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#209081 - 10/05/10 02:50 PM Fire Starters in FREEZING CONDITIONS
ireckon Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/01/10
Posts: 1626
Loc: Northern California
I need fire starters for when I go off piste snowboarding. Currently, my system includes the following:

1. Peanut Lighter packed with waterproof tinder.
2. Ferro rod packed with waterproof tinder.
3. Sparker or another ferro rod packed with waterproof tinder. (I'm leaning toward another ferro rod for this third position.)

I yet have to practice fire starting in freezing conditions up on the mountain. Do any of you have experience that will help me?
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#209082 - 10/05/10 03:41 PM Re: Fire Starters in FREEZING CONDITIONS [Re: ireckon]
LesSnyder Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 1506
Loc: New Port Richey, Fla
for your consideration....as Scouts here in Florida, in the summer rainy season we carried our fuel source with us. Shoe polish cans of paraffin filled corrougated cardboard ( wicks made of a couple layers of concentric loops towards outside lip of can. Carried a 1/4 lb block of paraffin for spare fuel. Easy to extinguish, and later added a braided piece of cotton cordage in center for a candle light...

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#209083 - 10/05/10 04:17 PM Re: Fire Starters in FREEZING CONDITIONS [Re: ireckon]
DesertFox Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 01/04/07
Posts: 339
Loc: New York, NY
My favorite in the winter is still cotton balls soaked in petrolium jelly. They light easier than the commercial tinder I have used, and seem to burn longer too.

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#209085 - 10/05/10 04:31 PM Re: Fire Starters in FREEZING CONDITIONS [Re: ireckon]
rebwa Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 01/25/09
Posts: 295
I'd pack some wetfire in a hard container of some sort.

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#209087 - 10/05/10 04:42 PM Re: Fire Starters in FREEZING CONDITIONS [Re: ireckon]
Tarzan Offline
Member

Registered: 02/02/08
Posts: 146
Loc: Washington
The PJ saturated cotton balls seem to be the best bang for the buck in cold or wet conditions. A lot of them pack into a small space and you can use 1/3 of one all fluffed up to get damp tinder going in short order, even in soaking wet conditions. As a resident of the Pacific North Wet, I consider myself somewhat of an authority when it comes to starting a fire in wet conditions. The PJ saturated cotton balls take a spark better than the tinder that comes with a Sparklite or any other store bought creation, and they are dirt cheap to make. A trip to the dollar store will give you several years supply for two bucks. Throw in another buck for some sort of durable container and you are golden, although an empty shoe polish tin would be more than adequate

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#209089 - 10/05/10 05:15 PM Re: Fire Starters in FREEZING CONDITIONS [Re: ireckon]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3077

Cotton balls saturated in Coleman White Gas and/or Trioxane/Hexamine lit with a Lifeboat match, firesteel or magnesium bar (although the firesteel won't get the Hexamine to light on its own).

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#209091 - 10/05/10 05:33 PM Re: Fire Starters in FREEZING CONDITIONS [Re: Tarzan]
Glock-A-Roo Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 1076
Originally Posted By: Tarzan
The PJ saturated cotton balls seem to be the best bang for the buck in cold or wet conditions. A lot of them pack into a small space and you can use 1/3 of one all fluffed up to get damp tinder going in short order, even in soaking wet conditions... The PJ saturated cotton balls take a spark better than the tinder that comes with a Sparklite or any other store bought creation, and they are dirt cheap to make... Throw in another buck for some sort of durable container and you are golden...


Concur on all counts. In fact just last night I made up a fresh batch of PJ balls. I tested one, lighting it on the first try in breezy conditions with a tiny firesteel, and timed the big flame at over 5 minutes. Only after 5 minutes did the flame diminish much. A key improvement is to put a little "dish" of aluminium foil under the PJ ball. This keeps the liquified PJ on hand for ongoing burning, instead of it dripping into the ground or fire platform.

<drumroll please> grin

OK everybody, I am going to reveal what may be the most durable, leakproof(ish), accessible, and compact container yet for PJ balls: Nalgene vials. I triple up a long strip of wax paper to make a U-shaped sleeve, stack the PJ balls down into the vial in the sleeve, fold the ends of the sleeve on top then pop on the cap.

The vial's diameter is perfect for the PJ balls, it is as compact as you can get, it keeps leaks at bay in warm weather (so your other gear doesn't get greasy), and you can use the different sized vials for different sized kits. When needed you just pop out a PJ ball as from a Pez dispenser. I use the smallest vial in my mini kits and the biggest one in my belt-mounted kit. Works great.

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#209096 - 10/05/10 06:03 PM Re: Fire Starters in FREEZING CONDITIONS [Re: Tarzan]
billvann Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 05/10/01
Posts: 780
Loc: NE Illinois, USA (42:19:08N 08...
Originally Posted By: Tarzan
The PJ saturated cotton balls seem to be the best bang for the buck in cold or wet conditions. A lot of them pack into a small space and you can use 1/3 of one all fluffed up to get damp tinder going in short order, even in soaking wet conditions. As a resident of the Pacific North Wet, I consider myself somewhat of an authority when it comes to starting a fire in wet conditions. The PJ saturated cotton balls take a spark better than the tinder that comes with a Sparklite or any other store bought creation, and they are dirt cheap to make. A trip to the dollar store will give you several years supply for two bucks. Throw in another buck for some sort of durable container and you are golden, although an empty shoe polish tin would be more than adequate


I recall reading a thread here years back where someone packed PJ cotton balls into a plastic straw. He then heated the ends (carefully) with a lighter and inched them closed. Then did the same in the middle several times. And then he cut into several segments at the pinch location.

This produces 2-3 inch segements of sealed straws. To use you cut open, ull out the cotton and fluff up.
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Willie Vannerson
McHenry, IL

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#209101 - 10/05/10 06:50 PM Re: Fire Starters in FREEZING CONDITIONS [Re: billvann]
Phaedrus Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2122
Loc: Great Plains
Originally Posted By: billvann


I recall reading a thread here years back where someone packed PJ cotton balls into a plastic straw. He then heated the ends (carefully) with a lighter and inched them closed. Then did the same in the middle several times. And then he cut into several segments at the pinch location.

This produces 2-3 inch segements of sealed straws. To use you cut open, ull out the cotton and fluff up.


That's really good thinking! I wonder where to find a straw large enough? Cotton balls light about the best of any tinder I've tried. PJ does extend them nicely. Carmex or triple antibiotic are maybe even better- they have PJ as a base and burn just as well yet they have more uses than straight PJ.

I find the Tinder-Quik that comes with the Spark-Lite to be superb tinder as well. It lights almost as easily as a cotton ball but it will burn longer than an uncoated cottonball. They're also easy to put out and reuse.

Whatever you use, it's critical to have good tinder on your. Good luck making maya dust or making shavings that will light under stress in wet conditions. A ferro rod's spark is very hot but it doesn't contain much heat, if that makes sense. Tinder must be very fine and dry.
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“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” Naguib Mahfouz

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#209102 - 10/05/10 07:04 PM Re: Fire Starters in FREEZING CONDITIONS [Re: Phaedrus]
billvann Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 05/10/01
Posts: 780
Loc: NE Illinois, USA (42:19:08N 08...
Any drinking straw will work. The cotton balls compress real well.
_________________________
Willie Vannerson
McHenry, IL

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