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Old 01-13-2010, 06:49 PM
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Default survival fire

Last Sunday, Coyote Girl took my wife (Tall Chick) up to the hill for some educational riding. (huge thanks to CG for that!) I'm recovering from arm surgery, so I couldn't take her, and Modsledr is waiting for repair parts for his sled, so he couldn't go either. So, after we all met for breakfast, and the ladies took off, Modsledr and I were sitting around with nothing to do. This is usually a recipe for disaster: two dudes sitting around with nothing to do. So.... we decided to do what most red-blooded men would do: We decided we should light something on fire!

So, we took the top off of a pop can, and filled it with regular gasoline (I'd estimate 11 Fluid ounces) and lit it. We took guesses ahead of time to see how long it would burn. I think we both guessed 15-20 min, tops.

We were both shocked when it burned for 2 1/2 hours!

Now, why you might ask, would two somewhat normal dudes want to waste 11 ounces of gasoline? Well, it kinda started with the 'could you survive a night with what you bring with you...' talk. We are always chatting about something, since we both enjoy thought provoking discussions.

A few weeks ago, Modsledr was out riding with a couple others, and his sled broke or something (I forget exactly what happened), but not wanting to ruin the others' day, he sent them off to go play for a while. So, he decided to pretend he was stranded, and see if he could get a fire going with what he had. He was able to get under a large tree, and dig down to dirt. After 30 min of gathering small twigs, he had ~2'x2'x1' pile. then he set out to find actual 'wood' that would burn. What he discovered, was every twig he could find, was not just wet, but totally waterlogged. And, there was no 'wood' to be found (that wasn't still growing). Now in a survival situation, I'm not going to hesitate to chop down a growing tree, but it's still green wood, and you need HEAT, to get that started, and frankly, lots of it. Little campfire starter packets, or a magnesium and flint don't make enough heat to actually get wet or green wood to get going. A couple of 15 min road flares do make a pretty good amount of heat, I've carried 2 in a vacuum pack since I started sledding, for just that reason. But it's an interesting eye opener when a resourceful guy like Modsledr tells me that he didn't think he had enough on him to be able to build and sustain a decent heat source overnight. We got to thinking about that little gas-in-a-can idea as a potential way to get a fire started, but when it burned for so long, it's a very real possibility that could be the answer. The aluminum distorted a little bit, but not totally, but we got to thinking that say, a chili can, or soup can that was about the same size, that was empty and washed, could be better. In our pack, we could stuff things inside it, maybe that spare pair of sox or snack bars, so it doesn't take up any extra space, and can be a great tool. 3-4 of those, and you have made it through the night, and all you need is a lighter. It put off enough heat to keep you from freezing (yes, you'll still likely be cold), and emotionally, it keeps your spirits up (likely even more important).

It's a big condition, but the only condition is that you still have a quart or two of fuel left in your sled, and a way to get it out. But, there are lots of solutions for that.

Anyway, I thought I'd share our little idea, and maybe it can keep us all thinking more about how to be best prepared.

PE
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Old 01-13-2010, 10:35 PM
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why that might be a good idea but when things go wrong the tend to go really wrong. I'm not sure fire gasoline and a can would be a good survival tool. I could see it something happening and lying there freezing in shock and in need of a intensive care burn unit. I would just torch the green tree
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Old 01-13-2010, 11:23 PM
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Adrenaline Junky:

Yes, I agree with you, when things go wrong, they tend to go really wrong. One of the things Modsledr and thought about was potential injury. If you're hurt, you may not be able to trot around too easily to collect wood for such a fire.

The method I described takes very little effort, very little strength, and gave off a surprising amount of warmth.

But, it is a can, full of gasoline, and one must BE CAREFUL not to kick it over. if you can find a few rocks to set around it, all the better.

PE
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Old 01-14-2010, 12:21 AM
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agreed it would be a way to keep warm just wanted everyone to understand the potential for disaster.
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Old 01-14-2010, 10:43 AM
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I have been starting fires like that for years with no problem, the only way to go in my book. I only use about 3 oz of fuel though and also put the can as far down as possible then arrange wood or rocks to set the fire wood on so it does not hit the can. I have to admit it freaks some peeps out but it sure works well...
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Old 02-28-2010, 09:10 AM
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SO basically you take an aluminum can- pop or beer, cut the top off and fill'er up?


I've been using old DH Mtn bike tire tubes as fire starter. IT sure stinks when it gets going BUT rubber doesn't absorb water and starts everytime.
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Old 02-28-2010, 01:01 PM
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I pack road flares... they burn at 3000F for 15 minutes. If you can't start a fire with that... you probably shouldn't be sledding.
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Old 02-28-2010, 07:51 PM
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I pack among other things cotton balls impregnated with vaseline.
They have never failed to loght with a magnesium fire starter or any other means I have used.
also a couple space blankets some tinfoil chicken and beef bullion and tang as well.
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Old 03-23-2010, 07:22 AM
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I get my magnesium sticks from Army Surplus. Just old MRE firesticks, but they'll burn underwater and start anything you want on fire.
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Old 03-23-2010, 07:27 AM
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Gas in a can...gotta try that at home. I woulda thought it would explode?Thanks for the post Polar.
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