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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:34 am 
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Alright, which is your pick? What is the best overall for survival? The blastmatch seems the most high-tech. The average Ferro rod (Light my fire type) has a long lifespan and is very simple, and the old-school magnesium firestarts come with a tinder source attached to them. Soooo, which is the winner here? Which would you pick if you could only have one in your kit?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:41 am 
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Well, I didn't consciously think it out or anything, but while I have in the past had magnesium blocks and traditional firesteels, right now all I have is a Blast Match.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:43 am 
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Blast Match. I think they're rated for 5k-10k lights. Ease of use and being able to use while wet, win in my book.

It's amazing how big the spark shower is from this thing. :shock:

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:47 am 
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I have never used a blastmatch, but I do have the swedish firesteel mini (wouldn't recommend for much other than a really small backup) and a "magnesium firestarter". I never really used the shaving edge to actually make tinder, except for training purposes, but then again I usually brought some kind of tinder into the field with me (cotton/dryer lint).

The blastmatch takes a lot of effort out of the process. Seems like you get the benefits of a bic lighter, but without the relatively short lifespan. I have heard stories of people that have died from hypothermia while trying to start a fire with a normal firesteel... Sort of ironic, but seems reason enough to go with the one-hand operated blastmach.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:51 am 
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grand94jeep wrote:
Blast Match. I think they're rated for 5k-10k lights. Ease of use and being able to use while wet, win in my book.

It's amazing how big the spark shower is from this thing. :shock:


Wow, so they really do last pretty much indefinitely. Now, they do cost about twice as much as the common firesteels, but other than cost, do the old style firesteels have any niche? Meaning, any reason why they might be considered "better" than a blastmatch?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:53 am 
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i have a manesioum firestarter in my BOB

i've used it to start fires many times

i allso have 5 lighters and some matches in my BOB(s)

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:55 am 
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Oguruma wrote:
I have never used a blastmatch, but I do have the swedish firesteel mini (wouldn't recommend for much other than a really small backup) and a "magnesium firestarter". I never really used the shaving edge to actually make tinder, except for training purposes, but then again I usually brought some kind of tinder into the field with me (cotton/dryer lint).

The blastmatch takes a lot of effort out of the process. Seems like you get the benefits of a bic lighter, but without the relatively short lifespan. I have heard stories of people that have died from hypothermia while trying to start a fire with a normal firesteel... Sort of ironic, but seems reason enough to go with the one-hand operated blastmach.



When it comes to having fire, redundancy is your friend. I keep multiple ways of starting fire, in all my bags.

-Waterproof matches
-small BIC lighter
-big BIC lighter
-Blastmatch

I've been thinking of adding, what I call, a "crack lighter" I can'r recall the name right now, but they put out a blue "torchlike" flame.

Having a fire is essential, and it the one thing I won't skimp on.

I tried those magnesium starters in the past, will poor results. Never tried a Firesteel though. :?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:56 am 
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Oguruma wrote:
grand94jeep wrote:
Blast Match. I think they're rated for 5k-10k lights. Ease of use and being able to use while wet, win in my book.

It's amazing how big the spark shower is from this thing. :shock:


Wow, so they really do last pretty much indefinitely. Now, they do cost about twice as much as the common firesteels, but other than cost, do the old style firesteels have any niche? Meaning, any reason why they might be considered "better" than a blastmatch?


I think that they last that long. I was looking online, but can't verify those figures.

Also, never used a firesteel. :oops:

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:05 pm 
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I have only used the "mini" version of the firesteel(http://www.rei.com/product/762946) and was not impressed. With the traditional magnesium blocks, I get the best results by applying a lot of pressure with my knife (or whatever striker) and draggint the blade down. I don't have to drag the blade fast in order to make a lot of sparks, as long as I use a lot of pressure. I tried the same technique with the firesteel mini and I actually pulled the steel portion out of the handle! I put a few dabs of superglue in the handle and put the steel back in, and now it feels even stronger than before, but still, could have been a sad state of affairs if that was a survival situation.

Regardless, the mini version that I have is so small and light that I can wear it on a lanyard or my keychain and it won't become an annoyance, so it's not a bad thing to keep around. I plan on buying the "scout" version or maybe even the larger "Army" version to try that out.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:58 pm 
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I've never used a blastmatch but i have used a magnesium firestarter and a firesteel. I admit i need more practice with the firesteel. So far i've not been able to start a fire with found tinder, only pre-made petroleum jelly soaked cotton that i keep in a metal pill fob on the firesteels lanyard.

I have been easily able to start fires with the magnesium firestarter and found tinder (dry leaves, twigs). Even in roughly -20°C, at night, with light snow i was able to get a small fire going. Getting enough shavings is annoying, especially if they are constantly being blown away by wind. The shavings burn white hot but it will dull your knife.

When you have enough shavings, try pulling back to strike the spark, if you push forward too hard you might end up overshooting, knocking the shavings everywhere.

I do have wind/waterproof matches and lighters too, of course.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:07 pm 
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Quote:
Getting enough shavings is annoying, especially if they are constantly being blown away by wind. The shavings burn white hot but it will dull your knife.

This is my experience - functional for survival, but not ideal when time matters.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:43 pm 
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Never used the blastmatch.

I have a few ferros rods, a mid sized and the full sized one. I'm pretty sure they work wet. I will +1 the idea of pulling it away from the tinder and keeping your striker steady instead of holding the rod stationary and moving the striker. I use my saw on my leatherman to strike as it and anything with teeth shoots lots of sparks with ease. In my fire-kit I also have a jigsaw blade to use as a striker ( file down the other side of the jigsaw/sawsall blade to an edge and it also becomes a backup blade). Much easier than a back of a knife or a straight edge blade.

Not a big fan of the mag block because, like many have said, shaving off the mag takes too much effort. At home I scrape a shit load at a time and then use the scrapings as an extra additive to my home made tinder ( cottonball-jelly-eggcarton). Also make sure you spend the extra few bucks and get the "DOAN , made in Ohio" one , not the china knock-offs - I've seen the ferro rod fall off the cheap ones.

I smoke so 99% of the time I'm using a bic or a torch lighter.

Cliff notes = ferro rod

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:38 pm 
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I never used a blast match. They seem kinda gimmicky to me, though no offense to anyone who happens to like them. They would though be extremely useful to someone has a permanent or temporary disability of only having the use of one hand.

What I do with my magnesium block is drill holes into it with a um...drill. Why dull the blade of your knife if you don't have, plus it's cut and dried ready when you need it. I'm not sure where I got the idea for this, but it's logical.

The majority of the times when I start fires, I just use the matches that come included with the MREs. I have so damn many packs of em, I might as well use them up. I usually carry a good portion of an old newspaper in my pack, that I can shred for fire starter. But it's a reassurance having a firesteel, along with carrying a few petro-soaked cotton balls, a small chunk of steel wool, a small ziplock of died bark/kindling, and the previously mentioned magnesium shavings.

I'm not going cold, I'll be sure of that!


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 12:31 am 
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ferro rod - I can not imagine not being able to start a fire with a larger ferro rod with decent tinder. I've lit many many fires with small ferro rods with semi wet tinder.

The light my fire firesteels / ferro rods have a handle that is too big, IMO, but I get that some like it to grab on to.

Below is a small ferror rod, in a small holder, that is awesome for going around your neck.
http://www.ratcutlery.com/tools.htm

Cheap small blanks check the "ferret" or the hedgehog here:
http://goinggear.com/index.php?main_pag ... 9befa44f48
That site also has LARGE firesteels, HUGE globs of molten metal to make EZ fires ... try the 3/8" by 4 inch long badger, $7.50

The blast match types are just way too expensive, and really not any more effective than a largish ferro rod.

I also like the small lighters from countycomm.com

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 8:11 pm 
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Go with the blast match, if you ever get injured and only have one hand/arm to work with, the blast match shines!

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 9:11 pm 
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After a couple of beers tonight i was thinking that maybe a specific striker/magnesium shaving tool would be nice for the magnesium firestarters so as not to dull knife blades. Something made of very hard steel for shaving off flakes, with a rough edge to strike a spark with? or perhaps a layered magnesium block that could be peeled away in strips?

Just a half buzzed idea... :?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 9:30 pm 
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ive never used a blast match myself, so i cant comment on how well they work, but have always heard good things.

i ditched the mag bars ( i used to keep two in my bag ) but i think the magnesium parts sucks IMO. cotton/lint and vas/ointment/sanatizer are all WAY better. PLUS i dropped a mag bar once and the flint came off and was lost! they are only glued on! :evil:

what i do have in my bag is.

approx. 30 strike anywhere matches in a water proof key fob along with the strikers cut from the boxes.
two large bic lighters
fire steel ( i ditched the little chrome striker and replaced it with a piece of hack saw blade which makes way more sparks )
2 inch magnifying glass, which actually works ok for me if needed ( im in fl...lots of good bright sun most of the time :wink: )


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 11:03 pm 
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Kip wrote:
After a couple of beers tonight i was thinking that maybe a specific striker/magnesium shaving tool would be nice for the magnesium firestarters so as not to dull knife blades. Something made of very hard steel for shaving off flakes, with a rough edge to strike a spark with? or perhaps a layered magnesium block that could be peeled away in strips?
Just a half buzzed idea... :?

The drill bit idea works. Just 4 holes filled a moongel canister (2" round by 1" high) to the brim with various shapes and sizes of shavings.
pic.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 12:32 am 
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One thing that I've never really understood. Somebody posts a question about a specific item of gear & people reply with "I've never used (fill in the blank) but I think . . . .".

Call me crazy, but if I've NEVER used that item, how on Earth could I have any thing to say about it?


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 1:39 am 
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Used them all.

Mag blocks are inexpensive but getting to the point where you are good with making shavings is a steep curve. Good idea with the drilling up above! I tend to attach a hack saw blade on mine. Shave my flakes with whatever knife I have into something (paper/bark/etc), make a nice pile and place it were I need it to start a fire. I have a few laying around in some of my sub kits and stock but I don't carry them anymore regularly. They also seem to deteriorate after 7-10 years too. I've thrown a few away.

Ferro rod is my current go to. Large one in my main fire kit.. which consists of:
Small Pelican case
Swedish fire steel
Petrol cotton balls in little zip baggy
some pitch sticks and birthday candle
wooden matches in match case
plastic lighter
...and I have a lighter and matches in my pockets most of the time and if I'm thinking I'll remember to attach a mini "Scout" LMF ferro rod to a necklace thing I like to wear in the bush.

Blast Match? I don't own one but have used them before. Pretty nifty but I'll live w/o one for now.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 9:00 am 
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I believe in mutiple sources for fire starting. I epoxy regular Ferro rods to the handle of my ""Gerber Gator Combo PackAxe" all my knife sheaths, my walking stick, and anywhere else I can think to stick one. On my neck I have a http://www.campingsurvival.com/stmak1misufi.html and a baby bic in my pocket. As far as tinder I use cotton balls soaked in pertolium jelly and dryer lint soaked in left over candle wax.
The only advantave I can see to a blast match is the fact it can be used one handed...

----Edit----

If your worried about dulling your knife on a Ferro rod make a spot on the back of your blade for striking the sparks a minute or two with a file makes it a quick job (usually just removing the coating on the metal in one spot) if you make it a 90* angle ot works great for shaving wood fuzz to start a fire

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:02 am 
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RAT Cutlery Fire Starter is my current favorite. It is way better than the Light My Fire ferro rods. RAT claims to use Misch (sp?) metal in their product. What ever they use it is dang hard! You need to use a sharp knife to get it sparking, but when it does watch out! The sparks are larger, hotter, and burn longer than the ferro rods. I have had zero problems getting a fire started with this thing. RAT also gives you a handy storage place in the handle with a compass. I pack mine full of fire starter log that has been cut up and turned into more of a powder.

http://www.ratcutlery.com/fire_kit.htm

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 1:58 pm 
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nomad211 wrote:
One thing that I've never really understood. Somebody posts a question about a specific item of gear & people reply with "I've never used (fill in the blank) but I think . . . .".

Call me crazy, but if I've NEVER used that item, how on Earth could I have any thing to say about it?



Because we're speaking on the experiences with the ones we have used. You don't have to be a know-it-all/done-it-all to post about your experience with things.

ETA: We want people's opinions of things they've tried. Even if they're not experts. The world is full of people untrained in using survial tools properly. Ease of use/longevity/value are as important to them, as it is the a highly trained person.





I've never understood how a noob (yes I know you've been here since 2007) will come into a forum, and starting trashing how others post. :roll:

Now go back to Lurking.. you've been here long enough to know how it is. :mrgreen:

ETA: Not being a dick Nomad... just joshing ya. :wink:

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Last edited by grand94jeep on Sun Dec 06, 2009 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 6:36 pm 
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I own magnesium blocks full sized and UL versions, Strike Force, LMF, Blastmatch and somekinda fire steel on my keys but forgot who makes it. The block is lowest on the list but sometimes pack them. You have to attach a cut section of hacksaw blade etc as there is no striker. If for some reason the knife is MIA your SOL. Hard to work with cold hands and mostly just use these for sparking tinder. The Stikeforce is number one in my view as its size makes for easier use in the cold and comes with some very nice tinder packed inside. LMF is good but only used the medium size. Blastmatch has more parts than the rest but mine hasn’t broken and the rod could be removed. It can be used one handed so earned a place in my BOB.

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