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Backcountry Kitchen The Backcountry Kitchen forum is for the discussion of food and cooking gear related topics for backpacking trips (e.g. menus, recipes, stoves, fuel...).


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  #1  
Old 01-14-2010, 07:28 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Oregon
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Basic Wetfire Tinder Testing as Fuel Source (Boiling Water)

I decided to test Wetfire Tinder to see if it could be used as a reliable fuel source for boiling water for use in "cooking" (re-hydrating, heating) dehydrated backpacking meals.

I'll start by stating that this is not the primary purpose for this product. Wetfire Tinder is an amazing material that facilitates firestarting even in wet conditions. In fact, you can use Wetfire while it is floating in water.

It will ignite easily with a fire steel or another type of lighter. It's said to burn at about 1300 degrees Fahrenheit and can be quickly snuffed out to a cool touch.

The "trade secret" formula is said to be odorless and non-toxic. [I could easily smell it while it was burning and nearly everything has a toxicity level. That said, it's much more pleasant than the smell of Esbit - burning or not. Wetfire does not have any fishy (potentially bear attracting) odor as does Esbit.]

Materials Used

Snow Peak Titanium 600 Mug (w/ Lid)
Tibetan Titanium Solid Fuel Stove (0.5 oz)
Test Thermometer
Measuring Cup (Water)
Stopwatch
Lighter
Digital (Calibrated) Scale
Wetfire Tinder

Environment

The test was conducted indoors - elevation 200 feet above sea level. The ambient air and water temperatures were 68 deg and 70 deg. (F) respectively.

Procedure

I burned a Wetfire Tinder cube in a Tibetan Titanium Solid Fuel Stove (see attached stove photo) under 2 cups (16 oz) of water in the SP 600 mug with the lid on it until the fuel was consumed.

Goal

To determine if Wetfire Tinder will suffice as an effective replacement for other solid fuel tabs (e.g. Esbit) for use in preparing lightweight backpacking meals.

Results

Wetfire Tinder (5.7g)

Temperature Reached: 130 deg. F.
Total Cube Burn Time: 5 minutes, 38 seconds (never reached the boiling point)

[Note: It's understood that water need not reach the boiling point to kill pathogens, and that not all backpackers require extremely hot water for meal preparation. Also consider that a titanium mug rather than aluminum or stainless steel was used - so factor in the different heat conduction.]

PROS


- considerably less odor
- potentially more versatile
- no sticky residue like Esbit

CONS

- significantly blackens the mug (pot)
- considerably more expensive (as a cooking fuel source than Esbit, et al)
- one cube did not bring 2 cups of water to a boil (high temperature) in warm, controlled environment

Conclusion

A Wetfire Tinder cube can be used to heat water, but doesn't demonstrate enough efficiency to be used as a regular backpacking fuel.

It is, however, an extraordinary ultralight tinder that burns even [better] when wet. Those who carry an emergency (backup fuel) Esbit tablet may wish to consider switching over to carrying a Wetfire Tinder cube or two.

Reality
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  #2  
Old 01-16-2010, 10:53 PM
© 2006-2016 Practical Backpacking™ / All Rights Reserved
SSDD SSDD is offline
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Boise ID
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That's good to know

Now I may or may not ever use it but it is always good to know there is more options out there..
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