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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traffic Jam View Post
    I found this striker that I bought many years ago. It shaves something, maybe magnesium? then makes a spark. It seems to work really well (sparks very easily) and I can’t wait to try it.

    (I burned my thumb multiple times recently when using a bic lighter...trying over and over to light my new Inferno.)
    Attachment 45922
    Yes your little piece of hack saw blade is for shaving magnesium. Which takes alot of practice, take a piece of paper and shave off a nice lil pile, bb size to pee size pile of magnesium. You have to have your fire bundle right next to your magnesium as its really hot but only lasts a couple seconds. To be honest you'd be better off with the vaseline cotton balls as they take a spark..

  2. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by JNI64 View Post
    Yes your little piece of hack saw blade is for shaving magnesium. Which takes alot of practice, take a piece of paper and shave off a nice lil pile, bb size to pee size pile of magnesium. You have to have your fire bundle right next to your magnesium as its really hot but only lasts a couple seconds. To be honest you'd be better off with the vaseline cotton balls as they take a spark..
    Yeah, I carry the petroleum jelly-dipped cotton balls in my FAK in winter. Not that they do me any good. If nothing else, they keep my lips from getting chapped cuz I rub my fingers on my lips after trying to start a fire.

  3. #43
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    I could be totally off base, excuse me if I am but it kinda sounds like maybe you don't have the proper fire bundle to get the small stuff going? Are you able to get that far, getting your fire bundle started but not able to build from there?

  4. #44
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    Been successful with cotton balls and Vaseline. Also with dryer lint and Vaseline.

    Would Neosporine ointment be a workable substitute for Vaseline?

    A bit expensive but in an emergency be able to use items you have in your pack is good. I can raid my first aid kit and use it with some belly button lint. Have some expired ointment I should test with a cotton ball.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kittyslayer View Post
    Been successful with cotton balls and Vaseline. Also with dryer lint and Vaseline.

    Would Neosporine ointment be a workable substitute for Vaseline?

    A bit expensive but in an emergency be able to use items you have in your pack is good. I can raid my first aid kit and use it with some belly button lint. Have some expired ointment I should test with a cotton ball.
    Um huh interesting. Please do and let us know.

  6. #46
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    How about char cloth ? Anybody out there making their own and using it ?

  7. #47
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    Just got finished watching the crazyrussianhacker on YouTube go through the 20 cheapest camping gadgets from Walmart and the first 10 were dealing with fire starting. Pretty interesting watching I think the fire paste is kinda interesting. Give it a look see , good video he demonstrates everything.

  8. #48
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    I used to carry a small pill bottle stuffed with PJ Cotton Balls. They worked well but I dont carry them anymore. I carry a few cotton balls in a plastic baggy to use as a prefilter on my Sawyer Squeeze and I always carry some type of chap stick right so if need be the ingredients are there they just need to be combined. Cotton Balls work pretty darn well on their own the vaseline is just an extender.

    I've also for a long time carried a credit card sized piece of birch bark in my wallet. If you take your knife and scrape it a lil bit after collecting it to remove the loose flakey parts off of it, you can actually submerge it in water for days. Pull it out pat it off and it will immediately take a flame and burn.

    I like using a small ferro rod whenever I can to start my fires. But I always carry at least one Full Size Bic usually 2. for the difference in weight if your fingers are cold the Full Size Bic is just easier to use.

    UL Hikers will think I'm nuts but I also carry Flares. I carry a small 5 minute Flare basically 3 seasons. When Winter comes I will trade it out for a 20 minute Road Flare.

    In conjunction with this I also carry a SOL 2 person Mylar Blanket and a Clear Drum Liner for use as an emergency shelter. Google Super Shelter by Mors Kochanski if you need more information on this. In the coldest of winter you can put one of these up and have a shelter that is 80 degrees inside if you can get a fire going outside of it. Maybe thats just the New Englander in me being prepared for Cold Weather.

    My outdoor activities are not on the AT I'm in the backcountry a lot and may not always be on trail.
    Lad I don't know where you've been. But, I see you won first prize!

  9. #49
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    I've seen people mention using birch bark for starting fires up north, but down south the best thing I have found is hemlock. The still attached dead branches of those trees will catch and burn even when very wet. They contain oils or resin that is very flammable.

  10. #50
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    I take a smoothie straw (larger than regular straw) and cut it into three equal pieces. I then take my wife's makeup pads which are round, flat cotton pads and rub both sides in petroleum jelly. I then roll up the pad like a burrito and push into a straw part with needle nose pliers. I use the needle nose to hold each straw end close and then melt it closed with a lighter.

    They are extremely light, not messy and will burn for 7 minutes. I have never had trouble lighting a fire with these.

  11. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by JNI64 View Post
    I could be totally off base, excuse me if I am but it kinda sounds like maybe you don't have the proper fire bundle to get the small stuff going? Are you able to get that far, getting your fire bundle started but not able to build from there?
    My problem is the initial flame. I can get my fire starter to produce a flame but the twigs/leaves/moss I choose only smolder, glow, and turn to ash but never actually get hot enough to produce a flame, allowing me to proceed to the next step and add larger wood. Once my fire starter has burned and extinguished, I start again until Iíve run out of fire starters and Iíve flipped the bic so often, my thumb is burned.

    This problem with fire making is a thorn in my side. Iíve scheduled many trips with the only goal being to make a successful fire, which I always fail. It burns me up, no pun intended. . How can I suck so bad at this?

    So I buy the Inferno, thinking, ďThis is going to solve all my problems!Ē. Iím so excited and plan a short day hike in the Smokies with the intention to practice...only to spend over an hour working on the effing thing and failing, leaving with a burned thumb. So frustrating.
    Last edited by Traffic Jam; 12-11-2019 at 19:45.

  12. #52

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    Yeah, all this talk about fire starter aids but no one talking about firewood.
    Of course it's easy to build a fire when it's been dry for the past week or so.
    (doesn't happen often on the AT, at least in the spring)
    So, here's a few tricks I learned in the boyscouts:
    When gathering firewood, if it doesn't snap, don't take it back to camp. Must be good and dead to snap in 2.
    Build your fire either teepee style or build squares up like a pyramid. (or a small teepee inside the squares.
    Leave some air space in there.
    Gather all your different sizes of firewood and have them ready to add as the fire gets going.
    Remember: dry is best.
    So, how to find dry after a good rain?
    First place I look is inside rotting, dead trees. Look for holes and find the good stuff inside.
    If you carry a pocketknife, you can whittle away the wet, outside layers to get to the good stuff inside of your sticks that snap in 2.
    Split them with a knife too. (i'm talking the kindling here)
    Yes, white birch bark will burn when wet.
    So will small branches of pine trees near the bottom. (very small)
    Sassafras makes very good kindling. (even when slightly wet)

    If you are going to use your fire to cook, try the way the porters in Nepal do it with 3 large rocks spaced apart.
    build your fire in the middle, use the 3 rocks to support your pot and use the spaces between the rocks to slide in long pieces of firewood.
    Adjust those sticks as you go and you can control the heat easily.
    I have a picture of this somewhere. I'll try to find it.
    Have patience and get everything ready before you light that match (or lighter, or flint and steel or whatever you are using for flame on)
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiddlehead View Post
    Gather all your different sizes of firewood and have them ready to add as the fire gets going.

    Have patience and get everything ready before you light that match (or lighter, or flint and steel or whatever you are using for flame on)
    And when gathering your firewood get about three times as much as you think you need, especially the small kindling stuff.

  14. #54

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    Starting a fire, and keeping it going, in a damp climate like the GSMNP is a challenge. You need a fire starter which will burn for a long time and prep the wood so it catches quicker. Which means shaving the wet layer off with a knife or other implement of destruction.

    It might be helpful to practice at home with dry wood under ideal conditions.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traffic Jam View Post
    My problem is the initial flame. I can get my fire starter to produce a flame but the twigs/leaves/moss I choose only smolder, glow, and turn to ash but never actually get hot enough to produce a flame, allowing me to proceed to the next step and add larger wood. Once my fire starter has burned and extinguished, I start again until I’ve run out of fire starters and I’ve flipped the bic so often, my thumb is burned.

    This problem with fire making is a thorn in my side. I’ve scheduled many trips with the only goal being to make a successful fire, which I always fail. It burns me up, no pun intended. . How can I suck so bad at this?

    So I buy the Inferno, thinking, “This is going to solve all my problems!”. I’m so excited and plan a short day hike in the Smokies with the intention to practice...only to spend over an hour working on the effing thing and failing, leaving with a burned thumb. So frustrating.
    Ok I have a couple minutes at work. I'm glad your back let's figure this shart out. I'll probably repeat a lil what's already been said but once you get your fire bundle glowing and red like you say it probably just needs oxygen at that point blow on it to produce flames. And like said by others have plenty of small dry stuff available. Look at a bird's nest perfect fire bundle. From there you can add wood or already have a tipi style fire set up open on one side and stick your fire bundle in there. Do you have a place to practice at home? And maybe a longer running fire starter like my cupcake fire starters burns half hour or more.

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by JNI64 View Post
    Just got finished watching the crazyrussianhacker on YouTube go through the 20 cheapest camping gadgets from Walmart and the first 10 were dealing with fire starting. Pretty interesting watching I think the fire paste is kinda interesting. Give it a look see , good video he demonstrates everything.
    And I would strongly recommend watching this. This guys pretty good

  17. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by Traffic Jam View Post
    My problem is the initial flame. I can get my fire starter to produce a flame but the twigs/leaves/moss I choose only smolder, glow, and turn to ash but never actually get hot enough to produce a flame, allowing me to proceed to the next step and add larger wood. Once my fire starter has burned and extinguished, I start again until I’ve run out of fire starters and I’ve flipped the bic so often, my thumb is burned.

    This problem with fire making is a thorn in my side. I’ve scheduled many trips with the only goal being to make a successful fire, which I always fail. It burns me up, no pun intended. . How can I suck so bad at this?

    So I buy the Inferno, thinking, “This is going to solve all my problems!”. I’m so excited and plan a short day hike in the Smokies with the intention to practice...only to spend over an hour working on the effing thing and failing, leaving with a burned thumb. So frustrating.
    Good rant. You're burned up about not being able to burn.

    Lichen and moss can make good fire starters on the AT. They burn when drenched with rain. Some fungi and the inner bark shavings of white birch trees can be dry too. Shave the undersides of shelf or Hen of the Woods fungi which can be dry inside. Best I saw was someone pull lint from their belly button or between their toes and start a fire.

  18. #58
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    Fiddling with fire fun.

  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Good rant. You're burned up about not being able to burn.

    Lichen and moss can make good fire starters on the AT. They burn when drenched with rain. Some fungi and the inner bark shavings of white birch trees can be dry too. Shave the undersides of shelf or Hen of the Woods fungi which can be dry inside. Best I saw was someone pull lint from their belly button or between their toes and start a fire.
    That's impressive and disgusting at the same time .

  20. #60
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    Now don't forget about fat wood, really great to get fires going good sappy fat wood. Not familiar youtube.

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