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  1. #21
    Garlic
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    A BLM ranger showed me this trick. He started a fire on a snow drift for safety--the stuff really burns.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  2. #22
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garlic08 View Post
    A BLM ranger showed me this trick. He started a fire on a snow drift for safety--the stuff really burns.
    I started a thread on fire making skills sometime ago explaining fatwood and how to process, really works great and easy to collect and process.
    They also sell it at home depot.

    Cmax4 you can look that thread up and get some ideas there as well.
    Last edited by JNI64; 11-13-2020 at 00:34.

  3. #23

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    Years ago I learned to carry a "tinder" bag as part of my kit. During the day as I find various dry material I collect it and have plenty of fire starting tinder when needed. Preparing larger pieces of wood for burning may require "feather" cutting of the exterior to expose dry material.

    My experience with cotton balls and Vaseline has never failed to get a fire started (wet conditions make them a real treasure). I won't go out without them.

  4. #24
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    All those cool home-remedy methods are cute, fun and fine for boy scouts, but nothing beats Trioxane tablets, amazing, super hot, super easy to light (with flint sparker), it's the best out there easily. I bought a case of the stuff about 20 years ago (army surplus), never failed me in some pretty miserable winter conditions. I'm having to give some of the case away though as I realized I'll never use it up in my lifetime.

    I "discovered" Trioxane ~20 years ago taking a survival course, where the instructor (ex Army Ranger) went through a dozen methods, and at the end he said basically ignore all of those, this is really what you want, and he demonstrated Trioxane.

    Trioxane is pretty similar to Hexamine (Esbit), but is way easier to light with a sparker rod.

    One little bonus is that a half of a trioxane cube sitting under my stove (on a rock) will heat a couple/few cups of water to near boiling (like Esbit), so that's my backup in case I run out of stove fuel.

  5. #25

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    When I'm out on my trips I rarely build a campfire---mainly because I'm lazy #1 and #2 I'm much warmer sitting in my tent atop my Thermarest and in my down parka partially covered by my -15F rated down bag.

    I do on occasion burn thru my accumulated trash---books, papers, granola wrappers, used hefty bags etc. Alot of trash piles up on a 21 day or 27 day trip. I used to carry a half dozen pieces of fatwood and yes they work great.

    Trip 207 (160)-XL.jpg
    Small trash fire on my last trip (during Hurricane Zeta).

    I also carry several 3-hour candles for in-tent hand warmth and they make excellent fire starters if you drip some wax on whatever you're trying to burn.

    TRIP 153 168-XL.jpg

    I also use size 64 rubber bands for a variety of things---keeps my rain shells rolled up tight, keeps my book rolls rolled up, keeps my paper towels in a tight roll---holds my pony tail---keeps my cellphone tight in a ziploc, wraps around my money/license as a wallet, keeps my spare batteries organized etc etc---and these babies make great fire starters as they burn fiercely for several minutes.

    11958364.jpg

  6. #26
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    All those cool home-remedy methods are cute, fun and fine for boy scouts, but nothing beats Trioxane tablets, amazing, super hot, super easy to light (with flint sparker), it's the best out there easily. I bought a case of the stuff about 20 years ago (army surplus), never failed me in some pretty miserable winter conditions. I'm having to give some of the case away though as I realized I'll never use it up in my lifetime.

    I "discovered" Trioxane ~20 years ago taking a survival course, where the instructor (ex Army Ranger) went through a dozen methods, and at the end he said basically ignore all of those, this is really what you want, and he demonstrated Trioxane.

    Trioxane is pretty similar to Hexamine (Esbit), but is way easier to light with a sparker rod.

    One little bonus is that a half of a trioxane cube sitting under my stove (on a rock) will heat a couple/few cups of water to near boiling (like Esbit), so that's my backup in case I run out of stove fuel.
    Well for me it's fun to make stuff. I make at least 5 different fire starters that can last 5 minutes to 45 minutes. And any of my Firestarter can be used to boil water as well.
    I have stoves I've made that last 15 minutes to 45 minutes.
    And it's all from recycled stuff i already have.

  7. #27
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    Double posted sorry

  8. #28

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    I LOVE to build fires but almost never do it because of the liability involved.I don't want to go down as "that person" responsible for a forest fire that got away from a campsite.However,if it is wet and raining that is surely not likely to happen but in those cases I find fire building hardly worth the effort.But if you're going to do it in the southeast on a rainy day it surely helps to have a fat lightard stump to start with;however,most hikers don't carry enough knife to process firewood,much less tools to dig a stump out of the ground.There's vids on YT about fatwood recognition and collection which is helpful though.Keep in mind that saws and axes are usually involved....

  9. #29
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    You're not digging up the stump , if you find a pine tree knocked over by wind or whatever then you have access to the roots for premium fatwood. But most likely you'll come across a big pine tree with dead lower branches . A simple fold out pruning saw and a small knife that you can tap on with a beefier stick is all that is needed. ( tapping on the back of the blade splitting the 4" length fatwood. )
    Done it many times easy peasy.....

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by JNI64 View Post
    You're not digging up the stump , if you find a pine tree knocked over by wind or whatever then you have access to the roots for premium fatwood. But most likely you'll come across a big pine tree with dead lower branches . A simple fold out pruning saw and a small knife that you can tap on with a beefier stick is all that is needed. ( tapping on the back of the blade splitting the 4" length fatwood. )
    Done it many times easy peasy.....

    Yup,that's the way to do it but I did once wrench a good size stump out of the dirt.They will burn with enough btu output to get the job done easy.I have also found heart pine in rotten down trees and that's another winner.I always have a knife and a one oz saw.If I were in a situation with no fatwood available I would consider myself at a real disadvantage........

  11. #31
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmax4 View Post
    Hey y'all, care to pass down some knowledge on tips and tricks for building fires quickly and efficiently? Particularly interested in building fires in wet conditions
    So was any of this helpful? What is your fire making skills level?

  12. #32
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Five Tango View Post
    I LOVE to build fires but almost never do it because of the liability involved.I don't want to go down as "that person" responsible for a forest fire that got away from a campsite.However,if it is wet and raining that is surely not likely to happen but in those cases I find fire building hardly worth the effort.But if you're going to do it in the southeast on a rainy day it surely helps to have a fat lightard stump to start with;however,most hikers don't carry enough knife to process firewood,much less tools to dig a stump out of the ground.There's vids on YT about fatwood recognition and collection which is helpful though.Keep in mind that saws and axes are usually involved....
    Me and another little monster I used to run around with set a field on fire. We were around 6 years old and somehow got hold of a pack of matches and went to play with fire. I think 3 fire trucks and 3 acres burned. Dumb kids!

    But never as a responsible adult. Between fires in my backyard, running a Wood stove for 30 years and countless campfires I'm pretty confident with my fire skills. I never depend on rubbing two sticks together for fire but if one becomes pretty efficient building fires in wet cold life threatening conditions its a great possibility life saving skills set to have.

    And a huge responsibility having a fire and most certainly one needsto have respect for it.

  13. #33

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    Some years before I did a short term of service with the Georgia Forestry Commission I did a control burn of a hay field which is a common practice here in winter.Land owners also burn forestry tracts of land which keeps undergrowth in check so that larger wildfires will not be as prevalent later or have as much fuel to burn.

    Anyway,I lost 16 big bales of hay that day because the fire jumped the plowed firebreak.A forester explained to me in my youthful ignorance that when the relative humidity is below 40 percent that sparks/cinders can travel long distances on the wind and cause the fire to spread.When the humidity is higher the threat is less but it can still happen.That's why we should always be aware of what the relative humidity is before we strike the match.

    Later,when I worked for the GFC as a fire spotter,it was my first hand experience to observe some out of control wild fires that still give me pause when I think of them.I will build a fire in an approved pit when I think conditions are such that the fire won't get away but if no fire ring or pit is available I do without fire.Doesn't mean I won't enjoy a fire someone else may have built-but I didn't start it!

  14. #34

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    I agree that its a big responsibility when you build a fire. When my son and I hiked at Philmont in NM the rangers taught us how to put the fire out and then to stand a branch straight up in the middle of the fire pit. It demonstrate to ourselves that the fire is out and can provide proof that any fire that might occur did not come from that fire pit. I thought it was a great tip, so I continue the practice.

  15. #35

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    I'm paranoid about camp fires when I'm responsible for them and it's another reason I rarely build them---cuz when I leave a CS I don't want to have a .1% worry in my brain that my old fire could spark up or spread. And anyway at many CSs I don't have the extra liter or two of water to thoroughly douse it.

    It amazes me to come up on recent CSs with the fire burning and everyone has gone home. Found this one on the North Fork Citico trail--

    Trip 159 047-XL.jpg

    Trip 188 (168)-XL.jpg
    Or this kind of idiocy---having your camp fire up against a rock right on the trail.

  16. #36
    Registered User Crossup's Avatar
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    Its always amazed me how one can have difficulties getting large pieces of wood to burn..but unless the fire is totally out the wood is either mostly or completely consumed by morning without tending. I've often camped where there was a really good fire pit, acres of bare ground and nothing flammable anywhere near, prompting me to let the fire die on its own. Several times I woke to see my tent brightly lite by a nice big fire which I had thought was pretty much dead and certainly did not expect to roar back to life. This of course is most commonly cause by wind but sometimes its a really good bed of coals is involved. The point is not putting your fire out completely once you are no longer tending it is asking for trouble. Needless to say, I dont let them die on there own any more.

  17. #37
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    then to stand a branch straight up in the middle of the fire pit. It demonstrate to ourselves that the fire is out and can provide proof that any fire that might occur did not come from that fire pit.


    this, along with putting our hands into the ashes, was the way I was taught in scouts.....

  18. #38
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    All the above.....but if you really want to get it started in the rain/wet conditions use 2 tablespoons full of magnesium shavings as the primary ignition source. Use sparks to ignite. Ferrocerium rod with steel striker or SPARKLITE fire starter sparks. Hypothermia can kill


  19. #39
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    BIC Lighter (or BIC Mini) and dry stuff.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by JNI64 View Post
    Well for me it's fun to make stuff. I make at least 5 different fire starters that can last 5 minutes to 45 minutes. And any of my Firestarter can be used to boil water as well.
    Agree, I wasn't being sarcastic that homegrown firestarters are fun. But if you just want to get a fire started reliably, nothing beats Trioxane (well, maybe that shaved magnesium...).

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