Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Old faithful has died

It's true. For years I've been carrying the same lighter every day. When I needed to light a smoke it's never failed me. It's lighted many campfires. Any time that I've ever needed to get a fire going it's done it's job. 4 years ago, when I met my wife I was using the same lighter. I don't know how long I was carrying it before I met her. Today it finally failed me. I can't tell you how many times I tried to get a fire going when a flint and steel or a blastmatch just wouldn't work. Every time I've ever "given up" and taken the easy way out my faithful bic has always done the job. I've got a stack of zippos that always seem to die after just a few weeks. Meanwhile, I've been hoarding bics that never fail me. You can spend $25 on a blastmatch. You can spend $3 on a magnesium bar that you need a $10 knife in your pocket to use. Go ahead and stockpile containers of lighter fluid if you want to burn through it in a few months because it evaporates faster than you use it. If you can get a knife and flint to work then you can expect to spend a while sharpening the knife afterwards. Or you can spend a couple of bucks on a pack of Bics that will start a fire with the flick of a thumb. I have bics that are at least 10 years old that still light up with no problem. Being able to start a fire with a bow & drill is a great skill. Even starting a fire with a blastmatch takes some serious technique. Starting a fire with a Bic takes very little skill. Carry a Bic and you'll always have a fire at your fingertips when you need it. Just make sure that you swap it out every couple of years.

5 comments:

FireSteel.com said...

I know what you mean, over time a piece of gear seems to become a part of oneself, like an axe that has been carried through thousands of miles of forest or a sleeping bag that has kept you warm through many an adventure.

And it can be very difficult to replace that gear, because the fit is never the same.

You should still carry a "flint". The reason being they always work, even when wet or abused, nearly impossible to break under normal conditions, and will light thousands of fires. The learning curve is a little higher than simply sparking a flame, but the security in knowing you can get a spark no matter what is very important.

Also, a knife is not needed on a a firesteel - any angular piece of metal or other hard object will do. I've even used glass. Many come with a thin scraper that works very well and saves the knife.

vlad said...

I wirebrushed an old key and several lighter flints to remove any coating. Secured a double row of flints on key with JB weld. It's there on keyring when needed. (I have MFS, 50 lb braided Spiderwire and six hooks in pockets of Leatherman Wave pouch on my belt.)

Anonymous said...

When the bic finally dies from lack of fuel, guess what it already contains that can be salvaged? Yep, flint and steel. +1 for the Bic lighter, -1 for all the other choices mentioned. Nice post, Urban.

The Urban Survivalist said...

I do carry a flint in my wallet. It's one of those long, thin ones from a magnesium bar that will probably break before I actually get a fire started. I've read tutorials. I've watched videos. I've spent hours and hours trying different techniques. I have yet to get a fire started with it (or any other "alternative" method"). I will probably freeze to death if my Bic ever dies in a SHTF situation.

Anonymous said...

can someone please use a bic or similar fire making device to light a fir under artyboys butt and get Z.O.T.I. finished up! please!...

come on artyboy, love the story, don't let it roam around the interweb undead and unfinished forever...