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#80837 - 12/20/06 05:31 AM Re: This Is Pathetic
JCWohlschlag Offline
Some guy who wandered in…
Old Hand

Registered: 11/26/06
Posts: 724
Loc: Dallas, Pennsylvania, United S...
I don't think it's pathetic at all. I used to think it was pathetic back when I was having a good ol' time trying to get a Boy Scout campfire going and it took me !@#$in' forever! (Not to mention we needed the fire to cook dinner!)

Like all equipment, skills should be tested, too. In fact, this particular forum may need to be renamed to "Around the Campfire (Once we get it lit in an hour or two…)".
“Hiking is just walking where it’s okay to pee. Sometimes old people hike by mistake.” — Demitri Martin

#80838 - 12/20/06 05:55 AM Re: This Is Pathetic
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Thirty-four minutes today, less tomorrow. Keep practicing, and you'll be able to do it in your sleep.

And you didn't (looking quickly both ways over shoulder and voice dropping to a whisper) even have to use.... gasoline! <img src="/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />


#80839 - 12/20/06 08:19 AM same here. Learned a LOT
jmarkantes Offline

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 138
Loc: Portland, OR, USA
This last weekend went hiking a ways with the intention of practicing making a fire in less than ideal conditions. In the Columbia Gorge we just had a lot of rain, followed by a couple days of freezing temps. So everything was either frozen or still soaked through.

I've made some fires in better conditions, but holy moly if that was an actual fire making emergency and not a test, I'd be frozen. Tried using flint, pj cotton tinder, and just a mini mk-1 to split wood.

Long story short, beat the hell out of that knife while batonning through what I could to find dry wood. No luck. Tried a few times with different kindling types (mainly small stuff around the forest [wet], and fire trees [still wet]). Even blistered my thumb carving those trees.

The whole patience thing that everyone always says is vital. Just while practicing I was finding myself getting very frustrated. It takes practice to take the time to really set things up completely. Also learned that a saw or hatchet is really needed in order to split larger logs to find dry wood in wet areas.

And finally, flint is really the ONLY way to go. Bic's are worthless wet.


#80840 - 12/20/06 09:45 AM Re: This Is Pathetic
redflare Offline

Registered: 12/25/05
Posts: 647
Loc: SF Bay Area, CA
This brings up an interesting point.

In my preps I always asume that I would be the one making a fire in an emergency. I had plenty of practice doing this while camping etc. But, what if I was injured? Would my wife be able to duplicate my effort? Would she be able to set-up a shelter? I guess everyone in the party needs to know the basic survival skills in case the other person is incapacitated.

#80841 - 12/20/06 01:42 PM Re: This Is Pathetic
KG2V Offline


Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 1371
Loc: Queens, New York City
Hey, you learned something. Great. Now a few hints

Building a fire is work. The HARD part comes before you ever even TRY. As I used to say to the younger scouts oh so many years ago "it takes more fuel, kindling and tinder than you think to get and keep a fire going" (I belonged to a city troop, but Dad took me camping/firemaking MANY times before I became a scout - it was trivial by the time I became a scout)

What most of the guys brought back as tinder, I used to laugh, and say "that's small/medium" kindling. Finding DRY tinder is so important, and having a mix of different sizes of kindling is important. From twigs the size of a leaf stem up to say 1/2" - and yeah that stuff 1/16" in diameter it too thick to be tinder, unless it's BONE dry, and your using a match.

BTW It's REAL fun in the pouring rain
73 de KG2V
You are what you do when it counts - The Masso
Homepage: http://www.thegallos.com
Blog: http://kg2v.blogspot.com

#80842 - 12/20/06 03:22 PM Re: same here. Learned a LOT
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
Yes, lighters are worthless compared to flint and steel. That's why they and matches can get a fire going in on the first flame even if your tinder isn't perfect and requires less practice and coordination. And don't tell me there is nothing to break with flint. If you ever tried to use any kind of spark-system with damp tinder, you'd know that there is plenty to go wrong, while all you have to do is shake out and maybe warm the Bic in your armpit for a minute if it is super cold. Yes, truly a grossly inferior product in that it is easier and faster to use, more forgiving of operator error and environmental factors, and even if it runs out of fuel it still has all the abilities of a flint and steel.

The sole advantage of flint is the number of fires per ounce, but let's face it, if you need that many lights, it isn't survival, it's a new life style that you are dealing with. That is not to say you shouldn't have flint, but it is an alternative method for use when you don't have or don't want to use a match or lighter fuel, just like your boot lace.

I'm not meaning to kick you in the jimmies, man, your statement was just too silly to resist.

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

#80843 - 12/20/06 04:23 PM Some Progress
Jeanette_Isabelle Offline

Registered: 11/13/06
Posts: 2423
Loc: Somewhere in Florida
Last night I was able to get a second fire going using the Spark-Lite, my last Tinder-Quick and an artificial log. I was able to get a fire going quickly this time. With a total of four successful attempts, I am able to ignite a Tinder-Quick with the Spark-Lite with no problem. I am now out of Tinder-Quicks, I lost my Spark-Lite in the fire place which is now probably a glob of melted plastic and I am still having to rely on an artificial log to get real wood burning, which may not always be available.

I need to get a new Spark-Lite, more Tinder-Quicks and more artificial logs. I will keep some artificial logs in the trunk of my car for the time being. Hopefully the artificial logs would be accessible in the event of an emergency until I can master the skill of starting a fire with just a Spark-Lite, a Tinder-Quick and what I am able to forage.

Jeanette Isabelle
“Trust me, this is not gonna end well!” — Pleakley, Lilo & Stitch

#80844 - 12/20/06 07:18 PM Re: Some Progress
91gdub Offline

Registered: 11/12/06
Posts: 172
Loc: South Jersey (the 51st state)
Sounds exactly like something that I would do. <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

At least now you know that you can do it. When you order new supplies might be a good idea to order a spare.
Bill Houston

#80846 - 12/20/06 10:47 PM Re: Some Progress
JCWohlschlag Offline
Some guy who wandered in…
Old Hand

Registered: 11/26/06
Posts: 724
Loc: Dallas, Pennsylvania, United S...
Spark-Lite + Lanyard <img src="/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />
“Hiking is just walking where it’s okay to pee. Sometimes old people hike by mistake.” — Demitri Martin

#80847 - 12/20/06 11:25 PM Re: Some Progress
Stu Offline
I am not a P.P.o.W.
Old Hand

Registered: 05/16/05
Posts: 1058
Loc: Finger Lakes of NY State
mix a little Vaseline into plain cotton balls. Pull some fibers lose on the ball, and aim your sparks at them. Instant tinder, far cheaper than tinder quick.
Our most important survival tool is our brain, and for many, that tool is way underused! SBRaider
Head Cat Herder

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