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#271103 - 08/03/14 02:29 AM Re: How Much Is Too Much? [Re: wildman800]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3580
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: wildman800
Let's look at this question from the perspective of the 4 Priorities:

1) Shelter: one can usually be put together faster if one has the appropriate cutting tools for saplings, vines, etc.

2) Water: requires a vessel to hold the water if it's going to be purified by a filter, chemicals, or boiling (fire). In the case of boiling, a firestarter of any type is a good thing to have.

3) Food: a knife can be used to cut vines & lines; striker on a flint or ferrocium rod; a spear point, skinning/prepping; cooking.

4) Fire or a source of heat: a knife can strike sparks; can be used to prep tender & wood; can make firemaking tools, a bow drill or a trough. A firestarter of any kind is good to have.

IMO: a good sturdy knife(ves) is actually more important than a firemaking kit(s ) but I carry multiples of each kind of steel tool and of fire making means (call me "insecure")


I'm a fan of a good knife, but I think I might disagree and rate fire as more important. Georgraphical differences, perhaps.

I always include fire in each of these categories, Wildman:

Shelter = warmth and protection from the elements and fire is a big part of that most of the year here. I can usually find deadwood and vines to build a shelter without using my knife.

Water = fire makes potable water for me by boiling to disinfect or to melt snow or ice.

Food = fire for cooking, even if we're taking a stove and not a campfire.

Fire = signalling, protection, light, comfort....
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#271105 - 08/03/14 11:27 AM Re: How Much Is Too Much? [Re: Deathwind]
wildman800 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 2803
Loc: La-USA
I don't disagree with your thinking Bacpacjac.

When I was in the Great White North and the temp was -14F, a fire could be burning while I made a shelter. I'd take a break and warm up the hands over the fire. When the shelter was finished, I'd move the fire inside.
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#271109 - 08/03/14 04:52 PM Re: How Much Is Too Much? [Re: Deathwind]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6082
Loc: southern Cal
You really need both fire and shelter to be a happy camper, but shelter can often be found or slightly modified with little or no use of a knife. Natural shelters are typically rock shelters or cave entrances, uprooted tree balls, tangles of debris, or whatever. My best nights in the outdoors have been in nice airy rock shelters, with good rain protection, superior ventilation, a soft sandy floor, and a scenic view - better than any tent or cabin!

Add a fire and you are set.....

Any well equipped individual will carry a blade of some sort, and the means to start a fire, but I have carried redundant fire starters for years. The need for fire is absolutely critical
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#271218 - 08/13/14 10:04 PM Re: How Much Is Too Much? [Re: Deathwind]
BruceZed Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 290
Loc: Canada
I think the other problem is how cold it really is and what level of humidity, a lot of poor fire lighting equipment works in good dry weather and then fails when you really need it i.e. when it gets cold or exposed to high levels of humidity.
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#271235 - 08/14/14 07:14 PM Re: How Much Is Too Much? [Re: BruceZed]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6082
Loc: southern Cal
Originally Posted By: BruceZed
I think the other problem is how cold it really is and what level of humidity, a lot of poor fire lighting equipment works in good dry weather and then fails when you really need it i.e. when it gets cold or exposed to high levels of humidity.


That is precisely why I favor matches (good quality). They have worked for me in some pretty foul conditions (-40F). When it gets really dicey, you need good tinder, decent fuel, and a spot out of the weather to get a fire going. It also makes sense to carry a liquid fueled stove and cookset. They are dependable in really nasty conditions.

Some years ago, three of us were setting out on a SAR mission, starting at 10 PM with snowshoes - winter, ascending in deep snow, and quite cold. I had packed my stove and cook set. One of my companions asked what we had for fire - I produced my gear. he promptly included yet another similar set in his pack. We were all fine with the redundancy. As it happened, neither was actually used.
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#271237 - 08/14/14 07:40 PM Re: How Much Is Too Much? [Re: Deathwind]
Meadowlark Offline
Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 154
Loc: Northern Colorado
Hooray for redundancy, Hikermor!

I'm in the "you can't have enough" category, ever since I had an incident where two of my three fire starters didn't work. (Scouting drilled the "threes" into me, too.) The cotton balls didn't catch fire, because A) they weren't 100% cotton, and B) I'd put too much vaseline in them and I'd kept them smooshed in little zip bags. My matches got used up due to strong wind and rain, even when I was behind a large rock; and I couldn't get enough sparks out of my ferro rod because it was new and I wasn't as experienced with it. Thankfully, I had a Bic lighter and a packet of tissues to ameliorate the sodden cotton balls; but even then, I had a difficult time due to bad weather and lack of dry kindling. (Ended up digging up some dead branches from under a felled tree.)

Since then I've learned to use my ferro rod properly, carry twice the matches, and make sure that my cottonballs aren't soaked and are made from 100% cotton. I've also learned to carry fresh chemical hand warmers in my kit, because even when you have multiple ways to make a fire, it's really hard to do so when your fingers have gone numb!


--M





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#271240 - 08/14/14 09:43 PM Re: How Much Is Too Much? [Re: Deathwind]
TeacherRO Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2211
I carry spares -- matches and lighter-- in the FAK.

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#271251 - 08/15/14 12:39 AM Re: How Much Is Too Much? [Re: Meadowlark]
yee Offline
Member

Registered: 12/10/11
Posts: 169
Originally Posted By: Meadowlark
The cotton balls didn't catch fire, because A) they weren't 100% cotton, and B) I'd put too much vaseline in them and I'd kept them smooshed in little zip bags.


Are you sure that this is due to BOTH problems? I understand the need for 100% cotton.

I have yet to find a problem with TOO much vaseline. I keep the SOAKED vaseline cotton balls smooshed in little zip bags as well. When starting a fire, I take a bit and spend about 30 seconds fluffing it out as much as possible and then the fluffed out ball takes a ferro spark VERY easily and burns for quite a while.

I haven't tried this but I understand putting a bit of metal under the cotton ball will extend the flame even further since the melted petroleum jelly will not melt into the ground.

Am I missing something? Perhaps I am not trying the soaked cotton balls in sufficiently bad conditions that this error has yet to cause problems?

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#271262 - 08/15/14 07:17 AM Re: How Much Is Too Much? [Re: Meadowlark]
Phaedrus Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2043
Loc: Great Plains
Originally Posted By: Meadowlark


Since then I've learned to use my ferro rod properly, carry twice the matches, and make sure that my cottonballs aren't soaked and are made from 100% cotton. I've also learned to carry fresh chemical hand warmers in my kit, because even when you have multiple ways to make a fire, it's really hard to do so when your fingers have gone numb!




All's fair in survival! No such thing as cheating. grin I would suggest adding a few ESBIT tablets to your kit as well. They're very small (the 4gram ones are about the size of a peice of Dentyne chewing gun), waterproof and basically "immortal" as far as shelf life goes. They burn long and hot and can be scraped and lit with a ferro rod as well as with open flame.

As you say, redundancy!
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#271284 - 08/16/14 03:42 PM Re: How Much Is Too Much? [Re: hikermor]
BruceZed Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 290
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: hikermor
We were all fine with the redundancy.


Redundant, Robust, and Easily Usable

We should pack our gear for poor weather, worse conditions, and unforeseen accidents


Edited by BruceZed (08/16/14 03:42 PM)
_________________________
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Chief Instructor
Boreal Wilderness Institute
boreal.net

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