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Survival and Preparations Long and short term survival and 'prepping'.

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  #1  
Old 02-07-2018, 1:45 AM
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Default Firesteel

They're fun & make great gifts, but how many of you have actually used them to start fires only using natural materials......? While camping I've only used them a few times & with natural tinder it was always a major pain in the @zz. Doable, but I think I chewed through half a rod! As a novice I'm sure my technique was crap, but with pine needles, feather sticks and the like it was damn hard! You guys have the same or different experiences with all natural found tinder?
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Old 02-07-2018, 8:11 AM
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Fat wood feather sticks I’ve got to light, but without magnesium, it’s tricky to make a flame with just the stuff you’ve found in the woods. I carry jute twine for tinder wherever I have a fire steel. I find that a slow-ish strong bulldozing action will drop a larger load of hot sparks where you want them, rather than quick strikes on the steel.


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Old 02-07-2018, 11:32 AM
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I always have found that these things work as well as the tinder I want to light. Duh..
Spark is always good , but you need DRY tinder for quick results. Duh X2.
Finding bone dry tinder is sometimes hard to locate, so I decided to rubber band a magnesium block to the ferro (so I don't loose it). I can dump lots of mag scrapings on the flammables.
This saves the rod and I won't run out of mag powder too quickly.
I use old hacksaw blades or old blade from my sawzsall.

My primary is still a BIC lighter.
If it's damp/wet tinder I wrap some mag tape around the bundle and rediscover fire.
Mag tape makes a good long range signal too. Lights easy with an open flame a la BIC.
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Old 02-07-2018, 1:49 PM
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I like the magnesium "booster" options FeuerFrei provided but they are quickly consumed. Or rather consumed much faster than the ferro rod. For long term viability, learn how to identify and use the natural tinder available to you.

Every time you go for a hike or go camping or are just walking around, look around for tinder. Gather what you find and test it to see what works and what doesn't. Figure out how you will protect and dry out that tinder. If you can find some tinder in the morning, could you dry it out during the day to use when you get to your destination?

The more you can learn about and rely on your environment, the less you have to carry.

Some tricks to getting sparks from a ferro rod:
-It's the rod, not the paint on the rod, that sparks
-Your scraper needs to have a good sharp edge to scrap/cut the ferro material off the rod
-Scraping requires good pressure, perpendicular to the rod
-Once you figure out the pressure and angle to get good sparks, learn how to hold the scraper still and pull the rod back toward you to get sparks. This helps throw sparks onto your tinder without knocking the tinder over with your hand and scraper or blowing the material away from the wind when your hand passes over it

Practice practice practice and have fun
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Last edited by TheChief; 02-07-2018 at 1:54 PM..
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Old 02-07-2018, 4:04 PM
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I don't have a problem with fire steel. Make sure your tinder is good and dry and thin.
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Old 02-08-2018, 10:29 PM
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firesteel is MUCH better than snredded magnesium

bought couple tubes of the shredded stuff and it would hardly spark (this was after 1 month - took some out of tube and tried to light) did not try prior.
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Old 02-08-2018, 11:50 PM
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Dryer lint is your friend.
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Old 02-09-2018, 7:42 AM
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Dryer lint with a little Vaseline in it is your better friend
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Old 02-09-2018, 8:25 AM
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I am surprised at all these posts on using home made tinder in this forum. They have weight to them and are completely consumed in each fire. If you are using one of these, why not just carry more lighters as they will provide flame for much longer periods and can get many more uses than those posted.

Instead, learn how to identify, gather and process materials into tinder from the environment as you need them. There is less to carry which equals more space and less weight. Also, you will have access to a near limitless supply of tinder then. If you are wandering into an environment that may be sparse, "than" at that time gather a bit more tinder and pack it with you.
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Old 02-09-2018, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheChief View Post
I am surprised at all these posts on using home made tinder in this forum. They have weight to them and are completely consumed in each fire. If you are using one of these, why not just carry more lighters as they will provide flame for much longer periods and can get many more uses than those posted.

Instead, learn how to identify, gather and process materials into tinder from the environment as you need them. There is less to carry which equals more space and less weight. Also, you will have access to a near limitless supply of tinder then. If you are wandering into an environment that may be sparse, "than" at that time gather a bit more tinder and pack it with you.
I generally agree with that, but there are always some caveats.
Taking into account the time of year (weather) and type of terrain you're traveling can be tough to find good stuff.
Always grip some dry tinder of opportunity when you see it. Topping off the tinder as you would any water you find.
Knowing what makes good free range tinder when you're boonie packing only comes with experience & experimentation.
My strategy has always been a tiered approach.
Bic is my primary.
Matches are secondary followed by magnifying glass and finally the ferro/mag dust method.
Mag tape (booster) will pack anywhere (wraps around anything), so if my tinder gets wet for some ungodly reason I know I can get something to light up.
**Ferro/mag method is water proof and pretty tough to break too, so it's SOP to have.


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Old 02-09-2018, 12:02 PM
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If youre gonna carry tinder, dryer lint with vaseline, steel wool, or char cloth are excellent options. Usually an altoids tin can fit everything you need including the flint and steel.

Char cloth takes a little time to make, but you can carry enough for 100+ fires in one tin.

Pine needles and fir sticks are not gonna catch a spark, you need something finer. You can take pine needles or dry grass and roll it in a ball between your hands until it starts to break down into smaller fibers and it will catch easier, or make a birds nest of grass and crush up dried leaves into almost powder and put them in the middle of the birds nest
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Old 02-09-2018, 6:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuda440 View Post
If youre gonna carry tinder, dryer lint with vaseline, steel wool, or char cloth are excellent options. Usually an altoids tin can fit everything you need including the flint and steel.

Char cloth takes a little time to make, but you can carry enough for 100+ fires in one tin.

Pine needles and fir sticks are not gonna catch a spark, you need something finer. You can take pine needles or dry grass and roll it in a ball between your hands until it starts to break down into smaller fibers and it will catch easier, or make a birds nest of grass and crush up dried leaves into almost powder and put them in the middle of the birds nest
Exactly, most are just not doing it right.
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