I stopped carrying fire starters in my pack a few years back with the increase in fire restrictions during the peak backpacking season. But a few cold, wet backcountry camping experiences in recent years—where getting a proper fire going in hypothermic conditions was a challenge—plus a renewed interest in backyard fires, car camping, and traditional charcoal barbecuing, convinced me to reconsider. Not all fire starters are created equal, however, and there’s a reason why Mickwick fire starters are now available at locations along the Appalachian Trail. They are compact, lightweight, waterproof, free of harmful chemicals, and don’t require any tinder to start a warming, gear-drying blaze in the backcountry or campground (when permitted). Made here in the Northwest with natural ingredients, they are also a fantastic alternative to lighter fluid and other nauseating chemical-based starters for firing up your barbecue coals, backyard s’more fire, or woodstove in a matter of minutes. Look for them at Spokane-area 7-11 stores or order a pack online. MSRP: $11.95-12.95. Mickwickfires.com.