But once you’re happy using it, you’ll not find a more satisfying way of creating fire out of nothing.

This bow drill set includes:

  • 1 Red Oak fire bow
  • 2 fire boards (one is notched and burned in)
  • 3 spindles
  • 1 friction-less clay palm rock
  • Oakum nesting material
  • 12′ length of jute
  • Leather coal catcher
  • Instruction sheet

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KonvoySG Carbon Steel Fire Striker Kit

KonvoySG Carbon Steel Fire Striker Kit

The traditionalists out there will love the KonvoySG Carbon Steel Fire Striker Kit. Basic and simple, this kit includes all you need to light your fire using the age-old method of striking steel on flint. This can take a bit of practise so, as with the bow drill method, make sure you’re good at it before you rely on it solely.

This set comes in a gorgeous premium leather hip pouch and includes:

  • Hand forged carbon steel fire striker
  • 1 piece of English flint
  • 1 bag of char cloth (the cloth version of charcoal)

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TACAMO 15-Piece Emergency Fire Making Kit

TACAMO 15-Piece Emergency Fire Making Kit

The TACAMO 15-Piece Emergency Fire Making Kit is the most comprehensive (and pricey!) fire starter kit on our list. It includes enough fire starting options to cover almost all scenarios making it an ideal option for the seasoned bushcrafter. It also comes in a delightfully aesthetic waxed canvas bag and has the added bonus of including a collapsible mini-bellows and magnifying glass.

This fire starter kit includes:

  • Waxed canvas bag
  • Stainless steel mess kit container
  • Black rubber ranger band
  • 5x glass folding magnifying glass, 1x- 10x compact fresnel lens
  • Drilled titan survival premium ferro-rod
  • Carbon-steel ferro rod scraper with survivorcord fob
  • Collapsible mini-bellows
  • 4 tinder fatwood sticks
  • 2 tinder waxed jute rope
  • Folded carbon cloth
  • Charcloth making container
  • Bag of waxed wood chips

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Pocket Survival Fire Starting Tin

Pocket Survival Fire Starting Tin

Unlike the above TACAMO kit, this pocket-sized tin has only one type of lighting option, albeit a very reliable one: a ferro rod and striker. It does, however, provide budding fire starters with plenty of tinder options as well as a mini knife which can also be used as a striker on the ferro rod.

A nice addition to this portable and good value fire starter kit is the mini hand saw which allows campers to gather and prepare appropriate sized wood for different styles of campfire lays.

The kit includes:

  • Tin container
  • Fatwood sticks
  • Tactical band
  • Bag of fatwood dust
  • Ferro rod and striker
  • Piece of jute
  • Survival cable hand saw

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Zippo Emergency Fire Kit

Zippo Emergency Fire Kit

Although lacking alternative methods of fire lighting, the Zippo Emergency Fire Kit is ideal to sling in your backpack for, yes, emergencies only! It weighs barely anything and is about the size of a standard Bic cigarette lighter making it an excellent addition to your own DIY fire starter kit too. It floats, is watertight and creates a reliable spark in all weather conditions. Inside you’ll find 5 easy to light tinders and once they’re all burnt out you can refill the kit with tinder of your choice.

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DIY fire starter kit ideas

To ensure you get all the good bits of the above fire starter kits in one place, you’ll need to create your own kit. Alternatively you can add any number of the below fire starting items to a pre-assembled kit to make it the perfect set up to feed your fire starting habit!

It’s super important that you don’t rely on one single method to get your fire lit. And many survival experts recommend having up to five fire starting options!

That said, my fire starter kit, which I use for non-survival based scenarios (campfires at the beach, backyard or campground) only includes a fire stick, cotton wool, vaseline and a cigarette lighter. So long as I have access to dry twigs or some newspaper, this setup has never let me down. 

Here are some of the best and most essential fire starter kits components that you may want to consider for your own DIY fire starter kit:

  • Waterproof case

    Watertight container

    If your fire starter kit contains any kind of flammable tinder you’ll need to get yourself a watertight container to store all your fire starting items in. A box is convenient and easy to use, but a small dry bag will also work, and can be easier to pack.

  • Lighter


    For many fire lighting situations and good old cigarette lighter will do just fine. But they can be useless in the wind, their fuel can run out and they can break. Also, in really cold conditions the butane can become gel-like causing the lighter to fail. So you’ll always need a backup.

  • UCO Titan Stormproof Matches

    Waterproof matches

    A good set of waterproof matches are a must and, like a cigarette lighter, will work well when the conditions are good. Make sure you store them in a watertight container, and never rely on them solely.

  • Überleben Zünden Ferro Rod

    Ferro rod

    Ferro (short for ferrocerium) is an alloy that usually combines iron, cerium and a small amount of magnesium. When scraped with the back of your knife (or something else sharp) it creates sparks that are as hot as 3000ºC – ideal in very cold, wet and windy conditions.

  • Magnesium Fire Starter

    Magnesium rod

    These are similar to ferro rods, but magnesium fire starters can also be scraped and added to tinder. Place a small pile of filings in your tinder and it will ignite easily and at super high temperatures (similar to ferro).

  • Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel

    Fire sticks

    These are a very convenient and reliable way to get your fire started. The sticks are usually a magnesium alloy that can be scraped (like rods) or used with a striker to create sparks. The ergonomic thumb holds make them easy to use, and many have built in whistles too!

  • Candle


    It’s always good to have a candle in your fire starter kit to light and drip wax onto your tinder. They are also a good emergency backup if your headlamp batteries run down.

  • Vaseline

    Cotton wool and petroleum jelly

    Cotton wool dipped in petroleum jelly is a superb, cheap and lightweight DIY fire starter. It’s also really easy to just grab a few bits at home to replenish your fire starter kit after use.

  • Tinder wick and bellow

    Tinder wick and bellow

    This is a clever little gadget that adds a degree of control to your fire starting method. Simply light the end of the wax soaked hemp and use the aluminum sleeve to snuff out the flame or control the burn rate. This sleeve also doubles as a mini bellows! Neat.

  • Inner-tube

    Bicycle tyre inner tube

    Another good lightweight addition to your DIY fire starter kit are strips of old inner tube. The strips are highly flammable and a whole inner tube will last you forever. Again, top up your kit as needed.

  • Knife

    It’s likely that you’ll have a good pocket knife with you anyway. But just in case you’re starting out, you’ll need to use it to scrape your ferro or magnesium rod, and also to shave bark or wood for tinder.

If you love the idea of creating your own DIY fire starter kit then check out all the different ways of making your own fire starters to add to it. But whichever method you choose to light your fire in the wilderness, be sure to do it responsibly and always leave no trace.

About the author


Joey is based in Cornwall, UK, and runs Cool of the Wild. She can’t get enough of being outdoors – whether that’s lounging around the campfire cooking up a feast, hitting the trail in her running shoes, or attempting to conquer the waves on her surfboard – she lives for it. Camping is what she loves to do the most, but has also spent many hours clinging to the side of a rock face, cycling about the place, cruising the ski-slopes on her snowboard, and hiking small mountains and big hills.

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