Saturday, January 24, 2015

Survival Fire Starters

A few years back while working with a fellow survival instructor to setup an element of a course we took a break to start a fire and make a bush coffee. 

As I started collecting materials it was obvious that everything was wet from the recent weather. While piling our supplies my fellow instructor setup up the tinder in preparation for ignition. That's when he pulled a small candle looking item from his pack. 

As he lit the item I watched as it produced a large thick flame that seem to last forever. This flame lasted long enough to ignite not only the tinder but the thicker twigs as well. 

As we tended the fire and brewed our coffee we discussed fire starting, adverse conditions and survival products. I was so impressed with the simplicity, ease of use, natural materials and confidence this Survival Candle provided in adverse conditions. 

While preparing for our upcoming course I decided to make a few of these beauties for the students to carry and use. 

Ingredients:


  • Paraffin wax
  • Birch Bark
  • Jute Twine
  • Wood pieces
I've heard of endless production methods with specialty items and wicks but I prefer simple ingredients to produce a max flame. I don't want a small candle wick flame. I want a fire !!







Friday, January 16, 2015

Light My Fire - Fire Knife

After the surprising results of the Tinder on a Rope evaluation I was eager to see if Light My Fire was for real. There is no doubt that Light My Fire is a very successful product designer and manufacturer of camping use gear. However, this success rarely translates into the type of equipment which can be trusted in a survival emergency.

I decided to purchase and test the Light My Fire - Fire Knife. The product is a unique combo containing a Mora knife with an integrated Light My Fire Scout Fire Steel built into the handle. There are numerous YouTube reviews showing the product and how to use it. So rather than produce a similar video I decided to just list the Pros and Cons of the product from a survival perspective.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Mora quality blade
  • Rubberized sure grip handle
  • Simple yet functional resin sheath
  • High quality Scout Fire Steel
  • Excellent spark production
Cons
  • Not robust enough to be a survival knife
  • Difficult to draw knife from sheath
This combo offers a great option as an everyday carry. Although I'm a huge believer in carrying a knife that can withstand countless blows while splitting wood I see the value in this piece of kit. 

Anytime you can reduce weight and the number of items you carry without reducing functionality of your kit than you've succeeded. I think this is a great piece of kit and suggest that if you're a camper, hiker or outdoor enthusiast this is a must have. 


Prepare Today ... Survive Tomorrow. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Show Us Your Fire Kit

With only 2 days left in our most recent poll I thought it would be a great idea for our followers to send us a picture of their fire kits. 

There is no one size fits all fire kit or survival kit. It's perfect if it works for you in the moment when you need it to work the most - when your life is on the line. 

The poll results are a great opportunity to discuss carry options with their pros and cons. 

Until then please lay out your kits, take a picture and send them to beyondthefire@bell.net. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Natural Char Tinder

I came across this video we made a few years back while preparing for an upcoming course. A great reminder to take your time while in the bush to look around and see what Mother Nature gives you.


Prepare Today ...  Survive Tomorrow.

Friday, January 9, 2015

A Bushcraft Boil

With the sun shining and a light snow falling the dogs and I headed out to the cabin to enjoy the winter wilderness. 


Take the time to get out in the bush and practice your skills.  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Pleasant Surprise - Gear Review

Just before Christmas I was wandering through our local outdoor outfitters store. I wasn't looking for any items in particular. Instead I was just browsing to see if anything would grab my attention. 

As I walked through the camping accessories I looked through the many fire starters and kits which comically claim to be the best and sure to start fire in any situation. 

If you've followed us you are aware that we like to test products until we find their breaking points and areas of failures. In an emergency survival situation you cannot afford breakage nor failure. Your life depends on it. 

On this trip my interest was peaked by a product being distributed by a well known outdoor fire starting tool manufacturer. The company Light My Fire originated in the mid 90's in the Swedish backcountry. The product that I found I had not seen before although I had seen many similar products out there in my travels. Tinder-On-A-Rope. 

Tinder-On-A-Rope is a pine product from Mexico that has an 80% resin content. The product is light weight and looked extremely easy to work with so at face value it looked like a product I would carry. So without hesitation I purchased one to test for our school. 

So on a beautiful New Years Day we travelled back into the bush to put this product through the paces. We used our standard testing process to determine whether it would meet our approval. 

Our testing process always boils down to a single factor - ignition by spark. With a functioning lighter or match you can light almost anything. However, after a cold water submersion, with little cover, brisk winds, poor dexterity and only your striker can your product save my life. Pretty simple test. It's a pass or a fail. 

As I shaved curlies off of the resin wood into a solid pile I was not confident that a spark would ignite the product let alone ignite while wet and on snow in a brisk winters wind. 

With 4-5 good sets of sparks we sat amazed as the pile ignited into a strong flame capable of igniting natural fuel sources. With the excitement we shaved another pile right into the snow and set out again to find failure. Once again with a few good sets of sparks the shavings lit and produced a solid flame quickly spreading through the pile. 

John and I both realized that this product was for real. Not just for camping but rather as an everyday carry for those whose lives depend on fire for backcountry survival. 

We are so impressed that we will now be issuing this to all of our students in their personal fire kits. 

www.lightmyfire.com













Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Season is Fast Approaching

Well after a long battle with the internet world in an attempt to renew and maintain the website we are finally back.

It is an exciting time of year as we experience change all around us. The cool winds have stripped the trees of their leaves. The cold nights have given the grounds their first layer of crust. The moisture dense clouds have dropped their first snowfall. 

These changes remind us that winter is here. They also should remind us that discomfort, emergency and death are around every corner. 

As millions venture outside to enjoy the changing seasons we will undoubtedly hear stories of folks who have found themselves in the throws of a winter survival emergency because they were ill prepared. 

With another winter filled with outdoor activities and adventures soon to begin we want to remind everyone to put preparedness at the top of their list. Regardless of your anticipatied activity duration always be prepared with the proper equipment and field experience to complete the following in a remote wilderness environment:

1. Provide First Aid
2. Create and maintain a sustainable fire
3. Build Shelter
4. Maintain Hydration
5. Create an adequate and functioning distress signal

These 5 tasks are essential to your survival. 

Never underestimate the power of Mother Nature. She is beautiful in her calm and unrelenting and destructive in her angry.