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.