We all know the basic components of a fire being tinder, kindling and fuel. Each component is designed to slowly catch the next stage on fire. The fun part is how do you get your first flame going and keep it going long enough to get the whole thing up in a blaze. This is where our preferred fire starter of choice comes into play. For some it is a birds nest, fuzzy stick or fatwood. For others it is a more modern or homemade creation like a Wetfire (or the poor man’s version the Weber charcoal starter cube) “10 minute match” or the venerable old lint/wax/egg crate starter. Over the years we’ve used all of these, but have alway had a place in our heart for the egg crate fire starter, which maybe why we were attracted to the Coffee Wick Fire Starter to begin with. This creation utilizes spent coffee grounds and soy based wax, packed in a cardboard cup with a small wick attached for ignition to get your outdoor fire party started.
–Quality and construction–
Right out of the box you can feel the heft of the Coffee Wick Fire Starter. These things are densely packed with a hearty combination of go-juice leavings and soy paraffin. This piqued our interest so much that we took one over to the scales. On average each cup is about 1.5oz. As a comparison we grabbed some of The Gear Whores own homemade ye olde timey lint/wax/egg crate fire starters and found the average weight to be 0.5oz. This certainly gave us the warm fuzzies about the Coffee Wick Fire Starter burning long and strong to get us an easily lit fire.
Each cup was evenly filled, consistent in weight, and adorned with a nice ½” wick on the edge as advertised for easy lighting. They even had a very subtle coffee aroma to them. They seem sturdy enough to simply toss in a pack or fire kit and just let them roll around until the time calls to make a fire.
–Usefulness and durability–
To test out the Coffee Wick Fire Starter we chose to utilize our Solo Stove Campfire as the host of our impromptu blaze. As tends to be our tradition we were lucky enough to receive several inches of rain prior to the test so our wood supply was a bit moist, which should help to see how the Coffee Wick Fire Starter holds up to some “real world” conditions.
After splitting a bit of wood down to a size that would fit in the Solo Stove Campfire we pondered how to approach lighting the fire starter. At first we thought perhaps we could place the fire start in the stove first, reach in and light it using the Exotac FireSleeve. This proved to not be as easy as initially thought. So we went with light the Coffee Wick first, place it in the Solo Stove and then build a fire.
This certainly is where the Coffee Wick showed us that the name sake wick feature was handy. We just lit it like a candle and didn’t have to hurry or fumble around to avoid getting burned while we placed it in the Solo Stove. We gingerly placed it inside, waited for the entirety of the top of the Coffee Wick to melt and burn and then just built our fire around it.
In no time the Coffee Wick Fire Starter did exactly what you would have expected, start a fire quickly and easily, even when the wood is a bit moist. It burned for an ample amount of time easily allowing us to just add whatever moist wood would fit in the Solo Stove Campfire and wait until it was all lit.
We do have a place in our heart, as mentioned, for the old lint/wax/egg crate fire starters, so the similarities with the Coffee Wick Fire Starter got our nostalgia meter going. These things are dense, packed fully of fuel to get your fire burning. The wick feature is a big bonus for allowing you to light first in your hand and then place it where you want with plenty of time to spare. Its unique ingredients combine into a great and functional product.
We enjoy a little range time indoors at DCF Guns in CO and an informal test of a selection of Silencerco suppressors on Double D Armory SSTF hosts.
We hold no secrets when it comes to our love of woodgas stoves and it would appear one of our long term dreams is coming true. The good people at Solo Stove are making the penultimate woodgas stove the Solo Stove Bonfire now on Kickstarter. This hulk of a stove has graduated to full on portable fire pit status with this new generation, while still retaining the classic efficiency of the Solo Stove woodgas design.
We can only imagine the next step is the Solo Stove Forest Fire, we can only hope, wait and see what happens.
Fire can be made in many ways and with many tools. The simple creation of a spark and catching it on an easily burnable material is one of the older methods. A good example of such would be flint and steel, and a modern twist on that is the quite popular ferrocerium rod. This spark stick is essentially a larger version of the material found under the spark wheel of a bic lighter. Their popularity has grown, and big makers such as LightMyFire and Exotac certainly make some nice modern versions. The thing these items typically lack is an included amount of fire starting material. The creative minds of Idaho Survival have solved this problem by making the handle material out of a great fire starting material, fatwood. The Idaho Survival Fire Stick Fatwood Ferrocerium firestarter is a excellent combination of primitive fire starting materials and modern fire starting methods.
–Quality and construction–
One of our original worries with having a wood handled ferrocerium rod was that the fatwood might be a bit rough. This was not the case. Idaho Survival has taken some time with the construction of the Fire Stick ferro rod and made sure to smooth out the fatwood handle to be comfortable and easy to grip. The hand itself is a generous chunk of very resinous fatwood. Having this much material ensures that you can start quite a few fires and also maintain an easy grip on the ferrocerium while striking. The addition of a lanyard hole to the end of the handle allows for the additional of any length of paracord. As shipped the Idaho Survival Fire Stick comes with a length of leather to act as the lanyard.
–Usefulness and durability–
As with any ferrocerium rod the usefulness comes from it’s ability to create a shower of intensely hot sparks that can easily light various material on fire. The other part comes from making sure you have the right material to light on fire. To test both of these features we proceeded to shave off a small amount of fatwood from a supply provided by Idaho Survival, and place it in a small pile on a small piece of birch bark. The goal was to start this small amount of material and place it into our Emberlit Fireant titanium stove and cook a small breakfast.
When we matched up our blade to the Idaho Survival Fire Stick fatwood ferrocerium an ample amount of hot sparks were produced easily, and we were able to keep a hold of the fatwood handle with ease as well. Within a few strikes our fatwood shavings caught flame. Even with a small pile of shavings, they burned for a long enough period of time to allow us to place them, and multiple types of other material in our Fireant stove to get our whole fire started and maintained.
The extended usefulness comes from the ability to handle and reuse this fire starter over and over again. Idaho Survival has thought of this and made sure to provide a large, both in length and girth, ferro rod to allow for ease of striking and for long term repeated use. Also the handle size should allow for extended use, even as it’s fatwood is whittled down. Considering many other ferro rods have only a small handle knob, to be gripped by just a thumb and forefinger, you will have a long way to go to shave the Idaho Survival Fire Stick down before you get it to that size.
We love fire, especially in the outdoors. Who doesn’t? Every aspect is fun, and the first step is always fire starting. Using a ferrocerium rod is pretty easy, and there are many makers, but the Idaho Survival Fire Stick fatwood ferrocerium is a great combination. Having these two great materials together means only having to keep track of one thing in the pack, and ensures you have the materials you need to get that fire going. When compared, by features and price it is quite hard to beat. I would beat feet over the their Etsy store, and drop another $8.50 for this item any day.
The folks at Idaho Survival have take the venerable ferrocerium fire starter and added a fatwood handle to create their Fire Stick ferro rod. This take on a tried a true fire starter is handy and innovative by having the fire starting material, ie fatwood, built right in.
When it comes to outdoor utensils there are a multitude of items that we typically carry. Some of those are for creating fire, others are for setting up our tent. When dinner time rolls around the most critical are the utensils we use to create and consume our meals on the trail. For many of us that may mean a titanium mug and the good old useful spork. But why use just a spork why not carry a fork and a spoon. Individually they offer the greatest usability of their individual traits. But what if they could offer more when they were combined. It seems that was the idea that inspired the team at Merkwares to create the new Emberlit Sprongs. This fork and spoon combination when linked together create a set of tongs that can be exceptionally useful for turning, flipping or just simply grabbing food items during the preparation and cooking process. These made-in-the-usa lightweight nylon quality tools are definitely a must for your backpack.
–Quality and construction–
The Emberlit Sprongs are made from high temperature resistant nylon and according to the maker, good to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This nylon is press fitted in a custom-made mold to form the combination spoon fork and tongs that they are. Coming in two colors currently, one being a burnt brick orange the other a dark black, both colors are enjoyable. The fit and finish on these Sprongs are excellent, and very uniform. The eating surface of the spoon and fork are both very smooth while the overall handle area is lightly texture to allow for better grip. The pivot button and locking hook that allowed them to be joined are very well fitted. This tight joint allows this set of eating tools to be joined together while in your pack, and reversed to recreate the set of tongs that is they’re exceptionally unique feature. The raised pivot button has a through hole molded in that easily allows you to add a small piece of paracord to act as a permanently attached lanyard. As an added bonus the locking hook easily acts as a small bail hook to lift the lid off your titanium mug with ease. Though robust the set clocks in at only 0.7 ounces in weight. Being so light they could easily be added to any pack, either replacing your spork or simply adding to your already available eating tools.
–Usefulness and durability–
As we’ve used a fork and spoon many times we decided to get right to the novelty of the tong feature of the Emberlit Sprongs. To test this feature we proceeded to fire up the old titanium Emberlit Fireant, starting a fire with our Idaho Survival FireStick ferrocerium and cook a little breakfast. With a skillet firmly on top, we dropped a fresh piece of bacon into the mix to get things started. Cooking on a skillet over a fire can be a tricky affair. If one doesn’t pay attention things tend to stick. With our Emberlit Sprongs grabbing ahold of an individual piece of bacon and flipping it around was an easy affair. The pinch and grip that these tongs offer is bit more useful than a spatula, or trying to flip something over with a spork. Also with the given length of the Sprongs we could easily keep our hands away from the heat of the Fireant stove while still cooking our candy of meats.
With our bacon treat thoroughly cooked we proceeded to cracking open a single egg. Waiting a small while to get this ovum firmed up the Sprongs again proved their worth making short work of making our sunny side up more over easy. A hearty meal was ready, but we needed some go juice.
Separated the Sprongs work just as well as their individual components would be expected too. The extra long length of the spoon made reaching all the way to the bottom of our MSI Outdoors French Press an easy affair, and got our daily coffee fix underway. While the dark nectar brewed, the individual fork shoveled eggs and bacon into our hungry face. This is when we found our only complaint. The tines on the fork, when using to cut or wedge apart our over hard egg where a little bit too springy making the procedure a bit more difficult than expected. Such a performance is pretty standard for plastic forks, and one of the reasons we’ve loved our LightMyFire titanium spork so much.
Being able to have multi-use items in one’s camping kit is a serious bonus and the Emberlit Sprongs delivers this usefulness hands down. In all honesty I would have never thought that I needed tongs in my backpack, but now that I have them I am quite please with the added functionality. This one seemingly small feature is a great force multiplier making your normal eating tools that much more useful. According to the team at Merkwares a titanium version of the Sprongs will soon be in the works, and we look forward to those wholeheartedly.