This is something I do with my students in my winter survival classes and quite frequently in my backyard when the snow is coming down. It is -1 degrees today in Flagstaff so it seemed like a good time to practice. It’s one thing to start a survival fire under controlled conditions during a camping trip or when your body is in good shape but quite another when you are dealing with hypothermia and the reduced motor-skills that accompany it.
1. Place your hands in the snow for 2 minutes then 2) grab your different firemaking tools and try to ignite your tinder. Simple as that. 99% of the time the spark rod is my tool of choice as it requires gross motor skills unlike a lighter or matches and works when wet. Good luck trying to get a lighter going when you’re all thumbs. Tinder is in the top pics. For my friends in Phoenix, get a bowl of ice cubes!
Since the majority of hypothermia cases happen in 50 degree F weather around the world and since most lost dayhikers are injured and hypothermic, it pays to build your skills and accompanying trail gear around the fact that you may have reduced motor-skills.