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Firesteels, the reality...

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by francis castiglione, Oct 19, 2008.

  1. Cheeser
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Cheeser Hey Bub!

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    I got mine wet in the sea one day a long story involving a cache hunt and an unexpected hole in the sand bar lol. I wiped it off and it got a little pitting but still worked fine :). Actually that same incident showed me that the Leatherman Wave is easy to clean and prevent rust forming....
     
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  2. greenmountainbooks

    greenmountainbooks Loaded Pockets

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    Some backpackers love the fire sticks (even to the exclusion of other fire starters), but I have no idea why. Most seem to use a lighter (disposable or otherwise) maybe with a mini-Bic for backup (as I mostly do). The paranoid in me frequently adds wooden matches in a plastic safe.
    I normally have in my pack a magnesium bar with a striker on one side. My limited use of it suggests it could be great, but as Colin Fletcher once said of magnifying glass, how useful would it be under the kind of conditions (wet, cold, rainy, soaked tinder, numb fingers) where you need it most? I use it to light my alcohol stoves, which are a risk to fingers if a lighter is used.
    I have tried the butane-refillable Venturi lighters which are great until you need to refill them, then they usually never light again. An alternative is a Ryobi torch or similar model device powered by a disposable butane lighter. They eat fuel, but can even dry out kindling. They will not use a Bic brand lighter. I used them when I smoked cigars while driving my truck.
    I do admit to being intrigued by some of the one-handed flint striker models you see on shows like "Naked and Afraid." They are, however just a little too pricey for me to spring for one and then find out I do not like it. The cheap ones fall apart readily (I can testify), the good ones are in the area of $30 and even they (given what I see when wielded by naked folk) fall apart occasionally. They do require a solid surface to push it against. A finger does not work. The attempt however, will leave your finger pocked with tiny black burns that leave interesting scars.
    I suppose I will continue to carry my magnesium bar w/ striker in the pack; it weights maybe 2 ounces or a tad more, so the deficit is not great. The price, when purchased from dealers on eBay is not bad. I wonder though how long the striker bar will work. Of course a separate striker bar is maybe another ounce and $3.
    The magnesium bar/strikers do work to light backpacking stoves with a non-functioning built-in lighter (or said alcohol stoves). A lighter is no good for this as second degree burns ensue. Otherwise I or you are left with tossing in a piece of lit toilet paper.
     
    Last edited by greenmountainbooks, Mar 25, 2015
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  3. Cheeser
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Cheeser Hey Bub!

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    I like items with few moving parts or degree of breakage when I'm hiking or camping. I've been so cold my fingers have seized up and tried and failed to strike a match a number of times, ending up with broken matches and no fire. A firesteel needs less dexterity than a match and isn't affected by water like matches and a lighter can be. I'd rather use a lighter, but I've practised with a firesteel enough to be secure :)
     
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  4. Fort fireman

    Fort fireman Loaded Pockets

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    I like fire steels. I have them squirreled away every where. :) this is my fire kit that I keep in my bag.

    [​IMG]

    It all stays in a vinyl BP cuff pouch.

    I also have several different steels in other places. I keep a small 2 inch in my wallet with a small pill ziplock Baggie with PJ cotton balls.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    However my preferred way of stsrting a fire generally is a real flint and steel with chArcloth. The way I look at it is it is good practice to get proficient at it. If I can routinely get a fire going with that matches, lighters, candles, ferro rods should all be pretty darn simple.
     
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  5. Andrew.C

    Andrew.C Loaded Pockets

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    Got a large 5" that pretty much lights anything with couple quick strikes and fine enough tinder(small feathersticks work fine, dont need lint/cotton balls)
     
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  6. leigh_ratcliffe

    leigh_ratcliffe Loaded Pockets

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    It's called the DOAN. Still being made. I prefer them to a standard Ferro rod.
     
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  7. Cheeser
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    Cheeser Hey Bub!

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    I used to have a heap of those, but gave most of them away to people lol
     
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  8. cityofthesouth

    cityofthesouth Loaded Pockets

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    I haven't brought myself to see the point in firesteels personally. I guess I see two scenarios. The first is the emergency situation and in this case I want to just have fire right now - bic lighter. The other scenario is a situation where you have to live without modern conveniences. In this case anything is fine to start, but once it's gone you're probably going to just use friction to start fires and likely keep fires going almost all the time for cooking and heat depending on where you live. A fire plough is about as simple as it gets.
     
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  9. Zig Zag

    Zig Zag Empty Pockets

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    I use a firesteel/ferro rod with feathersticks, works good. Some people don't know you need to scrape off the black coating that they usually come with. Practise every once in awhile if you're not always out in the woods.
     
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  10. CSM-101
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner
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    CSM-101 EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    I've been spending so much time on bowdrills, I've slacked off on my feathersticks. I'll have to fix that... :D
     
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  11. Ghost

    Ghost Loaded Pockets

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    In my area Paperbark trees (a type of gumtree) are plentiful and better than Vaseline soaked cotton balls. Tear of a piece of bark and rub vigorously between your hands to produce a pile of fluffy fibres and resinous dust, strike flint and pile on twigs...
     
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  12. Cheeser
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    Cheeser Hey Bub!

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    Theres a couple of gums that have very fibrous bark that also works with :) we only get the paperbarks in the north west of Tassie, Tea tree works just as well too
     
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  13. james.lee

    james.lee Loaded Pockets

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    i can always find tinder sooooo
    also i carry a thing of cotton