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Emergency Fire Tinder

Share your advice and personal experiences, post a gear review or ask any questions you may have pertaining to outdoor gear and equipment.

Re: Emergency Fire Tinder

Postby oldranger » Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:48 am


Even old farts backpacking since the 1950s learn from this forum!


Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!

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Re: Emergency Fire Tinder

Postby maverick » Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:14 pm

Maddog61 wrote:
Good topic Maverick,
I for one will admit that I hadn't thought of putting my bag & clothes in a trash bag. I
have a rain cover for my pack, but hadn't considered falling into water. This is probably
even more important now that Santa brought me a down bag.
It is assumed by some that these basics are common knowledge, or that HST is composed
only of seasoned veterans, but I can't be the only one that learns valuable lessons from
threads like this. Simple precautions like these could save the life of one of our own.

No, thank you Maddog69 for being open to listening and reading just one of many
important and possibly life saving information tips that has been posted here on HST
by many folks over the years! HST is a treasure trove of valuable information
for any outdoor person who is willing to read, listen, and do a little research.
Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Emergency Fire Tinder

Postby sparky » Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:42 pm

I dont carry emergency fire kit. It is probably a good idea though.

I have been cold once....summer 2004

In a meadow, in a forest, it had been raining most of the day. I was damp, but warm, and started my modern day vision quest. As the sacrament took hold I remember getting my mind blown watching the rain hit, and stream down the tent fabric. I was reaching a state of pure bliss, epiphanies and realizations exploding at a million miles an hour.

It was then I decided emptying my water jug on my head seemed like an excellent idea. I was then drenched to the bone, and not long after my mind was leaving my nody. I knew I should be colld so I climbed into my tent into my sleeping bag. I promptly launched into outer space. When I came to, I was in bad shape. My sleeping bag felt like I was inside a freezing cold small intestine. I was cold to the bone, and I felt I would die if I didnt warm up. I tried to get a fire going, but was unsuccessful.

I ran to the trailhead, into my car....but I forgot my keys. Luckily it was unlocked, and in the back was some dry clothes and a bunch of newspapers. I rode out the remainder
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Emergency Fire Tinder

Postby jimqpublic » Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:14 am

Sparky's tale shows that altered mental states result in altered judgement.

Before my "big trip" a couple years ago I cut my base gear weight in half. That included switching from a white gasoline stove, tossing out the "fire ribbon", the steel match safe, and a bunch more.

So I did some "will it burn" experiments. Chapstick or rash ointment smeared on TP or damp twigs burned great. Canister stove dries and lights branches quickly. Alcohol sanitizing wipes burn well but fairly quickly. Sunscreen was fireproof. Wet Bic lighter doesn't, and would be worse with cold, wet hands.

After the experiments I decided that the first aid supplies are good; but added back in a plastic match safe and storm proof matches.
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Re: Emergency Fire Tinder

Postby bluefish » Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:14 am

I've done some experimentation, but came to the conclusion if I was going to carry white gas, then I'd just use that to get any emergency fire going. In recent years, I find we may have a fire about once every 20 trips. I haven't made a campfire in the Sierra's (except in an established drive- to campground on rare occasions) since the 70's, so sometimes I forget about emergency fire material. I have used in the past something called Georgia Fatwood, which is the resin soaked heartwood of Longleaf Pine stumps. They generally come in small pieces 1" square x 9" , 2 of which will get a fireplace going. I would just split 1 pc. into slivers and carry it in a baggie. The equivalent of carrying 5-6 pencils. Very effective, but it does have the downside of not being dual purpose like Vaseline soaked balls, which can be put on burns, chafes, and sparingly, on chapped lips. I make a base of twigs underneath to allow air flow and it will get damp stuff going pretty easily. I may employ the fatwood again. The white gas burns too fast, and can leave you short of fuel on a multi-day trip .

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Re: Emergency Fire Tinder

Postby Flux » Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:29 pm

I carry a fire steel and scraper and keep it in my stove kit. Easy to light the stove and will throw sparks when wet. I have definitely considered some vasaline cotton balls stuck in my kit for getting a little blaze going should I need to get warm. You can always find dry tinder under most pines, especially the little guys.

As for emergencies, luckily I have not been that cold and wet that it was critical. Well maybe once. I was day fishing rock creek and some rain came in unexpectedly. I got drenched on the walk out and I remember thinking to myself "damn self, you are really cold and wet, if you weren't 300 yards from the truck you would have to get a fire going quick". I was shivering and my hands got numb. Took me a good while to warm up even with dry clothes and the truck heater on. Just a little taste of what could happen but it opened my eyes a bit. The temp must have dropped 20 degrees with the rain and I got soaked.

And beers in the backpack, always wrap em in something. The thin aluminum can can easily crease and leak. had one drain out on my clothes and down bag. had to start a fire to dry everything off on a cold damp night after it had snowed the day before.
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Re: Emergency Fire Tinder

Postby k9mark » Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:08 am

When you say emergency fire, I immediately think signal fire to alert rescuers and aircraft of your location.
God created Police Officers so Firemen would have heroes
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Re: Emergency Fire Tinder

Postby dave54 » Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:13 pm

k9mark wrote:When you say emergency fire, I immediately think signal fire to alert rescuers and aircraft of your location.

A large smoke column in the Sierra in mid summer will bring aircraft overhead in a hurry. But not the rescuing kind. :D
Log off and get outdoors!
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Re: Emergency Fire Tinder

Postby Robb » Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:11 pm

I carry dryer lint. It weighs next to nothing and works well enough for getting a fire going. Plus it's free!
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