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Firesteel Tube Ranger fire starter.

June 22, 2013

Another one for the tested gear listing, today I’m discussing a top drawer item for your BOB or to actually carry on your person, if you’re so inclined. The “FireSteel Tube Ranger”

They no longer seem to sell these through Amazon, where I discovered this unit, used it and ‘approved it’ for my personal gear and had a link to it on my Surviving Urban Crisis website. But, not one to hold grudges (much) I’m listing the apparent manufacturer’s website to get the item, because I insist that my readers have access to the best gear I’ve personally used, no matter where the source.

I had intended to go into a long description of this handy item and attempt to verbally communicate to you how it works, what it looks like and so forth, but there is a handy video on ‘YouTube’ for the Ranger FireSteel Tube which will certainly beat my typing! The video covers the main features such as the tough aluminum storage tube / handle, the compass and so forth. The man left out a key benefit of having the striking rod stored inside a water tight tube, the most important of which is that the tube prevents certain solvents or corrosion causing chemistry from damaging the crucial part of the system, that sparking rod. Yes, it will dissolve away or corrode from the same metal damaging elements that damage common iron, since the ferrocerium rod is composed of about 20% iron. Another advantage to the tube handle is one can store a small amount of your favorite spark catching – tinder igniting material such as a petroleum jelly soaked cotton ball. (100% cotton is a must.) I find I can only get one soaked cotton ball inside the tube and it must be ‘strung out’ so that it fits with the rod and not get all packed down at the far end of the tube, where it becomes a real hassle to get out when you need it! I go with the trend of hanging the Ranger around my neck with the paracord lanyard, to keep it at hand for instant use and to keep track of this vital bit of gear. If I should need to use the paracord for some project, we will have to be extra sure to not lose the striker and tube, especially, and to be concerned where the striker steel is as well. But, if it comes to it, the backside of a good fixed blade or locking blade knife will strike as good a spark off the rod. DON’T use the sharp edge of the knife on the rod……damages the rod and the knife, and perhaps a finger as well. Just like when using the normal striker, keep the blade perpendicular to the ferro rod, like so:

firesteel-tube-fire

Ending here, I’ll drop a couple tips on ‘odd’ items one can use for fire starting materials.

English: Steel wool Nederlands: Staalwol

English: Steel wool Nederlands: Staalwol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fine steel wool works with this spark maker very well and you can ignite fine steel wool with a 9 volt battery or your cell phone battery. Take it out of your phone and find the end with the tiny brass contacts….shove this into the small bit of fluffed out steel wool momentarily, just long enough to start the action, then quickly tend to getting the tinder going. Steel wool burns pretty quickly, so have it in place in the tinder pile and be ready to move quickly to get the fire going.

The next ‘odd’ item that one can use to start a campfire is hand sanitizer. Yes, the high alcohol content of the popular brands works well with matches or a sparker to get a campfire lit. If you’re shopping for the hand sanitizer, compare brands and get the highest alcohol content on the shelf. The type of alcohol used in most hand sanitizers, including Purell and Germ-X is ethyl alcohol. Ethyl alcohol is the active ingredient in most hand sanitizers. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) recommends a concentration of 60% to 95% alcohol in your hand sanitizing product. It’s the best for saving water while sanitizing your hands in a survival situation and the best for starting your campfires. Just squirt a bit into your tinder pile and spark it. Be aware that this stuff burns with an almost invisible flame during daylight hours, so don’t stick your finger in it to see if it’s lit!

English: A campfire Nederlands: Een kampvuur F...

English: A campfire Nederlands: Een kampvuur Français : Un feu de camp (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Practice these skills as often as possible and in bad weather conditions especially, so that you actually can make a life saving campfire when you would really need it.  Plan ahead, gather up some tinder and fire starting materials to keep in your Bug Out Bag in a waterproof bag. Learn to find dry (or the driest possible) firewood out in the boonies, such as pulling down dead branches and twigs from trees, instead of the stuff lying on the ground which could be considerably soggy from lying against the damp ground for a long time. That task is helped by my paint roller extension handle ‘hiking stick’ with the hook lashed to the end. You can get branches that would be way out of your reach without that. If you want a real hiking stick instead of the somewhat fragile extension handle, then by all means lash a hook to that!

Be prepared. Survive.

 

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From → Tested Gear

One Comment
  1. Great article, just what I was looking for.

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