Wet fire

Discussion in 'Survival Gear Reviews' started by Hanzo, Oct 21, 2013.

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  1. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey

    Today, I tried wet fire for the first (and possibly last) time. Don't get me wrong, as an emergency fire starter, it would be fine. I prefer cotton balls with Vaseline and fatwood.

    After teaching my tai chi class, I took a little break to go outside and play. ;) my intent was to test the wet fire cubes and try and boil water for something to drink. I tried to invite Bear, but think he was busy. Good thing too. I thought I had some miso soup that I was going to share. Turns out I only had one satchel of got chocolate and one of coffee.

    Anyway, got to my spot. Here's the view on this overcast day.


    My grab and go car kit. I don't usually have a casualty blanket and shemagh attached to the straps. Wanted to see how it felt attached that way. Was gonna bring them regardless since I figured the ground would be wet. Not a comfortable carry.


    My EDC (not including my phone, wallet and kets)


    Items in one side pocket.


    Items in the other side pocket


    E&E match case contents


    Stuff in main compartment (I forgot to stick the canteen in the picture)


    Wet fire burns for 3-4 minutes it seems and two, one after the other just got tiny bubbles and no boil. But it was just hot enough for a hot drink. Big flame but average performance.




    About 8 oz of water. Made hot chocolate, but didn't take a picture because I didn't want it to get cold before I drank it.


    The residue


    Beat up and trusty old hat


    Cleaned up, packed up, ready to go. Left no trace.

    Brokor, Yard Dart and kellory like this.
  2. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey

    I actually prefer a gamcha to the shemagh. A gamcha is the Indian cotton bath towel. I think it is a little wider and 3-4 times longer than a shemagh, but folds down to about a quarter of the size. I brought the shemagh because I thought I lost it and it turned up. So she(magh) was meant to come with me. The canteen kit would usually have a garbage bag instead of the casualty blanket, but I swapped that out too since I was expecting mud. Happy to go on high ground and only have damp.
  3. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool.

    Hanzo likes this.
  4. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey

    @kellory, I tried something like that a few years ago and wasn't overly impressed. I think I still have a small batch left. When I have time, I will dig it up, dump some in an altoids tin, and try to boil water with it. I remember thinking that cotton balls with Vaseline and fatwood were better. I think that stuff was expensive too.
  5. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool.

    As a starter fuel, it seemed pretty good. easy to light, hard to blow out, would burn wet or dry, and seemed to last well. Never found a local place to buy it.
  6. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey

    If I recall, the manufacturer (it was pretty new at the time) sent me a small sample to test. After trying it, I just couldn't justify the price for me. I really love fatwood. Use it all the time when it is wet, which is quite a bit since we are primarily tropical rain forest type environment. And I really love paper bark. Those are my two favorites of all time. Add in the man-made Vaseline cotton balls for super fast and easy starting and I think you are good to go in most any situation except underwater. Cost is practically nothing. Even without the cotton, both paper bark and fatwood light with a spark. And paper bark makes an awesome tinder bundle for embers too. Oh, and free. I grab some whenever I see it.
  7. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool.

    Does paper bark have another name? Don't have anything by that name here (that I know of) and I will need to figure out where to get fat wood. I prepare my own fire starters, and seldom ever need to search for something to use. I tend to over prepare, and carry more than I will likely need.
  8. Mechwolf

    Mechwolf Monkey

    the wet fire works best if you crumble it up. It is supposed to help light a fire not be the fire. I have used it to start a fire in damp conditions. But like others have said fat wood seems to work just fine as well.
    Brokor and Hanzo like this.
  9. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey

    Paperbark, Melaleuca quinquenervia

    I've seen fatwood from companies like LL Bean, I think. You can also find it in downed pine stumps. It will feel hard and sticky and you can smell the turpentine smell. And while you're at it, grab some pine resin too. Fatwood and pine resin is nature's kerosine and goes up like nobody's business. And it smells nice when it burns. And if you toss fatwood in a fire a night, you'll notice it will be brighter and more yellow. That's why you can use it as a candle too.
  10. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey

    That was my understanding too. But wanted to see if it would boil up a cup of water. It was just a test. Fatwood is the same. Use to start a fire.

    I see no difference between wet fire, Esbit tabs, the ones from Coleman, etc. Other than the individual wrapping for wet fire. I think an equal volume of Vaseline soaked cotton balls will start more fires than wet fire and at a fraction of the price. But they are supposed to be really good, so I wanted to test it.

    Now I have tourniquets and combat gauze, but have no intention of ever testing those items.

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