A few weeks ago I received an email from Derek Trott who is the VP of Sales for a company called Ramagex based out of Quebec. Derek had visited the Beyond the Fire website and felt that he had a product that was perfect for our School.
The product was called "Instaflam" which he described as an environmentally friendly fire starter that instantly lights when wet. Well, for those who know us here at BTF you know that begs to be field tested.
Derek and Instaflam were up for the challenge and graciously sent us their product. I advised Derek that BTF was not a School of Camping nor do we promote products that cannot stand up to rigorous testing in harsh conditions. Derek didn't hesitate to welcome the challenge.
Simply put, the Instaflam product is composed of wood wool which is saturated with paraffin wax. The company states that it will light even when wet and burn for approx. 10 minutes.
So, with snow on the ground, -10 degrees and a good northwest breeze I took the product out for Part I of the field testing.
Test 1: The One Match Test
In a survival situation you must ration every item you have because you never know how long you will be there or what challenged you will face.
Placing the Instaflam product one inch into the depth of the snow I used one regular waterproof match. Instaflam immediately ignited within a split second of the flam touching the product. I was impressed.
I then timed the burn time to challenge their 10 minute claim. Well, 18 minutes and 22 seconds later the single Instaflam unit burned out. I was very impressed. This kind of burn time provides the user with plenty of flame and heat to get small tinders and branches igniting into a fire.
Test 2: Fully Submerged and Floating
Not just dipped and wet. Fully submerged and floating. This is survival folks - not camping ! If you follow the blog you know full well my thoughts and passion for cold water submersion preparation. Any product I carry summer or winter must be tested in these conditions.
So with a camping pot filled with cold water I headed back out the snow where I placed the Instaflam product into the water. I then proceeded to fully submerge the product under the water for 30 seconds. With the Instaflam floating on the top I again utilized one waterproof match. With several seconds the product ignited. I was impressed !
The product stayed lit for 3 minutes and 12 seconds. Keep in mind that this product was fully submerged and then floating in water. There was not a dry shred on that product when the testing began. I was blown away.
I then removed the product from the water and placed it into the snow and manipulated the product a bit at which time I was able to relight it. Amazing. It then had a running burn time of 9 minutes.
Part I Conclusion
When I received the product and conducted the research I was sold on its suitability for the camping adventurer. However, I was not completely confident in its suitability for the hardcore back country employed personnel or search and rescue operators.
In doing Part I of the testing I was amazed at the products resiliency and ease of ignition. This product has proven itself as more than a ma and pa camping product. This is an outdoor adventurer product that suits minimalists, naturalists, environmentalist and anyone else who just wants a product that they can trust when a fire is necessary.
This product has already founds its way into my SAR gear as well as into my instructional pack.
Stay tuned for Part II of the field testing where we push the product to points not yet explored !!
Please visit www.instaflam.com to find out more and to locate your closest dealer. Do not hit the bush this year without this product in your pack.