Wet Fire Sparks Up A Conversation
In my last Newsletter, you may remember that I reviewed the Strike Master Fire starter and it did pretty well.
A nice solid fire starter that you will get a lot of sparks out of.
But the funny thing about that article is that the most questions I received were not about the fire starter but about that little chunk of white stuff that caught on fire.
A lot of you wanted to know what that was.
Well silly me, I forgot to point that out.
It is another sample that I got from the expo, it is a little thing called Wet Fire.
Check out the video below that shows a bit more of me using it:
This single cube burns for quite a long time and doesn’t take much to start a good hot fire. However, it does seem to have some kind of coating on it that keeps it from initially lighting with just a spark.
You’ll notice in the video that one side of the cube is already charred, it took me about 10 strikes before the fuel tab caught a flame (on every one that I used), but once it caught the first time it would catch on a single strike every time after that.
It cools nearly instantly, I was able to blow the flame out and within seconds I picked it up and put it in my pocket. (I don’t recommend that you try this though.)
It is small, lightweight and comes packed in a mylar bag to protect it from damage… kind of.
The cube is very brittle, and breaks quite easily, which is a good thing if you only need a small bit at a time to get a fire going. If however the wood you want to burn is rather wet, you will want the whole cube to concentrated the flame and keep it going long enough to catch your tinder. This can be a real problem if the cube has been crushed and it begins to blow away in the wind.
It has a very particular smell (much like lighter fluid) that sticks to your hands for hours.
The Bottom Line:
A good “all weather” alternative to carrying dryer lint or petroleum soaked cotton balls around. Although a little more expensive that I think they should be. You can pick these up at just about any sports and outdoors store, Wal-Mart, or amazon. It’ is a pretty good item to keep on hand, and can definitely be a big help if you are trying to start a fire in small spaces (like a rocket stove).
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May 20, 2013 at 10:52 AM
As an avid outdoorsman I always laugh at all these preps to start fires. Yes, I know about a hundred way to start a fire if needed outdoors or indoors for that fact. With that said let me clue your website in. Little Zippo disposable lighters are constructed to light one thousand times. That is almost three years of striking/starting one fire per day. In every survival bag/back pack I always carry two both retained in their cut down protective packaging. I also carry a can of lighter fluid on me or near by. My back up fire starting device is a small magnifying lens. A large bladed knife or small camping axe [both extremely sharp and excellent quaility] is also always with me when afield. And for collecting and transporting large quantities of firewood I use a spare two inch leather belt. Works for me….and so far everytime. I purchased 24 butane lighters years ago for less than ten dollars that will let me start 24,000 fires [or more]. After twenty years I still have 22 left.
Average Joe ... from Buffalo
May 20, 2013 at 8:54 PM
If you’re gonna carry all that stuff around. How about a piece of steel wool and a 9-volt battery. The battery can be used for a radio, flashlight or other device and steel wool … well, use your imagination.
May 20, 2013 at 9:20 PM
Where can I buy some of these wet fire starters
May 21, 2013 at 5:04 PM
ebay..that is where I got mine… 🙂
May 20, 2013 at 9:50 PM
When it comes to fire, man, the more methods you carry the less chance you’ll have no fire. I’m a big believer in carrying items that do multiple tasks, except when it comes to fire. Striker, zippo, magnifying glass, etc.
May 21, 2013 at 12:42 AM
teaching my kids to start a fire w/ flint and steel i show them all the things that will ignite quickly the one that my daughter 11 likes best is a drop of purell hand sanitizer for longer burn time place it on a cotton ball soaked in wax it starts w/ one hot spark
May 21, 2013 at 5:52 PM
Another alternative that works REALLY well and will catch from some REALLY small sparks, is super fine steel wool. I don’t know if this is no longer taught, but 38 years ago, that was the go to method of fire starting for us as boy scouts. We would use depleted butane(Bic) lighters, that only had the sparker wheel left and it was enough to start a good fire.
You can crush up a ball of super fine steel wool REALLY small, and you just pull off a chunk and fluff it out, strip the sparks into it, and it will turn into a nest of glowing strands. Combined with some sawdust and toothpick diameter twigs, you can have good flame in SECONDS. And if you are lucky enough to have matches or a lighter that still flames, it goes even faster.
May 22, 2013 at 12:50 AM
I keep a blast-match, steel wool, a little of the fire-starter wood product in each of my ‘bags’ and autos. A little fluffed steel-wool with some shavings or even chunks of the firewood stuff, ONE strike with the blast-match and you have INSTANT fire….I do mean INSTANT. I have used this method in almost any type of situation a man should NOT find himself and have always come out a ‘champ’. I have not had to use ANY(I know many)other method to start a fire
Alvin N. Gamel
May 25, 2013 at 1:04 PM
My My Scout Troop camped at Lake Lavon one rainy day and I was asked how do we build a cooking fire in this. I sent a boy to pick up limbs floating in the water. Chopped offa 2 foot piece Split it in half, split them in half. The sharp part of the quartered limb is dry, shaved off splinters, piled them into a teepee shape, stood over them to keep them dry, struck 1 match lit them, added twigs and as they caught,larger twigs, and had a good fire going in 8 minutes. NOthing else used.
Did the same thing in 4 inches of snow.
May 27, 2013 at 6:19 PM
My experiment is only with CVS Drug Store hand sanitizer. The only reason for CVS’s brand is that they are the drug store closest to me and they sell quart-size hand sanitizer that is reasonable in price. The label says that the active ingredient is ethel alcohol 95%. The “inert” ingredients include isopropyl alcohol and other ingredients. Of course it will burn. It is just a slightly different form of Sterno which is the brand name of a jellied alcohol used for chafing dishes. Like most alcohols, the flame is almost colorless which makes it hard to see in bright light. That is a drawback as it can lead to burns. On a cotton ball, it keeps the cotton ball from burning while the hand sanitizer burns off. It takes slightly longer to light a cotton ball soaked in h.s. than it takes to light the cotton ball itself. I can blow the flame out when the h.s. itself is burning or when it is burning on a cotton ball. I would think in a strong wind it would need to be protected from the wind. I would think a C-ration fruit-can-size can would make an effective wind block to get wood started. The advantage that I see in using h.s. as a fire starter, is that it is dual purpose. Cigarette lighter fluid is an old standby for me, but it is single purpose. Where weight is significant, having multi-purpose items become an advantage. It is quicker to light than Vasolene soaked cotton balls which can also be blown out. Bottom line for me: a dual use fire starter. No clear-cut advantage over other fire starters aside from its dual use. Don’t forget to bring the matches.
May 29, 2013 at 7:04 PM
According to my research the Wet Fire is basically no good after 1 year. Even if kept in the original packaging.
May 31, 2013 at 10:29 AM
You’re right these are a little pricey. I just make a feather stick when I need to start a fire in wet conditions 🙂
June 2, 2013 at 3:02 PM
So after reading your review, I did some research and found a product that is just as good as Wetfire but way cheaper. You actually get 10 times the product for a dollar less. You check out my comparison on both products here. Wetfire vs Weber Lighter Cubes