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#116412 - 12/18/07 04:33 PM Spark-Lite Disintegration
rasatter Offline

Registered: 06/09/03
Posts: 38
I had an issue with a Spark-Lite yesterday that I wanted to share. We just put our boat up for the winter, and I took out the emergency kit for a quick once-over before next season. The kit is kept in a large pelican box under a seat.

Upon opening it, I found some mildew on certain items, so I decided to redo the kit, with more individualized heavy zip-loc bags. I had a spark lite kit and some wet fire in a small zip loc already, so I almost skipped the step of individually inspecting it. Luckily, I did, because when I tried the spark-lite, it looked like the flint had somehow gotten wet and disintegrated. The wheel spun freely, and just a little dust came out.

I'm posting this because I always counted the spark lites among my "safety net" gear -- planning on using them as backups in case my waterproof matches didn't work, etc. I like their size, convenience, and ease of use, among other features. I am a little concerned now, though, since my rock solid backup isn't so rock solid any more -- at least where moisture may be present. I am considering switching to another item, and am looking for input on a comparable choice, in terms of cost, size, ease of use, etc. This would necessitate a switch in probably 6 or 8 kits that I have in various locations, so I want to make a good choice.

FWIW, this experience also reaffirmed my belief in the value of checking EVERY ITEM in my kits on a periodic basis.

Hope others find this experience at least somewhat useful, and I look forward to suggestions from the group.

Merry Christmas


#116414 - 12/18/07 04:46 PM Re: Spark-Lite Disintegration [Re: rasatter]
Schwert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/13/02
Posts: 905
Loc: Seattle, Washington
Too bad about the moisture in the Pelikan box. You may have to add a box of silica gel to the box to keep everything dry. I would inspect the Pelikan box seal ring also and the pressure relief valve (if it has one).

I would also consider sealing a firesteel or the Spark-lite in a heat sealed bag.

Moisture, especially salt water moisture is very damaging to firesteels.

#116416 - 12/18/07 05:00 PM Re: Spark-Lite Disintegration [Re: Schwert]
haertig Offline

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2035
Loc: Colorado
You can't do this with a Spark-Lite, but for a regular firesteel you can paint over the surface with women's nail polish to help protect from oxidation (choose your color for additional flare!) It will scrape right off when you go to use the firesteel.

#116424 - 12/18/07 05:41 PM Re: Spark-Lite Disintegration [Re: Schwert]
rasatter Offline

Registered: 06/09/03
Posts: 38
Thanks for the response.

I'm not sure how the moisture got in, but it was more likely my fault than the Pelican's. I either used something and put it back wet, or there was a leak in my Nalgene bottle of emergency water (although there was no visible moisture around the bottle).

I've now broken down most items and put them in individually sized 4 mil zip loc bags. Hopefully that will work better.

#116426 - 12/18/07 05:43 PM Re: Spark-Lite Disintegration [Re: haertig]
Chris Kavanaugh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 3824
Two thoughts: First, Oak @ four Seasons did have a small run of defective Sparklites get out into the market. I hope you still have yours. It may very well be salt air and moisture corrosion. Whatever the cause, please talk to Oak and if possible he may want to examine your unit.His service is exemplary and the Sparklite a marvelous tool. Something went wrong,somewhere.

#116473 - 12/19/07 12:24 AM Re: Spark-Lite Disintegration [Re: rasatter]
smitty Offline

Registered: 11/01/06
Posts: 97
Loc: Missouri
Hello rasatter..... Merry Christmas to you!
How old was the Spark-Lite?


#116482 - 12/19/07 01:07 AM Re: Spark-Lite Disintegration [Re: Schwert]
LED Offline

Registered: 09/01/05
Posts: 1474
I second Schwert's idea of silica gel packs. I use the one's that come in shoe boxes, pill bottles, etc, but they also have some that change color when saturated with moisture. Might be handy in a marine environment.


#116487 - 12/19/07 02:10 AM Re: Spark-Lite Disintegration [Re: smitty]
rasatter Offline

Registered: 06/09/03
Posts: 38
It had probably been in the kit for about 2 years. Merry Christmas to you as well.

#116488 - 12/19/07 02:11 AM Re: Spark-Lite Disintegration [Re: LED]
rasatter Offline

Registered: 06/09/03
Posts: 38
Believe it or not, I actually bought a bulk package of them and there were two of them in the box. In fairness, though, they were probably 2 years old. . . .

I have no sense of how long they're supposed to last. Anyone?

#116489 - 12/19/07 02:13 AM Re: Spark-Lite Disintegration [Re: rasatter]
Stu Offline
I am not a P.P.o.W.
Old Hand

Registered: 05/16/05
Posts: 1058
Loc: Finger Lakes of NY State
I forwarded your post to Oak Norton of Four Seasons Survival 814-234-0698 and he would like you to contact him regarding the replacement of your Spark-Lite. Please save your old one, as Oak would like it back.
Our most important survival tool is our brain, and for many, that tool is way underused! SBRaider
Head Cat Herder

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