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#161316 - 01/27/12 08:03 PM Re: Firestarting Tips Techniques? ***** [Re: tybee]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
If you are fortunate, in the morning, the still glowing coals from the night before will readily spring to life with only minimal encouragement. My ultimate experience was one evening in the desert where our principal fuel was Desert Ironwood, a very dense, heavy wood. In the morning, all that was necessary was to blow away a light cover of ash. The coals were still perfect for cooking with no additional attention.

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#161325 - 01/27/12 09:25 PM Re: Firestarting Tips Techniques? [Re: oldranger]
Kent W Offline
member

Registered: 10/15/09
Posts: 607
Loc: IL.
Iron wood is extreamly hard. In the midwest Osage Orange comonly known as Hedge is the midwest iron wood. Unfortunatly, it is not as common as it was 20 or 30 years ago. most of the old hedge rows are long gone that once lined the fields! Farmers want to plant every square foot! The GPS sytems allow this for them without even leaving fence rows at all to follow! The Plow drives itself these days and the farmer can sleep till its time to turn around!
Hmm no wonder we have no more small game! No Habitat perhaps?
Enough of my soapbox, Happy Trails

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#161347 - 01/28/12 05:35 AM Re: Firestarting Tips Techniques? [Re: Kent W]
Gershon Offline
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Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
One area we camp has a lot of dried out cow patties as it's open range. They burn real well without smoke or odor. And they last a long time. We don't use them much, but it's a good option if that's all there is.


Edited by Gershon (01/28/12 05:36 AM)
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#161440 - 01/29/12 09:19 PM Re: Firestarting Tips Techniques? [Re: Gershon]
Barefoot Friar Offline
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Registered: 01/23/09
Posts: 176
Loc: Houston, Alabama
Originally Posted By Gershon
One area we camp has a lot of dried out cow patties as it's open range. They burn real well without smoke or odor. And they last a long time. We don't use them much, but it's a good option if that's all there is.


I know people have been doing this for thousands of years.

But the thought of using dung to fuel my cooking fire is just... ewww.
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#161442 - 01/30/12 12:02 AM Re: Firestarting Tips Techniques? [Re: Barefoot Friar]
oldranger Offline
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Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
I probably shouldn't get too clinical, but remember that the best dung for fuel is herbivore - elephant dung is probably better even than cow dung, because elephants process the cellulose more inefficiently than cows. Carnivore dung (that's us!) isn't very good at all.

When you need fire, you need fire. Our ancestors would have never crossed the Great Plains without buffalo chips.

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#161456 - 01/30/12 10:15 AM Re: Firestarting Tips Techniques? [Re: Barefoot Friar]
Gershon Offline
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Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By Barefoot Friar
Originally Posted By Gershon
One area we camp has a lot of dried out cow patties as it's open range. They burn real well without smoke or odor. And they last a long time. We don't use them much, but it's a good option if that's all there is.


I know people have been doing this for thousands of years.

But the thought of using dung to fuel my cooking fire is just... ewww.


The worst part is all the bugs that crawl out of it. Still, they are good eating.
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#161466 - 01/30/12 02:20 PM Re: Firestarting Tips Techniques? [Re: Barefoot Friar]
phat Offline
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Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By Barefoot Friar

But the thought of using dung to fuel my cooking fire is just... ewww.


Dried dung from a herbivore is usually fantastic. there's pretty much no more biological activity once it's dried out, so it's really no worse than burning grass or wood - and it smells a *lot* better than burning grass..

I've done dried cowflop fires and they're actually really good - as long as the cowflops are nice and dry. Seriously.. not gross at all... Think of it like burning particle board that has no carcinogenic glue and crud in it.

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#161482 - 01/30/12 09:04 PM Re: Firestarting Tips Techniques? [Re: finallyME]
Steadman Offline
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Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 514
Loc: Virginia
I'll endorse the whistle idea. I "bell" all my kids when I take them out into the woods, and tell them what they are supposed to do if they mess up and get seperated (hug a tree, blow three times, wait, listen, blow three times).

Hey, question for all the SAR bubbas as I drift a little here - is it one whistle to say "I hear you, stay where you are, I'm coming to you" and two whistle blasts to say "come to me" - or do I have it reversed? I want to make sure I'm teaching them right up front to save issues later.

Sincerely

Steadman

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#161494 - 01/30/12 11:41 PM Re: Firestarting Tips Techniques? [Re: Steadman]
finallyME Offline
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Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Yeah, I "bell" my kids as well. I usually have to give them 10 minutes or so of "free time" with the whistles to let them get it out of their systems.

And, by the way, whistles make great gifts for nieces and nephews as well. Make sure to get the really loud ones for them though. It is the gift that keeps on giving.
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#161495 - 01/30/12 11:59 PM Re: Firestarting Tips Techniques? [Re: Steadman]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
My two cents worth - If I am out searching and I hear someone tooting on a whistle, I would make tracks to check out the situation. I wouldn't worry about one or two whistles and their different meanings. Three signals, or three of anything is generally a signal for help, but even that can't be taken too literally. Could you imagine thinking - "they only blew their whistle twice - they must be fine, so we won't check them out."

The important thing is your kids, if they are ever lost or in trouble, should do everything to make themselves as conspicuous as possible (short of setting a forest fire) and attract attention. Don't sweat the details....

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#161518 - 01/31/12 10:31 AM Re: Firestarting Tips Techniques? [Re: oldranger]
lori Offline
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Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Also important to not use whistles like toys. Had resources diverted from a search by that kind of behavior in yosemite last year....
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#161525 - 01/31/12 02:23 PM Re: Firestarting Tips Techniques? [Re: oldranger]
Steadman Offline
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Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 514
Loc: Virginia
Check. Reason I'm asking is that when I signal back to them (I also carry a whistle) I want both of us to be clear on what I'm telling them to do - and to have that set of signals be consistent with the SAR community.

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#161526 - 01/31/12 02:35 PM Re: Firestarting Tips Techniques? [Re: Dave H]
aimless Online   content
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Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3195
Loc: Portland, OR
I am surprised that no one has offered this solution to the problem of starting a fire in very wet conditions. It weighs more than a vaseline-soaked cotton ball, but when it comes to effectiveness it is in a class by itself. Seriously, if you know ahead of time you may be needing a fire and that a fire will be exceptionally difficult because of wetted-out fuel, this is the best tool for the job.

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#161533 - 01/31/12 04:16 PM Re: Firestarting Tips Techniques? [Re: aimless]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6769
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Why carry the extra 7 oz. when you can (if done carefully) use your canister stove for the same purpose? My canister stove (Primus Micron Ti) weighs 2.4 oz., and I can also cook on it! I'd consider that torch a car-camping item!

If it's that wet, I won't bother with a fire anyway--I'll set up my tent, get out of my wet clothes and crawl into my sleeping bag instead!

I carry an Esbit tab just in case--it works really well to dry out kindling and could be used as fuel if I run out of isobutane. Hand sanitizer works, too, and I always carry that.


Edited by OregonMouse (01/31/12 04:22 PM)
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#161535 - 01/31/12 04:21 PM Re: Firestarting Tips Techniques? [Re: Steadman]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
I don't believe there is any generally accepted protocol beyond the "rule of three" indicating distress. If there is, it is a very recent development. Generally, the best course for anyone who is lost is to stay in one spot until reached by someone who can assist them.

After all, until you are on scene, you can't give good advice. Many time people are incapable of further travel, either because of injuries or impassible terrain features.

Lori' comment about not treating the whistle as a toy is excellent. It should be an emergency device only.

I personally would also equip them with a signal mirror. It is light, cheap, and incredibly effective, with a much wider range than a whistle (as long as the sun is shining). The whistle and mirror make a very good combination.


Edited by oldranger (01/31/12 04:27 PM)

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#161537 - 01/31/12 04:25 PM Re: Firestarting Tips Techniques? [Re: oldranger]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6769
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I have really worked on my grandkids on this. Each has a whistle which they absolutely must have around their necks any time they are outside the tent. Before the trip, we practice the 3 toots ("Help, Come Quick") and they are warned never to use the whistle unless it's an emergency. They take this pretty seriously!

Be sure the whistle is the loudest you can find! A lot of so-called "survival" whistles can't be heard more than about 100 yards away!
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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#161541 - 01/31/12 04:45 PM Re: Firestarting Tips Techniques? [Re: OregonMouse]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
The couple in the story about being rescued on Rainier that I posted in the Winter Forum had a whistle-that's how the SAR team (who were looking for someone else) realized they were not other SAR volunteers and were instead, coming off the mountain in trouble.
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#161561 - 01/31/12 08:15 PM Re: Firestarting Tips Techniques? [Re: aimless]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3973
Loc: Bend, Oregon
aimless
I was camped along a river in a rain forest in Oregon and we collected quite a bit of quarter inch diameter firewood which my partner built into a teepee fire. He then used up 8 ounces of alcohol trying to light it. Perhaps due to his efforts, I was able to light the fire with my gigapower torch that I brought for the occasion. I used almost an entire bottle of fuel getting the fire started so I could cook steaks over it. It would have been far more efficient to have cooked in a pan.

I have used the torch to warm a titanium cup full of water for coffee, but you have to be careful not to burn yourself.

anyway - even a gigapower torch is not adequate to start a fire someplaces without an axe and chain saw to get to dry fuel. Its important to realise that its a waste of time to even try to start a fire someplaces - go to plan B.

I mentioned elsewhere about how to light a fire with a small gas stove. Its dangerous but effective. Perhaps using an esbit is about the best most effective method of getting some real heat rising through a pile of fuel. If you carry anything for fire lighting besides a lighter or matches, you may as well carry a couple of esbit instead. atleast on short trips.
Jim
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These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#161565 - 01/31/12 09:54 PM Re: Firestarting Tips Techniques? [Re: Jimshaw]
Steadman Offline
member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 514
Loc: Virginia
Wow. I assume you were starting the fire small... I don't think I ever camped anywhere that wet...

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#161567 - 01/31/12 10:01 PM Re: Firestarting Tips Techniques? [Re: oldranger]
Steadman Offline
member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 514
Loc: Virginia
I need to think about that. I had a mirror in my gear (part of the Kelty Kid Carrier) that was really useful for checking on my kids while I was giving them a ride, and I realized I wasn't using it for anything when I strapped it on to my backpacking rig. How often do signal mirrors convert the "lost" into "rescued"?

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#161576 - 02/01/12 06:16 AM Re: Firestarting Tips Techniques? [Re: Steadman]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Statistically, truth to tell, not very often. But that doesn't mean they are not effective. Most people don't carry, or use them.

However, a signal mirror easily has a range of around twenty miles, much greater than a whistle. And a mirror flash is difficult to overlook, particularly if the signaler is persistent. Most of the use occurs at sea, where a mirror is often included in life raft survival packs.

Theoretically, you can send Morse code with a mirror. We had one case where a party was sending SOS mirror flashes. The people who noticed his flashes only saw random flashes, but that was enough to call SAR and check out the scene -just about the same scenario that you often see with whistles.

I have used a mirror to indicate to a helicopter about to take off easily eleven miles away, our precise location in the mountains above Tucson. That makes for an easy, routine, no sweat mission, which is a good thing.

An actual signal mirror is versatile and can be used for other purposes. Conversely, many items can serve as mirrors, particularly mirror equipped compasses.

I have spent a lot of time in the desert Southwest, where th sun shines a lot. I dare say they are not quite so useful in less sunny areas, but I really do find them useful and worth carrying.

Have we (me) ever drifted this thread!


Edited by oldranger (02/01/12 06:19 AM)

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#161605 - 02/01/12 09:53 PM Re: Firestarting Tips Techniques? [Re: oldranger]
Kent W Offline
member

Registered: 10/15/09
Posts: 607
Loc: IL.
My last trip in the smokies first week of april last year i learned a lesson. I saw posted earlier dont wait to make camp to find tinder. I did have some dryer lint in a ziplock. Guess what it wouldnt light? Was raining and snowing after a tough night of severe storms hail and rain. Turned to snow bye morning. we hiked higher all day in consistant snow. On way up in afternoon around 4000 feet it was sunny and breezy for a hour or two. During this time i started grabing small handfulls of dry lichens off the side of trees! I stuffed them in my pocket. Guess what at camp later in wind and cold and 6 inches of new snow on the ground! Lichens not lint started our kindling to a nice warming fire! Yes we had to resort to using a bit of my sons stove alcohol, but for some reason alcohol and lint wouldnt light? Lichens and alcohol did. Rest of trip we grabbed dry lichens wenever we could find them and stuffed in a dry pocket! I would have been fine without a fire that night, but it sure makes ya feel more secure in inclement weather! Attitude helps at tough times. Happy Trails


Edited by Kent W (02/01/12 09:54 PM)

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#161608 - 02/01/12 10:47 PM Re: Firestarting Tips Techniques? [Re: Kent W]
DTape Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 666
Loc: Upstate NY
Dryer lint was a good fire starter when (if) people dried cotton almost exclusively. The more synthetics in the lint, the less effective it is.

Myself, I never use the stuff. I collect birchbark from the ground as I hike and stuff it in my pockets. In my fire kit is a small amount of birchbark which I had collected on previous trips and is nice and dry.
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#161616 - 02/02/12 09:26 AM Re: Firestarting Tips Techniques? [Re: DTape]
phat Offline
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Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

I don't have any problem with dryer lint - but I certainly don't try to soak it in stove alcohol, and it's really not something to get kindling going - a small amount, fluffed up, is good to hit with a spark to get a fire started, but I need a little more than that, grass, birchbark, fine conifer twigs, etc. to get going from that. I do carry it (and/or cattail fluff) in winter for this purpose. essentially though, it is something to catch a spark, not something to act as a "fire starter".
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#161638 - 02/02/12 06:12 PM Re: Firestarting Tips Techniques? [Re: phat]
OregonMouse Offline
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Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6769
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I thought dryer lint was supposed to be soaked in paraffin (the kind used to seal jelly jars).

As I remember from my years back east, birch bark is the perfect fire starter. Unfortunately, it doesn't grow out here.
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