Ever have a “duh” moment?

The other day, I was surfing around online looking for new ideas for survival kit contents. I’m always interested in seeing interesting or innovative ideas, as I’m sure many of you are as well.

Came across this idea and, I have to say, I darn near smacked my forehead for not thinking of it myself.

Picture this — you’re out in the woods and have lost your way. It is getting dark and it has been drizzling much of the day. You’re cold, wet, and miserable. Resigning yourself to spending the night out in the field, you find a reasonably dry patch of ground under a large tree. The sky seems to be clearing so probably little chance of a lightning strike.

You need to get a fire going and quickly as the temperature is dropping with the sun. But, leaves and other small debris around you is too wet to light. Looking in your kit, you remember how you’d used the last of your cotton balls when you showed your hunting buddies how easy they are to light. No tinder in the kit at all now.

Thankfully, you thought ahead and pull from your survival kit this trusty little gadget.

pencil sharpener

Yep, a pencil sharpener. Gathering several twigs, you are quickly able to get a good pile of shavings and, lo and behold, once you get past the bark, the wood seems fairly dry. Within just a few minutes, you have the beginnings of a decent fire.

These pencil sharpeners cost far less than a buck a piece, especially during back to school season. They are small and add almost zero weight to any kit. Sure, you could use your knife to whittle the shavings but I’m betting this pencil sharpener will do the trick just as fast, if not faster.

Wish I’d have thought of it myself.

Published by

Jim Cobb

Jim Cobb has been a student of survivalism and emergency preparedness for almost thirty years. As a young child, he drove his parents nuts with stockpiling supplies in the basement every time he heard there was a tornado watch in his area. Of course, being a child, those supplies consisted of his teddy bear, a few blankets and pillows, and random canned goods he grabbed from the kitchen cabinets. Later, he was the first (and likely only) child in his fifth grade class to have bought his very own copy of Life After Doomsday by Bruce Clayton. Today, he is a freelance writer whose work has been published in national magazines such as Boy’s Life and Complete Survivalist Magazine. He is a voracious reader with a keen interest in all stories with post-apocalyptic settings. He maintains the Library at the End of the World blog and is also the Content Director for SurvivalWeekly.com. He currently resides in a fortified bunker in the upper Midwest, accompanied by his lovely wife and their three adolescent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Jim's first book, Prepper's Home Defense, was published late 2012 and his second book, tentatively titled The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness, will be out in mid-2013, both coming from Ulysses Press.

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