View Full Version : Fire starter
10-28-2004, 08:29 AM
I am interested in what kind of fire starter you guys carry in your packs (if any). I am looking for some lightweight stuff that will work best for wet wood in Alaska. Ed F
10-28-2004, 01:20 PM
Here's what I carry, and have for many years since I read about it in "Tap's Tips" (by H.G. Tapley) in the old Field & Streams.
Take several (i.e., 3-5) thin birthday cake candles and give 'em a wrap of electrical tape (or equivalent) at their bases. You want them all in line with their wicks together. I've found these work fairly well to get a fire going in tough conditions. Hold the tape end, light the wicks, tilt so the flame is below the angle of the candles and drip burning wax onto the wood. It requires a little finess as if you are too far above the wood, the wax doesn't light, and if you're too close, you'll smother the wicks. I'm pretty sure there are better commercial emergency firestarters... but what I describe is very inexpensive (gotta cut corners to save $$$ for my future Alaska trip). One of the items I've thought of trying are those fireplace starter cubes... I think they are sawdust and parafin and come in a little foil pouch.
Now, these items are what I'd call "fire accelerants"... you still need to get the darn things lit in the first place. In addition to a couple bic lighters, I ALWAYS have a package of "storm matches"... you can get these at West Marine or REI... they are thick wood matches with a big hunk of the part that burns on the end (like an inch long), coated in wax so they are near 100% waterproof, and once they are lit they will even burn underwater (I've tested them, it's true).
If you want an absolute bomb-proof, the SHTF firestarter/accelerant, I'll give you my plans for one I've designed (in my head) but never used.
Take several feet of waterproof canon fuse (you can get it from blackpower supply places) and wrap it tightly to a medium diameter candle (say 1-2 inches). Hold it on with tape or tie it on. Once that is lit, you WILL have fire.
I thought you were staying on the boat? Things will have gone to hell in a handbasket if you end up needing an emergency firestarter, but it's good that you're thinking about it "just in case". Preparing for the worst and hoping for the best is what seperates the idiots from the survivors.
Good luck on your hunt and be safe!
p.s. In a real jam, any plastic will also work... fletching is thin and will light quick, and even your bowstring wax can be used as an accelerant. Hmm... those vibration dampers in your Mathews might also burn. http://www.jesseshunting.com/forums/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smiley-devil.gif Yeah, I have Mathews envy... I was just shooting one in Wilderness Archery (in Rocklin) yesterday... quiet, no vibration... I NEED ONE!
10-29-2004, 10:26 AM
If you are in coastal Alaska, you'll never be far from Spruce trees. Find a branch with dead brown needles on it, break off a hunk. If it is dry (not likely in the rain forest), dunk it in a little water for a few seconds. Pull it out, shake off the excess water. Stick it in your pile of firewood kindling and light it with a match. It will take off and burn fairly hot for a few seconds.
I know this sounds nuts, but I've done it in Minnesota and in Alaska. There is oil in the dry needles. Wetting it somewho pulls the oil to the surface. It does burn, even better when wet (dampish).
Otherwise, bring a candle and matches in a waterproof container (old plastic 35 mm film can). Bring a small hatchet so you can split wet wood to get into dry wood. Bring a hat with a brim so you can fan the flames. Beats the heck out of blowing on them for getting the coals to flame up.
Out in the tundra, they may have those stunted little trees and they may be spruce. I never messed around in the tundra. I was in Juneau for 2 yrs.
There is also a product called "Fire Ribbon" comes in a tube like toothpaste.
11-09-2004, 08:36 PM
I carry mini Bic lighters. I put a couple in my pack in different pockets and carry one in my pants or jacket pocket. I keep the lighters that are stored in my pack in ziplock bags. Also, I carry an old Military fuel tab (Trioxane) that was used for heating rations. I open the pack and keep it in a ziplock as well, that way I can break off pieces and use them. You can get the fuel tabs at most military surplus stores. I have seen them range from 3 to 12 for a dollar. They are slow burning so they work great for starting fires.
I have thought about getting one of those windproof/waterproof lighters but as stated before, I carry extra lighters, that is because I have a tendancy of loosing them. The bics have worked in some serious bad weather for me, so I will just stick to them. Also, when I have extra lighters in plastic bags, I don't see the reason to carry matches as well.
The best firestarters out in the woods are birch bark and pine sap from what I have found. Also the moss that grows on spruce is good too. Branches on dead trees that are still standing tend to be the dryest.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.1.7 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.