by Ric Hubbard
June 4, 2018
I am the Publisher and Editor of Ready Magazine. It is my intention to share my experiences as I become more prepared with the readers of this website. As I grow more knowledgeable, so I hope you will too.
I picked up some new fire making supplies to test for addition to my kit. The ability to make a fire can be a life saver, not to mention the morale boosting effect that a well built campfire has on a cold night. The number of different things that you can pick up and make can be confusing. I have three items that I am going to be trying out and you will be able to read the results here.
InstaFire Fire Starter
This product is a power that is flammable, meant to take a spark and start tinder burning. The website describes the product as “No need for kindling – InstaFire will easily light larger split logs. Each pouch is only 1.75 oz & will start up to 4 fires. Lights wet wood (Burns up to 1000 degrees), Each 1/4 pouch burns up to 7-10 MINUTES. NON-TOXIC: made from environmentally friendly materials, and is safe near food!. Remains lit in virtually any weather conditions (snow, light rain, sleet, high winds). Sustains winds up to 20-30 MPH once lit. InstaFire’s leftover is a natural fertilizer – it nourishes the earth!.”
InstaFire is a mixture of paraffin wax, volcanic rock and wood pellets. You are meant to make a pile of the product and light it either by spark or flame. Tinder is added to the flame and the fire built around it. If it lives up to the hype, it should make a good addition to a fire kit.
Sweetfire Strikable Fire Starter
This product from UCO takes the match one step further. It is made Sugercane waste material and a natural vegetable wax so it makes good use of a by-product that might otherwise go to waste. I like the idea of making use of something instead of wasting it and I think it makes a good survival lesson as well. The tip is the same kind of material as on a match. You strike it on the included striker and it light and burns for several minutes so that you can build your fire around it with tinder and fuel.
I have a box of the smallest size fire starters. There are 8 in the box in two sealed packages that include two strikers to light them with. I am told that they are not of the strike anywhere variety so the striker will be vital. This particular package is not storm proof, but the sealed plastic packaging should keep them dry until you need them. This package also promises a seven minute burn time, enough to get a fire started in all but the worst situations.
The sweet fire line also includes two other products. The Storm Proof Fire Starters that are waterproof and burn for 6 minutes that come in packs of 20. These will come in handy in wet and stormy situations. They have also just introduced the Storm Proof Behemoth Fire Starters. This is a much larger, longer version that claim to burn a full 15 minutes. This will make the very worst situations when you need to let you tinder and fuel dry a little before it will light. These three products make an interesting collection of survival tools for various situations
The last product on this list is the UCO Stormproof Matches. These are a very interesting product for your kit. They are designed to resist wind, rain and water. I have watched video of the matches burning under water. I have seen them pulled from the water, struck while soaked and light. This can be a life saver in the cold when the line between life and death is a getting a fire lit as fast as possible.
To tell the truth, I do not have a lot of faith in stick matches. The ones I’ve used in the past have been made of thin wood. They tended to break easily and light hard, making of little use in a survival situation. You require a way to light fires using as few matches as possible so you need a quality fire starter. Matches that break when you try to light them do not make the cut. These matches, on the other hand, are made of tougher stuff.
The UCO Stormproof Matches are a longer and thicker. The combustible material of the match is pretty amazing. When you light a UCO match this material burns hot and will not go out. After you burn past this material you are burning wood like any other match, but until then you have a hot fire that will start your tinder. The package promises a 15-second burn time and the one that I have lit so far seemed to burn about that. I will be working to come up want as many different tests as I can to see what they will do.
UCO makes a three styles of storm matches. There is the Survival match, the smallest that burns 12-seconds, the standard 15-second burn time and the Titan that burns 25-seconds. Choose the product that fits your needs. They also offer a line of standard waterproof matches for including a strike anywhere and an extra-long. I have some of standard waterproof matches to test as well, but I do not have as high a hopes for them as they seem constructed the same as the ones that have not done well in the past.
I will start posting the results as soon as I am ready to share them.