Thursday, February 24, 2011

Firesteel Giveaway! Win a Free Gobspark Armageddon!

Update: The 2 winners for this contest are Carl Lenocker, and Wakis85. 

I recently did a post about the Gobspark Armageddon firesteel and many of you seemed very interested in trying one out.  Well, now you have a chance to get one for free with this hot (couldn't resist) contest!

The Rules:

1.  Simply reply to this blog post describing your most successful technique for building and starting a fire.
2.  Two winners will be chosen at random on Sunday, Feb. 27th 2011 at 5 PM MST (no submissions will be taken into consideration after that).
3.  The winners will be announced in this blog post.
4.  The winners MUST email me in order to claim their prize.  Please include your shipping address in the email.  If a winner does not email me within 72 hours of the end of the contest, a new winner will be chosen.

Good luck everyone and I look forward to hearing your fire starting techniques!
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57 comments:

Rick said...

Fire starting is a much needed skill... you have to be able to start and maintain the fire. The two techniques I use is either the log cabin or tee pee technique. depending on size and wind. Start out with a kindling and small sticks then either build a log cabin or tee pee around it out of larger sticks. Start the kindling and as it burns it burns the small sticks then the larger sticks.

robert said...

I agree with Rick this is a much needed skill. I try to teach my scouts several different methods of fire building and also include several ways to light the fire. The most successful method seems to be the tee pee. We use drier lint and kindling with a good spark. It will work more often than not.

mike said...

for building, i generally use a few bits of bigger wood at the bottom, followed by kindling/lint etc, then build a tee-pee over that. the extra logs at the bottom a) raise it off wet ground and b) create a heat sink, the logs should get hot enough that they stay warm over night and can be used to get the fire going easier in the morning.

for lighting fires. a lighter. (more specifically, a zippo) cant beat it really.

Jose n' Analee said...

most successful technique I've used it dryer lint. After watching your video I tested both tampon and dryer lint. Dryer lint was going with just one spark. Now I always carry a film cannister filled with lint.

Husky Hiker - Jim Bradley said...

most successful? A good pile of kindling and a bit of liquid fuel from your bottle. This really did the trick on a wet car camping trip last year. No skill needed...

Dave said...

The reason I am posting is to win the fire steel to test out a new unusual technique I was told about. Doritos! That's right, Doritos chips. My brother says if you've got a chip and a spark you can make a fire! I need a steel to try this out.

Mek said...

Cotton balls and petroleum ! It packs down really tight and is lightweight! Can start a fire on snow with just tearing off some of the cotton fibers and a little bit of twigs, kindling. I carry a little bit of the petroleum dabbed cotton balls in a pill container attached to a fire striker , works every time!

Jeffrey said...

One of my favorite memories as a Scout was winning a fire building competition at a Klondike Derby. It's been a while but I recall using egg cartons filled with wood shavings and paraffin with a short string used as a wick.

Philip Werner said...

I like to use birch bark and mix it in with small kindling. Once is gets crackling, I build it up slowly with larger and larger sticks. Then I bookend it with two bigger pieces of wood and start laying medium size sticks across them until I can build up a good coal bed and lay on larger pieces of wood as needed.

Of course, it's been years since I actually built a fire backpacking because it has such a harmful impact on the ground and I rarely camp at sites with established fire pits.

Stephen McGuire said...

Until recently it was dryer lint but after learning from your video how to make char cloth it definitely takes the cake. Fires up quicker than dryer lint with flint/steel.

-Stephen

Andrew said...

The tecnique I use is to start with a starter like dryer lint or cotton soaked in vasaline (in very bad conditions I will use a Wetfire). I light the tinder with either a) matches or b) lighter. I will begin to layer on (dry) sticks starting at about the size of a pencil lead, (of course have all kindling present ready when building the fire) then sticks the size of a spaghetti noodle, then sticks near the size of a pencil. I will feed air to the fire as needed then add larger wood. using this technique I start almost all of my fires with one match.

TandR said...

Haha, I usually end up using fire starter logs or newspaper. However, just the other night, I used kindling, dry/dead leaves and a lighter and produced a wonderful backyard fire to sit with the wifey and enjoy a cup of coffee. Would love to have one of the gobsparks. Would come in handy in the backcountry.

Tim,
http://www.appalachiaandbeyond.com

Jake Willits said...

I have used all of the methods mentioned. I always fall back on the dryer lint. It is ultralight, and free. I prefer a Bic lighter as my flame source because in case of wet materials, you can still "juice" the lighter for better flame output. A modified tepee is my standard setup. Take a bigger stick and lay it directionally with the wind. Then lean your tepee against it. This allows you to control the air within the fire by adjusting the lay of the base stick. Also, the old standby for extreme wet conditions is a "Fuzzstick". Make one by finding the driest piece of small wood you can find and use your knife to peel small portions back. The entire stick will be fuzzy and MUCH more flammable.

justradar said...

I simply focus my energy and release the the DEAFENING SOUND of my SEXUAL EMISSION ... of course this kills any small animals within a 2 mile radius, but if there's any small bundles of kindling nearby, they usually catch fire. usually there are 3 - 4 fires. If i want to make another fire, i usually have to wait about half an hour :)

this is not only inefficient, it's crude and downright mean to those poor animals. oh the humanity! if only i had a firesteel, think of all the lives i could save.

Jason, help me help animals!

Wakis85 said...

I recently taught my son and his Webelos Den how to start a fire using Flint and Steel, we used cotton balls and vasoline. It took them a while, and they were starting to get frustrated, but they kept at it and each on of them finally got a fire started. The looks on their faces were priceless!!! All 4 of them just crossed over from Cub Scouts into Boy Scouts.

br&on said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
runningfromseptember said...

I love the cotton balls and petroleum jelly. For those fans of wetfire tinder, you can take these vasoline cotton balls and dunk them in melted wax. The vasoline keeps the cotton balls from soaking up all of the wax, and they burn even longer!

Carl Lenocker said...

I carry military grade Trioxane bars with me, which were meant for cooking -- but they seem to put out a sustained small flame as at least 10 minutes if you use them properly. I've been able to start a fire in all conditions using these bars, and they've paid for themselves in spades because of that. You can put them at the base of your tinder pile, and then watch as they will go up in flames quickly -- then add your bigger pieces, and viola -- You have a huge roaring fire! You can light them with a fire steel too!

JRR said...

Chop down two trees. Pour 10 gallons of gasoline on said trees. Back up 90 feet. Ignite with flamethrower.

Jasmin Loire said...

Do you mean most successful as in required the least amount of effort, or most replicable? I'll tell you the former.

I filled a fire ring with branches I found along the ground. No teepeeing. No log cabining. Just tossed them into the ring.

Then I dumped the contents of my Kelly Kettle fire pan onto the branch collection.

I said to my traveling partner, "There is absolutely no way that this will work."

I blew on the coals a bit.

And et viola, flame appeared and we had the most fantastic, and easiest to create, fire I've ever experienced.

Since then, I've tried to replicate it, but so far I require at least one vaseline-soaked cotton ball. I call it my "one match fire" technique. Building shapes with you kindling be d@mned! Just pile them up in a messy heap. They'll burn just the same.

p-w-b said...

I use egg carton firestarters. Dryer lint packed into the sections of an egg carton, then soaked in wax. A little hard to get going sometimes, but burns really well once it's lit.

Wingman said...

As a Scout Leader I believe in keeping it simple.. A good wooden match or lighter and some cotton ball in petroleum jelly. That way the Scout leader always has warm food to eat on our campouts.

Martin said...

I like starting with placing a layer of wood at the ground. That isolates the fire from the cold ground and also from the moisture in the ground. If I can choose, I like to start the fire by using birch bark. It lights very well and burns for a long time. It can also be found in the places where I hike. To then catch the flame from the birch bark I like to use ethier the thinnest parts of spruce twigs or fine slitted pine wood. After that I just keep adding more wood to the fire with larger pices as the fire grows.

ja said...

I usually have the best all-around success with the teepee construction, with some small bark or woody fibers as the base. The log cabin doesn't deflect wind as well for me.

Jeff East said...

I always use a small platform of sticks to raise the fire up off the ground and ventilate. Then, build an interlocking right angle wind break at the back about 4" high, start the tinder inside that with my flint & steel, using what ever dry duff is available, and maybe a bit of wax dust, and add small twigs over this until the fire catches up adding larger sticks and pretty soon I am toasty warm with a mug of chocolate and a big smile!

AZWanderings said...

I build the traditional teepee fire in order to get something going. I always have a little Altoids tin with dryer lint or cotton balls in order to get myself started if I can't get a light. Living in Arizona, building a fire is easy but dangerous. Always have to be aware of current weather and fire restrictions. Thanks for the opportunity.

Ben

Henry Porter said...

I use dryer lint with good success and also carry cotton balls smeared with petroleum jelly for wet conditions. Both of these materials have worked every time I've used them. While hiking, I also collect lichen that I dry in my pocket and pine pitch when available as I approach camp. These also have served me well as excellent first starters.

Michael said...

Lots of kindling and some dryer lent always works best for me. Or a cup of diesel if you want to cheat.

sThig said...

I'm around 40, was (is?) an eagle scout and the world's worst fire starter. Yes, that includes trying to light one in a fire place.

I recently went camping and could not even get a fire to light in the woods (albeit, the wood was wet and it had rained).

So why am I interested in the fire starter? Well I could give you a bunch of BS of how I run out of matches while camping or that I think the Gobspark would help me out in a jam....

but hey, it's a give-away and I like shiny little objects that throw sparks off. And of course I'd use it the next time I'm going camping (which is next weekend and the weekend after that)

Jeff said...

I usually use a teepee method starting with very small twigs and working my way up. I light it with a Bic lighter, nothing fancy. There was one time where everything was wet so I used a little alcohol to give the fire a bit of a boost, before it was lit of course. Although most times wet wood is not that difficult to get burning.

A said...

My job as Scoutmaster of a troop is to challenge the boys to push themselves to master new outdoor skills. To this end I handed out small firesteels and told them to build their fires with them. To me, fire building is all about the tinder. On one outing we experimented with various materials. The favorite dryer lint as tried, along with crumpled leaves, crushed bark, sawdust of pine fatwood, along with dry accelerants like Vaseline Petroleum Jelly (the operative word being petroleum). The best tinder bundle we found that could be lit quickly from a small firesteel was a cotton ball taken from a first aid kit that had been dipped in cooled bacon fat. This took a single spark to light, and when the bacon fat started burning, burned for 4 to 5 minutes, amply adequate to start kindling and even larger fuel wood. Scouts are not allowed to use liquid fuel to start fires for safety reasons. Now they have bragging rights, saying "Match? We don't need no stupid match."

Allan
agr1024@gmail.com

Paul (EnglishManInOntario) said...

I use a bunch of different methods for practice, but the 100% always reliable works every time way is to use PJCB & Birch bark with a twig bundle. Always use a ferro rod to ignite, can't stand matches or lighters.

the Reluctant Scouter said...

My best fire lay is the teepee fire. Works almost every time. The hard part is having the patience to gather up enough tiny tinder before lighting.
To get the fire started, a little bit of chapstick on a cotton ball works great.

Will C said...

Always use the same method. First I get a bunch of tinder/kindling and make it into a bowl shape. Then I use a lighter or matches to light the center of the pile. Once this is burning I throw it under a teepee structure of small branches. Once it's caught, I add larger pieces. Works every time.

Will
Beamer4d@hotmail.com

Arson said...

The guys at the firehouse were trying different techniques for starting a fire, (magnifying glass, AA batteries, friction, etc.) but the best way was taking some steel wool from the tool chest and touching it to the battery heads of the AED, or Automatic External Defibrillator. It works REAL well. They hold a lot of power in those batteries. Lots of flame.... everywhere.
We let our fire get out of hand and we caught the trash can on fire. I had to get the extinguisher out to put it all out and managed to get a white powder from the extinguisher all over everyones turnout gear hanging on the walls. Good job Arson, right? Wrong. Two hours later when the smoke alarm went off in the bay, which is connected to the dispatch center, I realized that I hadn't quite put the trash can fire out.
We got the fire out, and all was well, except that everyone on the Fire Dept. found out from dispatch that Fire Fighters shouldn't play with fire.

scottytech said...

Modified teepee method using a larger 2-4" stick as a side wall of the teepee with tinder underneath. This prevents the teepee from collapsing and the fire going out as larger wood is added. I seldom need to bring tinder, but have some trioxene for emergencies.

Ventura County Canyoneering Club said...

My technique is to gather up a handful of dry leaves, grass, or pine needles. Then I break up some small sticks on top of that. I usually don't bother to make a tee-pee or anything. I have some larger sticks on standby. Then I light up the leaves with a match or a lighter. Once the little sticks start popping I ad the larger sticks. Pretty soon I have a nice fire going. I used to use justradar's technique, but the guilt was killing me. Take care everybody.

Jon said...

FOR ME, ALSO - IT HAS TO BE DRYER LINT

jnixdorf1 said...

A method I have come to like is using the "paper mache" style egg cartons and filling them with saw dust, dryer lint, and even a shredded cotton ball, and then filling it with wax as well as coating the outside. It forms a very reliable almost waterproof firestarter. Once they get going you have ample time to get your fire going before the "egg starter" burns out. The second most reliable method is simple but a good one. I always try to have more than enough kindling. This is key to starting a successful fire. If you have plenty of this you have no risk of the fire going out when you try throwing larger pieces of wood on.

Flag_Mtn_Hkrs said...

Our most successful technique for building and starting a fire has been a fire steel in combination with a cotton-ball soaked in petroleum jelly. Very quick and easy and burns long enough for you to get your fire up and alive.

Adventureboy said...

I recently started a fire in under 10 seconds using my UST blastmatch firestarter and a US Army issue field dressing. I ripped the dressing open, one strike of the Blastmatch and i had flame. I handful of sticks on top, and i had found my new favorite firestarting method.

McNew said...

I like to build a log cabin fire. Some dryer lint at the bottom. Good to go.

Mr. B said...

For my favorite fire starter, I use a cardboard egg carton, lint from a clothes dryer, and wax. The first two items are usual household waste items that I commonly discarded/recycle. For wax, I purchase big, chunky candles from the second hand store. I'll place a cotton ball size piece of lint in each egg pocket of the carton. Then pour enough melted wax over the cotton balls till they are soaked. After the wax solidifies, I'll cut apart the the egg pockets. I'll nest 5-6 together and then put them in a zip lock baggie. The pointed edges of the separated egg pockets are very easy to light with a lighter. These fire starters work great for any fire lay: tee pee, log cabin, star fire or council fire.

The Captain said...

Well, for me, fire steel and fat wood have never failed me. Although, back in the day when I was still in the army and my squad was in stuck in the woods with snow starting & stopping all day, I hit on using "waterless hand soap" and the driest weeds I could find and it was enough for a great tender fire and drying out larger pieces of wood.
I say that was my most successful.

treeswing said...

Most fun = Fire bow & block

Most successful that I use most? Bacon fat on the paper towels I use to clean my cast iron and then stuffed into toilet paper/paper towel rolls - gets it going while keeping the bacon fat out of the landfill(I simply can't cook with that much bacon grease!!)

Scott said...

I'm a fan of the magnesium block, but the ferro rod attached to it isn't very good.

Adam said...

Call me a pessimist, but when things start to go wrong, they usually go wrong in bunches. So, I carry a Sparklite striker (usable with one hand) and cotton balls coated in Vaseline inside a 35mm film container. Both are light and easy to find in a Sundries bag. The cotton ball works well at catching the spark and the Vaseline burns long enough that you can transfer it to your kindling teepee and still have time to adjust things. But for those days when I still have two working hands, the Gobspark Armageddon looks like it would be fun to use!

Ben said...

Silver birch always works for me... that and a good zippo lighter :)

Hiker said...

The Technique i use is making piles of kindlen, leaves, twigs, medium sized sticks, bigger sticks, then logs. First I lay down leaves and lint, then I light it then slowly add the sticks from smallest to largest.

Stevie said...

During dry season fungus and moss can be collected from trees, this will light with a magnifying glass or spark, build up with pine cones and larger sticks. In wet weather zippo and lint soaked in solid fuel gel carried in a small tin, in really wet weather zippo and cut-up slithers of bike inner-tube catches light even when wet.

Paul said...

I actually just finished teaching the inverted log cabin technique to a couple of kids... in Spanish. I find that to be the most reliable and easy to do. Although it is top heavy (starting small and working to bigger material) as long as you keep it balanced it the chimney effect does the work for you.

One of the kids that I was showing (10 years old), having never lit a match before in her life managed to get it going on her second match.

Michael said...

I always carry a lighter and fire steel in case of emergency. But as others have stated before, I like a teepee style fire with small branches/leaves on the bottom. I also carry a small piece of lint from my dryer that has been soaked in some alcohol. I keep this is a small plastic container in case it's too wet to get the fire to catch. This piece of lint will always catch quickly.

vapor831 (at) hotmail.com

peter.gulbranson said...

I usually start with some vasaline covered cotton balls, birtch bark, and small sticks formed into a small teepee.

Susan P. said...

I've used a variety of methods, but the one that draws the biggest ooohs and aaaahs from trekking companions is teh 9-volt battery and steel wool trick. as far as construction, i generally use the tee pee method and put down a base layer of small stuff, covered by my kindling and "fuzzies." then i place the larger kindling in teh teepee and keep the larger fuel wood close by and simply add as needed.

Susan P.

Gray Jolly said...

This is not my technique but I saw a Scoutmaster build a typical tepee style fire starter. It was a wet day with little dry wood available so it was going to be hard to start and keep it going, or so I thought. Then he reached for this small container that was latched to his belt. He called it "Scoutmaster juice" he squirted some on the wood and the smell of lighter fluid hit my nostrils. He put a match to it and it started right up.

Greg said...

Hi Jason,
I would love the opportunity to try out a Gobspark Armageddon firesteel! So here is my most successful technique for building and starting a fire...
Select two medium sized pieces of split firewood. On a solid surface (ideally dry), lay the pieces parallel to each other about three inches apart with the split surfaces facing inwards. This will provide a small sheltered in which to start your fire. In the three inch gap, place a vaseline soaked cotton ball. While solidly holding the firesteel in my left hand and the striker in my right, I very slowly and firmly push the striker away from the handle, down the shaft of the firesteel with my left thumb, and aiming an intense spray of sparks towards the cotton ball. The key to this method is understanding that your left thumb is providing all the thrust while the right hand is simply acting as a guide, creating the ideal angle against the shaft that will result in the maximum amount of sparking.
When the cotton ball has ignited, you can slowly add wood shavings to the fire. Finger sized pieces can then be stacked on teepee style. As the fire grows, continue to build its intensity by stacking on progressively larger pieces of wood at 90 degrees, using the two largest parallel logs as supports to allow good airflow. Your fire should now be on its way...

Happy Trails,
Greg

Paul said...

It looks like the camps are divided. Tee-pee vs. Log cabin. We should have a fire-starting competition.