What’s the best way to light a fire when you’re out and about?

Q: Perhaps you could settle an argument for me. What’s the best way to light a fire when you’re out and about? I prefer a lighter, but my friend prefers a box of matches. Or is there something we’ve not thought of?

JONNY CROCKETT replies: Lighters come in all shapes and sizes these days. The turbo lighters are excellent but are so powerful that they sometimes blast out the tinder you’re trying to set light to; disposable lighters have a tendency to blow out at the vital moment; and both run out of fuel when you most need them.

Matches are great, especially if you use more than one at a time; this gives you a long blast of heat. The biggest problem with matches is the damp. They’ve been around a long time, though, and are more environmentally friendly than lighters.

Another option is to use very resinous tinder sticks (spruce with a high resin content) and a fire steel. This is a metal rod that produces a shower of sparks when you run a striker down it. The downside to this is you need to take two items with you, namely the fire steel and the tinder stick. Being a self-confessed fire freak, I take a fire steel, and a lighter.

Remember: always light your fire with the easiest method available.