EDC: Lighter

Make fire to cook, light in the darkness, heat in the cold you just must have fire. While I have previously discussed the heated lawnmower blades as a fire lighter, for many they are not easy to use, especially when so many simple alternatives are available. Certainly the pair of iron strikers will last much longer off grid, often fire is needed fast and easy not eventually. Lets look at some commonly available cigarette lighters and their features, pros and cons.

Typical low pressure disposable plastic lighter

Typical low pressure disposable plastic lighter

Disposable plastic type lighter.

Fuel : pressurized butane

Refillable: usually no, sometimes yes check for valve.

Fuel life span: depends on use

Ignition system: usually striker wheel and flint, sometimes piezoelectric

Ignition life span: striker wheel good, piezos can often fail

Material: Mostly plastic

Weight:  low

Cost: low $1-2

Main advantage: cheap readily available.

Main disadvantage: not refillable usually

Typical high pressure piezoelectric butane lighter. Some have an LED light as a optional feature.

Typical high pressure piezoelectric butane lighter. Some have an LED light as a optional feature.

High pressure butane type lighter

Fuel: butane at high pressure

Refillable: Sometimes

Fuel life span: Fuel often will leak, 2 weeks at most.

Ignition system: piezoelectric.

Ignition life span: often fails before fuel is gone.

Material: plastic.

Weight: low.

Cost: medium, often gimmick factor in price.

Main advantage: very hot flame, good in windy conditions.

Main disadvantage: very unreliable.

Typical Zippo type lighter. Iconic.

Typical Zippo type lighter. Iconic.

Zippo type lighter

Fuel:  volatile liquid hydrocarbons

Refillable: yes

Fuel life span: 2-3 weeks depending on fuel, temperature, and use.

Ignition system: striker wheel and flint

Ignition life span: long 3- 6 months between replacing flints

Material: metal, brass  is common

Weight: heavy

Cost: high $30- 50 depending on brand and quality

Main advantages: very robust, big flame, very simple design.

Main disadvantages: heavy, difficult to replace flints, fuel will evaporate quickly.

Typical Imco type lighter. One of the better options.

Typical Imco type lighter. One of the better options.

Imco Triplex type lighter

Fuel:  volatile liquid hydrocarbons

Refillable: yes

Fuel life span: long

Ignition system: striker wheel and flint

Ignition life span: medium, uses flints fast.

Material: metal

Weight: medium, not much heavier than plastic lighters

Cost: medium, $20

Main advantage:  small and easy to maintain, quite reliable creates large spark, long fuel life

Main disadvantage: uses flints fast, seem complex at first, lots of sliding parts and a spring.

Conclusions:

If you already have a Zippo type or Imco type lighter, keep it. If you can justify $20 or more for a lighter, get one of those two, if not, two or three low pressure lighters. Avoid the high pressure lighters, their special feature is seldom needed and they fail often. If you are deciding on a liquid hydrocarbon fueled lighter remember to have fuel and periodically check the fuel levels.

Paint can rocketstove: field test

Rocket stove made from a paint can and 3 smaller 300 gram food cans. Small rocks used to create gap between pot and stove

Rocket stove made from a paint can and 3 smaller 300 gram food cans. Small rocks used to create gap between pot and stove

This rocket stove was was constructed out of a 5 Liter ( 1.32 US  gallons ) paint can and 3  x 300gram  ( 10 ounce) food cans. The grey paint was not fully removed from the can and some is still visible. I would recommend that if a paint can was used the paint is completely removed with an appropriate solvent, turpentine or water depending on the type of paint base. If a solvent is not available the can can be heated in an open fire to burn out the remaining paint.

Boil time for 1 liter of water approximately 10 minutes.

dry wood ash was used as insulation.

Some small rocks were use to create the pot stand.

The paint can handle was left on to create an easy way to move the stove.

Addition of the fuel shelf helped the stove produce better air flow an prevents over filling with wood fuel, the shelf was held securely in place with a small rock.

close up of paint can rocket stove fuel shelf. Small rock holding shelf in place, some holes in shelf for better air flow.

close up of paint can rocket stove fuel shelf. Small rock holding shelf in place, some holes in shelf for better air flow.

Soil stove

If found this looking through old documents.

A stove made from a mix of sand, soil sand an dung slowly piled up in the corner of a house. I think anthill sand is coarse sand, soil being loamy soil, and dung having fibre binder like mud daub houses.

All natural products, no metal or money required. Get primative but use your head, this likely to  work only in hotter/ drier regions. Uses less fuel and produces less smoke.

3 week construction time.

A stove for free made from soil, sand and some cattle dung with straight stem branches for moulds.

Scram bag : Potasuim permanganate ( KMnO4 )

Potassium permanganate crystals.

A very useful substance.

Also called Condy’s crystals and Permanganate of potash.

Can be used to:

Light fires.

Add to a flammable substance that is a liquid, glycerine, oil,fat, a little water will help the fire start.

Sterilize water.

3 crystals per liter of water will sterilize the water.

Disinfectant for some skin infections.

A stronger solution will make a solution that will attack fungal and bacterial infections.

Keep in a well sealed container

Keep away from eyes

If contact is made with skin wash it off with water, brown stains (MnO2) on the skin are common, but will disappear in a few days without further incident.

can be purchased from pharmacies and often found in survival kits.

Rocketstove: Making one from metal Olive oil container

For the last few months I have have comments turned off. There was a lot to say and I didn’t want distraction. But don’t think that meant I wasn’t listening to you. I pay attention to what people read and what search terms lead them here.

Rocket stoves have been a popular search item so its time to give you even more information.

I’m going to make one. I’m starting with a 13kg Olive oil can and I’ll have photos for all the relevant steps and a boil time test.

13 Kg olive oil can.  31 pounds in weight

The starting material a large Olive oil can. restaurants and other food businesses throw these away quite regularly, so that’s a good place to start looking if you don’t usually buy oil in this size container.

It’s convenient that there is a large round hole in the center of the top so I wont need to cut one there. Somewhere in the purple band is where I will cut a hole for the pipe which will be the elbow bend pipe.

There is a small handle on the front which i will probably keep as it will be useful for carrying the stove if I need to move it. i think the handle will be better at the front rather than the back as it will stop the ashes falling out for the bottom of the elbow.

 

The next step will be using sand paper to remove the paint from the can. If the paint is left on the can, it will burn and produce unpleasant and possibly toxic fumes.

 

<more to come>

Scrambag: folding pruning saw

Apart from the obvious intended use of pruning trees, the compact folding pruning saw allows you to collect small branches easily.

A saw is safer to use that a axe or heavy knife in cutting wood. One of the most common sources of dry wood in a forest is dead-fall.

Dead-fall is dead or broken branches fallen to the ground, and are often very dry and difficult to cut will axes as the will act like a spring when hit.

Sometimes dead-fall is a branch upside down and very dry, because of this it makes excellent fire wood or construction material.

The saw can elegantly cut of the exact pieces you want and even help you create items form the wood with precise cut lengths and flat ends of wood.

The saw is also very light compared to a small axe and very small, about the size of a small axe handle.

Folding pruning saw, compact and allows straight cuts in wood with little effort.

 

Price about $10 for average quality.

Available from hardware stores and gardening supply stores.

Fire: Swedish fire torch

This is a really neat technique of conserving wood and getting a fire going fast and making a stable cooking platform. You will need an axe and a saw to shape the wood block, but it looks worth it.

I just had another thought, all the things are familiar but arranged in a different way and its suddenly so much better, what a concept.