Having been a guide on more wilderness canoe trips than I can remember I can say that you never need a chemical to start a fire. I've done spring, summer, fall and winter trips in the BWCAW and Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario. Trust me, I think only the Pacific Northwest gets more rain than we do here. We do have some summers that are so dry that you can start a fire with harsh language. If you use cedar to start a fire and cut, split hardwood that is standing dead off the ground you can ALWAYS get a fire going in fairly short order. I use birch bark to start it (will light when wet) while adding very small pieces of finely split cedar adding bigger pieces of cedar as the fire grows. Lastly I add the hardwood in small split pieces and go to bigger. Have everything ready is a must(come prepared, be a boyscout). I carry a magnesium stick, strike anywhere stick matches and a couple lighters in my pack. I have these things in my small deer hunting pack right now. On the wilderness trips I also carry a small folding saw and a medium Gerber hatchet. Wood that will always burn are cedar, tamarack and white pine knots(from where the branch comes out of the tree, always the last part to rot). Tamarack burns very hot, white pine knots smells like turpentine up close. All three are full of pitch. My favorite hardwood to use is wood that beavers have cut that has washed up high on a rocky shoreline and left to dry. The outside may be wet, but the inside is always dry. These are the types of wood found in my area and work for me. A nice sized blue or silver plastic tarp is really light for it size, can roll up pretty small and makes life much more comfy stung up over your fire pit. Just run a center ridge rope about 10 feet over the firepit, hang the tarp over it and tie the four corners off a little lower so the water runs off well. A dry place to sit by the fire, a hot meal and cup of coffee. One last note. Make sure you tarp is up high enough and don't build your fire too high. Running and screaming through the woods covered in flaming, melting tarp is VERY BAD JOOJOO.