View Full Version : Firestarters

2007-11-27, 07:57
I carry book matches wrapped in wax paper in my pocket almost constantly. When in the woods I carry a match container with stick matches and a candle in it. I also carry a bic lighter in my pack (and occasionally in my pocket too.)

Some might say this is overkill - and they could be right. However to me the 2 most important survival tools you can carry are a knife and fire.

Anyway back to my subject, lately I started to think about other fire starters.
I have a bit of experience with flint and steel, and have used a fire bow. I'm definitely not expert with either.

Anyone else have experience with these, or other fire starting methods?
Any tips in their use?

2007-11-27, 09:42
http://hikinghq.net/forum/showthread.php?t=2142&highlight=firestarter :biggrin:

Used these this year at hunting camp to show off, dunked them in water, shook them off, and then one match and they lit right up...

SGT Rock
2007-11-27, 20:03
Ive done the bow and drill method. Takes time, patients, and hard work. Matches and lighter are much easier.

2007-11-27, 20:11
Glycol and potassium permanganate. Glycol can be found at any cigar store, it's used to humidify cigars. PP can be found at a plumbing supply place or online for very little.
Dont get the mix anywhere near magnesium, fossil fuels, or aluminum though. 1 and 3 will give you a thermite mix, and 2 just explodes.

2007-11-27, 20:57
I saw Les take something out of his first aid kit to make fire through chemical reaction on one of his episodes but I don't remember what they were.

I carry two ferrocerium rods a small one in my first aid kit and a army model firesteel, I usually always use these and PJ cotton balls to light my campfires. Pretty water proof I put ten cotton balls in a film canister usually last for my weekend trips with some extra. Some people like hand sanitizer and cotton balls. In a pinch you can just light the cotton it burns pretty good by itself. In an emergency you can use cotton gauze and lipbalm they all work pretty good. Dryer lint from cotton towelss and clothes works pretty well too. I carry a bic to light my alcohol stove just so I don't spill it when I'm trying to get it lit, although it's completely possible to do so with the ferrocerium rod. Something I use to carry is some Fatwood just splinter off a piece and touch it to a flame and it burns long enough to light your kindling. oh yeah you can use the lint off your socks to start a fire if you wore cotton socks. The brown part of a cattail works pretty well too if you catch them when they ready to fluff just squeeze it a little bit if it fluffs white it's good tinder. I usually cut a few off in the fall and just stow em in a ziploc for tinder later on. I have others but don't regularly carry them like a blastmatch, several magnifying lenses, zippo, and a fire piston.

2007-11-27, 23:40
I carry a lighter and also waterproof matches in a ziplock bag

2007-11-28, 00:27
Fire by friction methods are REALLY HARD. I have the utmost respect for people that can make some of them work in a matter of minutes. Its one of those things that are real easy to watch/read about, but so hard to actually do.

I have had the most success with hand drill and notched plank.
I used a bow drill effectively once. But find just the right pieces is a royal pain!
Real easy to hurt yourself with too.
I have tried the fire plough about a million times! but I just can't get an ember.
I want to try a fire piston, but I think its quite an impractical thing to
either carry, or to field fabricate. but it looks so cool to watch them work.
I also want to try the fire saw technique.

Fire steels that are embedded in magnesium sticks are the cats pajamas.
Anyone could make fire with those.

For ease of use, it is pretty hard to beat the blast-match. Its kinda big though. I like the new mini firesteels backpackinglight started carrying.

2007-11-28, 19:03
"Fire steels that are embedded in magnesium sticks are the cats pajamas.
Anyone could make fire with those."

I have one in my SUV and one in my belly pack. I am rarely very far from one. They are the bee's knees.

pure mahem -- yup same thing Les used. Glycol is used as a diarhea medicine and PP is an antibiotic. Or the other way around, cant remember. So, dont try them on my advice! But that mix has been known for eternity. If you add iron oxide ( rust ) to the mix, it'll burn through steel plate.

2007-12-01, 01:07
I carry a lighter, stormproof matches, regular stick matches, some sort of mini butane torch and cottonballs & vaseline in an Altoids tin.

Can't have too many ways of making fire.

2007-12-02, 00:27
Anybody know if that Glycol and Potasium permanganate are commonly carried in a small quantity packet type? Or under a name brand product? As the episode I saw Les use them in the containers were quite large. Or are these comon items if you were going on safari in another country? I really don't know if I would go out of the way to carry these products if they were only available in the large bottles and say there was something better I would be carrying anyway to do the same initial purpose.

Another idea I just came up with is to drill a hole in the bottom of my trail hawk just big enough to insert a 2" ferocerrium rod and some sort of screw cap. not sure what type of screw cap but definately and idea I think I'm going to try. The worse thing that can happen is I'll have to buy another $4 handle to replace it.

2007-12-02, 09:34
You could make up your own little bundles, just keep them stored in different pockets. Glycol is a liquid sold in cigar stores in fairly small bottles. PP is usually sold in gal to 5 gal containers. It's cheap, and can be used as a drain opener, so keep the rest at the house. But, its weight I think would make it prohibitive to carry on a long hike for long term use. But if you made up a one or two use emergency kit, I think that would work fine.

2007-12-02, 18:32
I did a search on the PP and only antiseptic use I kept coming across was for curing infections in fish and as a chemical carried at pool supply stores. I don't think it would be effective for me to carry it although it is good knowledge to know. A websearch said that PP is sometimes used as a water treatment to get rid of heavy water, used most often in third world countries. Like I said good info to know but seems impractical to use here unless you made a special kit only for that purpose. Surprised someone hasn't made something like a light stick for an emergency fire using these ingredients, but then again I would hate for one to go off or break accidently or have some kid play with the damn thing on the shelf in the store but hey it's a thought I didn't say it was a great one that was thought all the way through.
I was thinking of going to the pharmacy and asking about PP but I think I might get arrested or at the very least harrassed by the police for trying to procure the ingredients to make an incendiary device especially if I told them why I was looking for it. Even though I know I could make a bigger boom with some cold packs and a little coleman fuel wich nobody would even blink an eye to sell someone going on a camping trip, funny how they sell rocket motors in the toy section. And they won't sell you more than two prepaid cell phones in a day because the components can supposedly be use to make a bomb. I still haven't figured that out unless they're using it as some sort of autodialer detonator. CRAZY!

Anyway for all practicality I'll stick to my ferocerrium rod and my bic!

2007-12-04, 20:38
PP is a an amazing chemical. It has about as many uses as Coca Cola. It's one hellacious oxidizer.

- Can be used as a disinfectant
- Very dilute solution, it can treat canker sores, athletes foot, ring worm, minor infections, and acne.
- found this little nugget, you can soak a piece of paper in glycol ( antifreeze ) and add powered PP to make fire. Hadnt thought of carrying it soaked up in paper.
- can be used to disinfect water, emergency use only
- sorry for this one, only being thorough, can be injected into the uterus to spur an abortion
- spies can use it to temporarily bleach out the skin's melanin thereby changing their appearance.
-PP and hydrogen peroxide is a rocket fuel.
- can be used to treat chemical weapon injuries, namely those using phophorus as a base.
- and a whole bunch of stuff that the FBI wouldnt want me to type.

2007-12-04, 20:47
Neat video of PP and glycol reaction. Just found out that hydrogen peroxide can be substituted for the straight glycol/glycerine.


2007-12-05, 21:32
i carry a couple BIC lighters, either a full size and a mini as the spare, or 2 minis. dug one up at Hohenfels once, that my tank had run over. the steel parts were rusty, so it had been there awhile. but it still worked. i was sold. haven't carried matches in years.

when i was a boy cout, we were at some point required to make fire by a bunch of different methods, and i was taught to use flint and steel (hardest), battery and steel wool (waste of a battery), one of those magnesium firestarter things (WAY easier than flint and steel!), and a fire bow/drill. i got the fire bow/drill thing to work, but it was tough.

a few years ago, i got interested in re-learning some of my fieldcraft. i tried all sorts of stuff, but couldn't do it. made a lot of smoke, but no fire. then i found a book on outdoor survival by a guy named Tom Brown (he runs a place called the tracker school). in it, he mentioned that some of the easiest wood to get to char like you need it to was cedar. so i tried it (cut from a leftover fence panel). worked like a champ... and with that success, i figured out the 'technique' to make other stuff go up in smoke and flames...

but i still rely on the lighter. even without fluid, it will make good sparks.