Admittedly, starting a fire is probably not something you will do very often and the average lighter will often suffice, but when you face extreme conditions or lack a smoker among your ranks, one of these items will come in handy.
Travel essentials: fire starters
The Firesteel was developed in Sweden as a wet-weather replacement for matches. Striking the metal down the flint creates 3,000° Celsius sparks that will ignite tinder such as grass or paper. Success requires practice to develop the correct technique, as well as knowledge of fire building. But once you master this art, you will be able to light a fire almost anywhere, even in severe conditions. It is designed to last for more than 12,000 strikes, which means it will last for many years. Available from www.amazon.com for US$13.43 (Dh49), plus shipping.
REI Stormproof Matches
These matches are one of the quickest and most straightforward ways to light a fire. At about 11 cents (40 fils) each, they are expensive but work in all but the most extreme weather. Each match has been coated in a chemical which make it easy to light and impossible to put out - each burns for more than 10 seconds even in strong wind or rain. Available from at www.rei.com for $5.50 (Dh20), plus shipping.
Carson MagniSlide Fresnel Magnifier
This lens is a simple and efficient way to light a fire. Simply focus the sun's rays on some tinder and within a few seconds it will begin to smoulder. Obviously, there is one important caveat: it needs sunlight to work. But the lack of moving parts, chemicals or sparks makes it a light, compact and easy-to-use complement to other methods of fire-starting. Available from www.ikelite.com for $4.96 (Dh18), plus shipping.