Sep 11, 2011 at 4:41 am #1279198
I currently use long matches to light my alcohol stove (Traildesigns Caldera Cone stove)(with a lighter as backup). The matches avoid me getting burnt but are susceptible to the wind and I've had the lighter struggle also in the wind and sometimes when its cold.
This has made me consider a firesteel as a more reliable way to light my stove. It looks like there are the light my fire ones and the nanostriker to consider.
What do you use to start fires/light stoves and why? What firesteels can you recommend?Sep 11, 2011 at 5:12 am #1778360
@slvravnLocale: East Coast - Mid Atlantic
For esbit, alcohol and wood I have used a mini bic. They weigh in at 11 grams per lighter and are very reliable. I either keep a second one as a backup or a pack of matches. If you are looking at a stiker the nanostriker is very light and I think there is a thread on here about it as well as a review by Jason Klass on his site.Sep 11, 2011 at 6:58 am #1778377
@dblcoronaLocale: Southeast MI
If I'm using a canister stove, I have no problem using a mini bic, but I don't like to use it on an alky stove. So I just pull out my flint and steel for them. I usually have both with me. I've gotten bit a few times trying to light it with the bic. Especially during daylight.Sep 11, 2011 at 7:23 am #1778383
@rcarverLocale: Southeast TN
A simple bic lighter.Sep 11, 2011 at 7:35 am #1778391
@aaronmbLocale: Central Valley California
I carry a ferro rod/striker in my first aid kit but use a mini Bic to lite most things when I can help it. Trail Design's 12-10 stove is no trouble if I put a few drop of alcohol on the top rim and simply lite that.
I've been successful using the name brand strikers and the inexpensive $2 magnesium/striker combos from Harbor Freight (heavier).
If you like the lighter but use matches for the reach, you could just try a stick.Sep 11, 2011 at 8:11 am #1778403
– -K.T.- –Participant
If you like matches. The UCO/REI Storm matches can't be beat. They do not blow out.
I like a Bic first, matches then my flint and steel.Sep 11, 2011 at 8:24 am #1778406
I use a mini bic. Fits perfect into my cat can stove. I dip the end my my ti spork into the alcohol and ignite the spork to light the stove.Sep 11, 2011 at 8:38 am #1778409
I use a really small ferro rod/striker. Gets the alc stove going without the risk of burning my hands.Sep 11, 2011 at 9:36 am #1778424
Light My Fire Firesteel Mini, 0.6 oz
I use it for all fire lighting: alcohol, canister, wood, and open fires. With gas and alcohol, I like that my hand can be farther away from the flame than with a Bic.Sep 11, 2011 at 9:41 am #1778426
@rayestrellaLocale: Northern Minnesota
While I always carry a fire steel (and sometimes use it) I usually light mine with a mini Bic lighter. If there is a small twig near me I may light it first to be able to stick it right down into the 12-10 stove.Sep 11, 2011 at 11:38 am #1778471
Chad “Stick” PoindexterParticipant
@stickLocale: Wet & Humid Southeast....
For my alcohol stoves I use my Light My Fire Scout Model fire steel. I prefer it over other methods. Just have to be careful and pull back on the rod rather than swipe down with the striker so that the stove with fuel doesn't get knocked over.
The only canister stove I have left is a Jetboil and the piezo igniter usually works (surprisingly) but I carry a Mini Bic to use for back-up. For Esbit I would rather use a mini Bic as well.Sep 11, 2011 at 4:07 pm #1778540
if you use mini bic, it helps to hold it so that you do the striking with the index finger instead of thumb, and orient it so that the upward flame doesnt burn you.
also can light a small stick, piece of grass, etc and use to touch off the alcohol.
on some stoves a dribble on side of stove, etc makes it easier to light without singing the hair from you knucklesSep 11, 2011 at 4:14 pm #1778543
Some alcohol stoves are a bit tricky to light with a Bic (the 10-20 is one) particularly when it is around or below freezing.
For that I use a fire steel . If that does not work I pull out a bit of cotton impregnated with Vaseline and light that.
this is a video on how I "optimaise" the fuel usage with the 10-20 and the White Box stove;
optimising fuel usageSep 11, 2011 at 5:48 pm #1778577
I take a twig and dip it in the alcohol, light it with my Bic, then I have a long match to light my stove.Sep 11, 2011 at 9:50 pm #1778640
The twig method mentioned a few times in this thread is my go-to method. You can grab pretty much any long piece of debris off the forest floor and use it but dipping it in the alcohol and then lighting it. It's important to have the cone in place when you do this so that the wind doesn't blow it out.
Using any sort of a striker to light an alcohol stove isn't a great method IMO. Besides the risk of knocking over the stove, it just doesn't work very well as the temperatures get colder. It's easy at 70F, but once you get down to 40F or so then you need a really good shower of sparks to get it started. Once you're below 30F it pretty much isn't happening….even using a lighter can be hard.
In really cold conditions, you often need to pour a bit of alcohol on the stove and light it externally to heat up the stove and then it'll go. In winter, the best stoves are ones that are filled with a wicking material (ie. Zelph Starlyte) as that makes them quite a bit easier to light.
In summary, I do:
Twig Dipped in Alcohol – 60%
Mini Bic sparked with my index finger – 40%
Firesteel Mini – Just as backup, along with an extra mini Bic
On a slightly different topic, I dropped my mini bic into the alcohol stove on a recent trip. Then rendered in unusable for about 30 min until the alcohol evaporated off. I was glad to have a spare to use in the mean time.Sep 11, 2011 at 10:38 pm #1778650
Using a pine needle is a variant of the twig method, and works well with longer pine needles. In the daytime, I use a second (unlit) pine needle to confirm that the alcohol is actually burning.Sep 12, 2011 at 1:43 am #1778665
Thanks everyone. There doesn't seem to be a huge amount of support for firesteels being any better so I guess I'll stick to the lighter and matches.Sep 12, 2011 at 5:23 am #1778681
@jacko1956Locale: Shelley Western Australia
Not sure of their name but my son has bought me a couple of bic type lighters that have a nozzle and a mini "blow torch" sort of flame. (Don't have one handy but will track down over next day or so. It is a bit heavier than a standard bic but has a wicked little jet that easily starts our stoves and is also useful for firelighting etc as it enables you to light from the side and keep fingers etc out of the way.Sep 12, 2011 at 7:33 am #1778715
@aaronmbLocale: Central Valley California
""Thanks everyone. There doesn't seem to be a huge amount of support for firesteels being any better so I guess I'll stick to the lighter and matches.""
If your current method isn't working the best for you, don't let us stop you from trying something different. The LMF rods throw good sparks and is good for the first aid kit, if you need a little justification. If you've a Harbor Freight in your area, you could pick up one of their cheapies and try that to see how you might like the concept.Sep 12, 2011 at 10:45 am #1778792
@ewolinLocale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
Guess I'm in the minority, I always use a firesteel to light my alcohol stove, although not often below 45 degrees. Probably will use it for my canister as well, at least the ones without a piezo-electric starter.Sep 12, 2011 at 11:07 am #1778798
@dipinkLocale: Western Washington
I don't like getting burnt by my alcohol stove either, so I keep a few birthday candles in my kit. Light the candle, then use the candle to light the alcohol stove. Also serves double duty as firestarter if need be.Sep 12, 2011 at 11:13 am #1778805
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
I use a Mini Bic for general purpose fire starting with a mini Firesteel as emergency backup.Sep 12, 2011 at 1:52 pm #1778874
I agree with the ferro rod/firesteel method. I often use a mini-bic, but in winter especially, I find it difficult to light many stoves with it, especially ones with deep "wells". I've many a burnt thumb from trying.
Pretty much never a bad idea to rely on a firesteel, although I always carry both. Redundant? Yep.Sep 12, 2011 at 10:05 pm #1779041
@theronrLocale: Los Angeles, California
I use matches. Below freezing you can drop the lit match, stick first, into the fuel reservoir and it acts like a wick to warm and then ignite the fuel.
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