> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Flying with a Fire Starting Kit



Flying with a Fire Starting Kit

A small fire starting kit is a basic part of many people's EDC gear, but given the TSAs high security levels, flying with fire starting materials is a murky area. No one wants to have their gear confiscated or be subject to "additional security screening", so many just leave their kit at home. I know I've done this many times; the potential utility of fire starting gear vs. the potential of TSA hassles made it just not worthwhile. And with new checked baggage fees, bringing along a checked bag with stashed additional goods can be an expensive proposition.

So, what kind of fire starting equipment can you pack in a carry on? I did some research and was actually fairly surprised.

The TSA maintains a list of prohibited items, which includes a list of prohibited Flammable materials. Here's the short version of what you can carry:
  • You can carry Bic-style "common lighters" - in your carry on but not in checked baggage. Until 2007, TSA confiscated lighters - almost 12 million in 2006. But they've decided lighters are no longer a security threat and will let them through if they're in your carry on. Read about it here. Yay! Butane torch lighters are not allowed, though. 
  • One book of matches. They are specific about it being a book of matches, not a box of matches or anything else. And these must also be in your carry on, not your checked baggage. They must be safety matches, not strike 
So, surprisingly, you can carry a normal lighter, which is probably my preferred fire starter anyways. If I can have a lighter, a book of safety matches is a bit less useful to me, though you can improvise a pretty decent pull-tab igniter with a match book, and you could also waterproof the matches if you were so inclined. 

Liquid fuels are a no-no, which is not surprising. A small bottle of hand sanitizer will work for fire starting needs, though.

There's no mention of ferro rods, fire strikers or any kind of tinder, so those would fall under the discretion of TSA screeners. I would be surprised if they could actually identify a ferro rod, but I like to err on the side of caution. I assume that I will get the dumbest, angriest TSA screener possible and plan to get through without any hassles. I would personally avoid anything that was obviously fire related, had "fire", "flame", "spark", etc. written on it, but that's me.

Anyways, with a little planning, putting together a simple travel-friendly fire kit that should serve EDC and survival needs in a pinch.