Survival Fire Lighting tips and... what is better - a saw or hatchet?

Thanks to Phil for excellent comments on my last fire lighting post.  The fire building tips are too good to leave in comments so I pasted them below.  Feel free to answer his question at the end of this post.

Just to add to the SAR experience, is that this fire lighting exercise was done at night in the dark using our headlamps. Useful good burning wood is somewhat a challenge to find at night if you are not sure what to look for, you can be fooled and when that wood goes onto the fire it quickly starts to have a hard time staying lit and then you scramble to find more.

Another tip is to collect more wood than you think you will need then triple that, being careful not to damage the environment. I collected my wood and kindling in a large plastic bag so keeping it together was easier to pack around while gathering and if it starts to rain it stays dry. Nothing more depressing is gathering good dry wood then having it rained on. I started my fire with one match and a cotton ball soaked in wax, they are water proof, lite weight and once lit they a very hard to put out in case the wind comes up.

At the end of the day you really have to get outside and practice in the elements to get a real sense of it. Many people can get a fire going but having it stay lit , cooking and boiling water on it for an extended period of time is not as easy as it sounds. Try going out and doing that after it has rained for 2 days or longer or in the snow.

The last tip I have is what tools seem to work best, well this may start a debate but that’s healthy.  I have saws, knives, axe, hatchet.  For me, since I have to be willing to pack my supplies on my back for extended periods of time my choice was a lite weight hatchet and my sturdy knife. I packed my saw for a whole year and it did not even come out to use so out it goes. I was able to build shelter, fire and everything I required with just the 2, even though I had more.

Thats my 2 bits worth

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