Gear Review: Sigma 3 Fire Kit
March 7th, 2018
How does one make a fire with limited assets in an emergency or survival scenario? The need to build a fire is an essential element to ensuring one’s survivability in any outdoor or emergency situation. A few years ago, during a survival seminar that I attended in Virginia, it was revealed that hunters are the most likely individuals to get lost in the outdoors. Thus, for the hunter, being able to build a fire becomes more than just an outdoor recreational activity to cook hot dogs or roast marshmallows. Furthermore, there has been some debate in recent years regarding the best use of mechanical means to start a fire in an emergency situation, from using modern implements like a store-bought cigarette lighter to more primitive means such as a bow-and-drill. Yet, most people who venture outdoors are doing it for recreational purposes. Moreover, most people who avail themselves of the outdoors do not come to the wilderness with the expertise of primitive survival skills, bushcrafting acumen, or formal military survival training. As such, can one find a fire making kit that will be easy to use for a seasoned outdoorsman or the weekend camper?
The fire making kit assembled by Sigma 3 Survival Systems is an excellent solution to address the fire building needs of both experts and novices to the outdoors. The keyword to describe the kit is redundancy. Unlike most survival kits that offer one or two means to build a fire, the Sigma 3 Fire Kit gives multiple ways to build an emergency fire in a survival situation. The kit covers a multitude of survival considerations in which a fire would need to be created. So, let’s review some of the basic characteristics of the Sigma 3 Water Kit.
The Sigma 3 Fire Kit comes in a Fox Tactical™ Tactical Wallet Organizer. It is a military-style tactical pouch originally designed as a pocket organizer to hold pens, a small notepad or note cards. Inside the pouch are multiple fire making items such as a 6”x1/2” ferro rod and two different types of stormproof matches. The pouch is small enough that it can easily be belt-carried, stowed in the glove compartment of your vehicle, or stashed in your favorite everyday carry (EDC) bag. What are the features of the kit?
The Carrying Pouch:
The pouch that contains the kit is a Fox Tactical™ Tactical Wallet Organizer. It’s dimensions are 7 inches tall and 3.75 inches in width. It is constructed from Condura® fabric. The pouch itself weighs approximately .20 ounces. The pouch features a single zipper enclosure. It has a mesh pocket on the front with a velcro closure. The pouch has a carrying handle and a MOLLE PALS webbing for attaching to tactical modular rucksacks or backpacks. Inside, on the left side, there are five elastic sections and a rear holding pocket. On the right side of the inside are two sectional pockets that run the length of the pouch. Also, on the inside, there is a key lanyard.
The Ferro Rod/Metal Match:
This kit comes with one large ferrocium rod. The rod measures 6 inches in length and .5 inches in width. It has a lanyard hole at one end. It comes with a rust resistant protectant on it. Thus, it is best to take a light grit sandpaper and gently rub off the protective coating before being used outdoors. The ferro rod is best suited for dry or arid environments where dry tender can be collected and ignited easily. It can be used in wet or cold environments; however, obtaining dry tender can be problematic depending on the location.
UST® WetFire™ Firestarting Tender:
This kit comes with four cubes of UST WetFire™ firestarting tinder. This addresses the problem of obtaining natural, dry tender from the surrounding environment in wet or cold conditions. Wetfire cubes are able to ignite under any weather conditions. One can use the entire cube, if in a hurry to get a fire started, or one can shave or slice a small amount from a single cube to ignite a fire. The manufacture informs that these cubes have a five year shelf-life, so older cubes will need to be rotated out of the kit as long as the manufacturer produces the cubes. Their composition is a trade secret of the manufacturer. Therefore, it can be safely concluded that the WetFire™ cubes are a chemical answer to overcoming the lack of natural, dry tinder in a cold or wet environment.
Coughlan® Fire Sticks:
The Sigma 3 Fire Kit comes with five Coghlan® Fire Sticks. Each stick has a length of 5 inches and a width of .5 inches. According to the manufacturer’s material safety data sheet (MSDS), the composition of the sticks is wax and wood fiber. This allows the sticks to ignite at a low temperature, 644° F. These sticks give a redundant fire tender source that will allow for starting a fire in both dry or wet conditions.
Bic® Lighter, Classic®
This kit comes with two regular sized Bic® Classic® butane lighters. These lighters have a length of 3 inches and a width of 1 inch. The value of these lighters is that they allow for an instant flame and heat to start a fire. The one weakness with these lighters is that the butane tends to evaporate out of them over time. This can be mitigated by applying a small strip of Gorilla® tape around connecting seam of the flint-and-striker housing and the main body of the lighter. This is a gear hack that will allow both lighters to remain in the kit. ExoTac® produces the fireSLEEVE™ for Bic® lighters that is a waterproof lighter holder. However, it will make the lighter bulky for the carrying pouch and will limit the kit to one lighter, if one chooses this option. The ExoTac® fireSLEEVE™ is also available for purchase here on the Sigma 3 Survival School website for all your survival gear needs, sold by Sigma 3 Survival Systems.
UCO® Stormproof Matches™
The fire kit also has another fire starting capability that is found with the inclusion of two types of wooden matches by UCO®. The first of these wooden matches are the Stormproof Matches™. They come in a paper box containing twenty-five matches. Each match has a length of 2.75 inches. The maximum burn time for each match is 15 seconds. They are submersible, windproof, waterproof, and are strikable on a rough surface.
UCO® Survival Matches™
The second type of wooden matches by UCO® in the kit are the Survival Matches™. These matches are a little shorter in length than the UCO® Stormproof Matches™. Each survival match has a length of 2.125 inches. Its maximum burn time is 12 seconds. Like their larger cousin, they are also submersible, windproof, waterproof, and are strikable on any rough surface. Additionally, they come in a waterproof plastic container with extra strike paper and a cotton ball. The container can be reused and repurposed for other things when the matches are used up, like keeping natural tinder dry.
The Sigma 3 Fire Kit is a very versatile kit with multiple redundancies for staring an emergency fire in a survival situation. Its compact nature allows it to be a compliment to any survival or emergency consideration whether outdoors or EDC scenarios. The kit incorporates two-hand or single-hand fire starting considerations. Thus, if you have an injured or immobile arm or hand, one can still start an emergency fire. All elements of the kit can be interchanged for other options or considerations. However, the kit gives one a great fire making capability right out of the box. This means it can be taken and used immediately, as it comes from the Sigma 3 Survival store. How does the Sigma 3 Water Kit perform in the field?
The kit performs well in a variety of situations. The cordura material of the carrying pouch provides a high level of abrasion resistance allowing the kit to go anywhere and to be used under any conditions. The zippers on the pouch performed well for general use and provide water resistance in a light rain. However, since the zippers are not waterproof, they will allow water sepage with extended exposure to heavy rain or if submerged in water for a lengthy period of time. All of the elements within the kit functioned properly with minimal effort to employ. This makes the kit great for novices to outdoor or wilderness survival. The tinder items ignited on the first try. The ferro rod, matches, and lighters all performed flawlessly. The overall performance of this kit was outstanding.
The best employment for this kit is during the following outdoor activities: backpacking, hunting, fishing, camping, prepping, or wilderness survival training. This kit is well suited as an EDC item in your favorite pack or bag. Additionally, this kit can be a part of one’s vehicle or home emergency disaster kits. Day-hikers can employ this kit as a carry-alone option attached to the pants belt or on a carabiner. Hunters can use this kit attached to their hunting rig or placed in the fanny pack of their load bearing equipment. For multi-day backpackers, the Sigma 3 Fire Kit can be carried inside of the pack if the intent is to use it as an emergency item only. Another option for backpackers is that it can be placed near on the top of the load of backpack under the main compartment flap for easy access. If hiking or backpacking with a backpack that has PALS webbing, the kit can be easily attached to the outside of the pack for easy access when establishing a hasty bed down or when bivouacking a more deliberate base camp. The Sigma 3 Fire Kit would can be an excellent addition to one’s 72-hour Bug-Out Bag, Get-Home Bag, or INCH Bag.
The Sigma 3 Fire Kit is a wonderful option for the outdoorsman, the prepper, or recreational backpacker. The versatility and durability of the kit make it compatible with any activity in any terrain and in any weather condition. A great deal of thought has been applied by seasoned outdoorsman and survival instructors at the Sigma 3 Survival School in producing this kit. The kit is great for beginning outdoor adventurers or seasoned preppers. If you are looking for a fire making kit that you can incorporate immediately, as is, into your outdoor or emergency bag or pack, and be confident that it will work when needed, look no further than the Sigma 3 Fire Kit. This is an excellent kit that should be in everyone’s bag, pack, or kit.