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FIRE Starter

September 17, 2012

At a recent HM Hike, Chris Harbowy, one of HM’s Trail leaders and the oldest member of the group (I mean that by the fact his membership number is 0001) gave a very nice instructional lesson on Fire starting without matches or a lighter.

Many of us longtime Hikers and outdoors men, will carry what is known as a “Magnesium/Flint” block. What this contains is a small block of highly flammable magnesium, with a strip of Flint along one edge. Magnesium burns very easily and at an extremely high temperature. Even allowing one to start a fire in very wet conditions.

Chris started his instructions by showing the group that just by having a knife and some flint to produce a spark, was not a guarantee for a Fire. Even with very dry, very small pieces of wood, it is extremely difficult to catch the spark from the knife and flint, and start a fire going.

This is where the magnesium comes into play. There is also an additional trick Chris showed us that further guaranteed a Fire. Chris shaved off strips of wood with his knife, to create a small pile of very, very dry kindling. By adding some dry grasses and shaving some of the extremely flammable Magnesium into this pile, he struck his knife against the Flint, produced a spark, that almost immediately caught this flammable pile of wood and magnesium ablaze.

It was an excellent example of not only fire building, but it was a great lesson on just how easy or hard it can be to do so, even with the right equipment.

We Thank Chris for his expertise and tips & tricks at Fire starting. A number of the Hikers this day, had the opportunity to build and start their own fires. It is one thing to listen to good advice and see these tips used to start an actual fire. But it another thing to do this for yourself.

The Magnesium/Flint bars are available at every Outdoors store and Campers supply. A good knife is something every Hiker, Birder, Backpacker, Kayaker and Mushroom hunter should have on them at all times. All Hunters know this very well. There are just so many uses for a good knife while out in the woods. A good knife is worth the good money you will pay for it. Like good Hiking Boots, you should not scrimp on this purchase for your outdoor needs.

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