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#199752 - 12/11/17 07:34 PM Knife, Fire Starter, Ignition Source
Jim M Offline

Registered: 11/23/03
Posts: 307
Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
I'm curious what other people have decided on what is best, or at least what they carry in these three areas. I have done different things over the years.

1. Knife?
2. Fire Starter
3. Ignition Source
Jim M

#199753 - 12/11/17 10:40 PM Re: Knife, Fire Starter, Ignition Source [Re: Jim M]
OregonMouse Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6644
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Knife--Leatherman Squirt with both pliers and scissors, 2 oz. I need the pliers because I don't have much strength in my fingers.

Fire starter--Esbit tab I rarely build a fire, especially since prime backpacking season here corresponds with the dry season when fires are usually prohibited.

Ignition source--mini-Bic, book of paper matches (both work fine for my stove), half a dozen of those REI emergency matches which seem to burn forever.

Edited by OregonMouse (12/11/17 10:41 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#199754 - 12/11/17 11:22 PM Re: Knife, Fire Starter, Ignition Source [Re: OregonMouse]
Glenn Roberts Offline

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1703
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Virtually identical to Mouse: Leatherman Squirt (pliers and scissors), Windmill butane lighter and REI emergency matches. I don’t light fires, but figure I could probably use my stove if necessary.

I don’t really carry a dedicated fire starter like others do. In nearly 40 years of backpacking in the Eastern US, I’ve never once needed a fire because of an emergency. The main reason is that the areas I hike in are compact (due to the high degree of development) - as a result, I’m rarely more than a couple of hours hike from a trailhead or other access to help. So, instead of stopping to light a fire, I’d simply abort the trip and hike out.

Edited by Glenn Roberts (12/12/17 10:57 AM)
Edit Reason: Additional thought

#199756 - 12/12/17 06:57 AM Re: Knife, Fire Starter, Ignition Source [Re: OregonMouse]
Pika Offline

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1789
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
I use a Swiss Army Knife “Classic”, paste wax saturated cotton and a tea candle, a Bic Mini and REI “hurricane” matches. I almost never light a fire though; fires are usually prohibited where I hike and when I hike.

Edited by Pika (12/12/17 03:29 PM)
Edit Reason: Spelling
May I walk in beauty.

#199757 - 12/12/17 12:05 PM Re: Knife, Fire Starter, Ignition Source [Re: Pika]
balzaccom Offline

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1868
Loc: Napa, CA
Tiny Cal Trout blade for a knife. Less than 2.5 inches long--just enough to get through a salami.

Fire starter--lightweight paper collection of Sudoku puzzles!

Ignition source: Multiply BIC lighters.

check out our website and blog:

#199758 - 12/12/17 01:22 PM Re: Knife, Fire Starter, Ignition Source [Re: Jim M]
BZH Offline

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 954
Loc: Torrance, CA
Knife: I keep bringing my big Swiss Army Knife I bought when I was a kid. I've got smaller knifes and always intend to downgrade because I don't use 80% of the features... but I just keep sticking it in my pocket. It must be nostalgia. I don't recommend it for others.

Fire starter: I don't use it regularly, but when I do it is used up maps I have printed or edges of the sections I haven't got to yet. If it was an emergency and I was concerned the paper scraps didn't have enough BTUs, I would smear some lip balm on them before I used them.

Ignition source: 2 bic mini's. Cheap, reliable, and lightweight... sometimes you do get it all! If you are worried about both of them failing, bring a third.

#199760 - 12/12/17 06:05 PM Re: Knife, Fire Starter, Ignition Source [Re: OregonMouse]
Jim M Offline

Registered: 11/23/03
Posts: 307
Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
I have several Leatherman knives, all but the Mica are too heavy for backpacking. I did not know about the Leatherman Squirt and looked I up. REI says 1.9 ounces and $33. I know of a case where a friend had a fishhook in his finger and it would have put an end to a trip very early except some stranger happened to have a Leatherman with pliers so they could cut off the barb end and pull it back out.

I was surprised that several people don't carry much in the way of a fire starter. We often hike off trail in areas where we don't see anyone else. We obey the fire ban laws, well unless it is raining or has been raining and it is unlikely anyone will ever see us there.
Jim M

#199761 - 12/12/17 06:15 PM Re: Knife, Fire Starter, Ignition Source [Re: Glenn Roberts]
Jim M Offline

Registered: 11/23/03
Posts: 307
Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
I was not aware of the Windmill Butane lighter. I saw a video of the AWL-10 and it looks very cool. Nice for lighting cigars too, I'll bet. I have seen my friends use the storm proof matches they sell at REI in use and they are great. (Illegal to fly on a commercial plane with, I'm told).
Jim M

#199762 - 12/12/17 06:21 PM Re: Knife, Fire Starter, Ignition Source [Re: Pika]
Jim M Offline

Registered: 11/23/03
Posts: 307
Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
I was not aware that there are two Bic lighters, standard and Mini.
I see now that one weighs 0.7 ounces and the other 0.4, that is a savings of 0.3 ounces. However apparently the standard one I carry has some fuel missing because it weighs 0.5 ounces on my scale (plus or minus 0.1 accuracy, I suppose).
RE; fire starters. The reason, I was taught, you carry fire starters is not for building the usual campfire, but rather for emergencies. However emergency fires can be more work than they are worth sometimes. Some say stay dry, save your energy, forget the fire.

Edited by Jim M (12/12/17 06:35 PM)
Jim M

#199763 - 12/12/17 06:31 PM Re: Knife, Fire Starter, Ignition Source [Re: balzaccom]
Jim M Offline

Registered: 11/23/03
Posts: 307
Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
You said Cal Trout Blade. Is that a lure? Or is it a trout fillet blade? I have carried various knives over the years. My little classic Swiss Army knife (now called Cadet, I think) is all I really ever needed. Cut thread, Cut cheese, Summer Sausage, make a tent peg, cut a guy line, and long ago when hiking with my daughter who fished, cleaned a number of trout. I was an EMT at one time and when hiking with a group I carry a more extensive first aid kit including a very light weight pair of scissors in my kit. I used to carry a razor, but someone asked why and I couldn't answer them, so I took it out.
Jim M

#200374 - 03/10/18 04:22 AM Re: Knife, Fire Starter, Ignition Source [Re: Jim M]
Bill Kennedy Offline

Registered: 02/27/18
Posts: 180
Loc: Portland, Oregon
1. Gerber LST usually, although I have a number of suitable knives, and which one I carry depends on my mood when packing (mini-LST, Gerber Gator Grip, Swiss Army knife, etc.) I normally carry the small SA Classic (Wenger version) in my pocket all the time, so it usually comes along too.

2. I have one of those little thumbwheel-and-flint fire starters.
Maybe it's a Spark-Lite. Anyway, it looks like that. 2/10 of an ounce including the little fuzzy tinder things that came with it.
I still carry a matchsafe, too.

3. Bic lighter or mini-bic.

I've very seldom made a fire...I can only think of two times, and neither time was my idea smile I'd be pretty inept if I had to start one under adverse conditions.

OK, three times. Once we camped where some other people had a fire and we kept it going after they left, since it was kind of rainy and cold. They had also built a lean-to out of freshly cut branches. "Scouts," supposedly. I held my tongue.
Always remember that you are absolutely unique, just like everybody else. -Margaret Mead

#201030 - 05/22/18 10:06 AM Re: Knife, Fire Starter, Ignition Source [Re: Bill Kennedy]
SQWIB Offline

Registered: 10/10/14
Posts: 25
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
1) Leatherman Squirt ps-4 + Morakniv Companion for batoning, cutting tent stakes etc...

2) Cotton ball with vaseline folded into a sheet of wax paper x 5 (helps catch the spark) Hand sanitizer (multi use)(May add 4 or 5 trick candles) small innertube pieces wrapped around the bic lighters (emergency use only)

3) Gob Spark Armageddon, Book Matches, mini Bic Lighter in my cook kit, Mini Bic lighter in my Ditty bag

I take a weight penalty on the Gob Spark but its a godsend using in the cold with gloves and has been 100% reliable so far.
The Morakniv is a 4.5 oz weight penalty but I am much more comfortable with a fixed blades in the woods.
Also I like to have a redundancy in lighters

#201037 - 05/22/18 02:58 PM Re: Knife, Fire Starter, Ignition Source [Re: Jim M]
4evrplan Offline

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 784
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
1. Small homemade fixed blade (weighs just a smidge over an ounce, sheath included) + Leatherman Style PS (not a knife, but I consider it an essential tool)
2. Homemade "fire straws"
3. 2 Bic mini lighters (stashed in separate places)
Hiking is the ultimate realization that the journey is more important than the destination.

#201040 - 05/23/18 07:39 PM Re: Knife, Fire Starter, Ignition Source [Re: Jim M]
Dryer Offline

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3590
Loc: Texas
Swiss Army Classic (the teensy one)

"Fire Bunnies" my own creation. 1/2 paper towel, twisted tightly, soaked in paraffin. You can cut them up into chunks. Also birthday candles.

Ignition source...several books of matches, individually bagged. Lighter than a Bic.
paul, texas KD5IVP


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