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Bushcraft & Primitive Wilderness Skills The Bushcraft & Primitive Wilderness Skills forum is for discussion (on-site content) that directly relates to ancient and/or primitive style bushcraft/wilderness skills (e.g. firecraft, foraging, natural material construction, modern/primitive tools, long-term wilderness survival,...).


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  #1  
Old 01-16-2012, 01:25 AM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Do you use char cloth?

Do you ever use (not simply carry) char cloth? If so, please share. [Also, feel free to share any alternative that you believe is better, but please share why you believe it's better.]

Reality
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  #2  
Old 01-16-2012, 01:43 AM
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garethw garethw is offline
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Hi there
I carry cotton wool balls with vaseline as my tinder. This gets the fire going straight away, with a spark, lighter, match whatever.... To my mind this is a superior tinder to char cloth, even if it does have an accelerant on it.

My reasoning is that, when I want a fire in sometimes difficult, damp conditions I want it to be as easy as possible to get going. After a days hiking, fishing or whatever, I want a fire going and some food cooking....

I appreciate the skills needed to use char cloth with flint and steel, but with more efficient alternatives I can't see why one would want to use it unless just for the sake of it.

Bit like knowing how to make a friction fire... great skill to have, but not one you'd cjhoose to use if you had a faster alternative.
Voilà...
cheers
Gareth

Last edited by garethw : 01-16-2012 at 01:48 AM.
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  #3  
Old 01-16-2012, 04:29 AM
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Simo Simo is offline
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I bring with me some piece of white firelighter - diavolina - , easier, faster and light enough.. why waste time when sun is going down?
Is the same reasoning i do with tents and cooking gear: faster to set, better to have..

Last edited by Simo : 01-16-2012 at 04:31 AM.
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Old 01-22-2012, 02:11 PM
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atraildreamer atraildreamer is offline
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I'm going to make some wax coated strike anywhere matches. I just found out that the local Ace Hardware has the matches in stock. I used to use them in the Boy Scouts. Great way to get the tinder going!
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  #5  
Old 01-22-2012, 05:35 PM
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Ralph Ralph is offline
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I paint my strike-anywhere matches with clear nail polish. Works well. Cut a strip of corrugated cardboard and fold in a "V" so it can stand. Push the matches into the corrugations and paint away.

I have a Marbles matchsafe I packed with these over 50 years ago. These were for an emergency that never, as it turned out, happened. I took one out recently, soaked it in water and struck it. The flare was quite impressive, so I can safely say that the nail polish will work indefinitely.

For storage of whole boxes, use wax. Wrap the box bottom in aluminum foil. Melt the wax, slowly pour a thin layer, add matches, pour another layer and so forth until the box is full. Best way to store matches in a cache or cabin. Stick in a metal can to discourage rodents. (We used to use coffee cans when they had metal lids and opened with a key.)
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  #6  
Old 01-22-2012, 05:50 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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For those who do use char cloth, there are several (perhaps less typical) cotton options to try for good results: Monk's cloth, 100% cotton yarn, 100% cotton cord (e.g. clothesline), or an unraveled cotton tampon (for which I've dubbed the finished product to be a "charpon").

I'm not prepared to call char cloth a gimmick, since it (charcoal,...) has proven to be quite resourceful. However, I am more inclined to opt for "tinder" that can be readily found in nature and ignites into flames with a spark (or at least a reliable homemade option that does the same).

The irony of char cloth is that it requires fire (heat) to actually make it -- and that char cloth is what is to be subsequently used to help start a fire.

Reality
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  #7  
Old 01-22-2012, 07:05 PM
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GWyble GWyble is offline
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I think char cloth is just a method that is past its prime. In boy scouts the method is taught and discussed but I can't say I have seen it put into practice. The problem is that this method requires advance preparation and if you prepare in advance there are probably better options.

I always carry a lighter so take my comments for what they are worth.
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  #8  
Old 01-22-2012, 07:23 PM
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Kylemeister Kylemeister is offline
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Vaseline-soaked cotton balls or some other ready-made tinder is always part of my kit. I prefer the cotton balls to char cloth simply because of ease of use & increased burn time.
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  #9  
Old 01-22-2012, 08:18 PM
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Bushwalker Bushwalker is offline
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I never carry charred cloth with me when backpacking ~ however, I do sometimes use it for kick-starting bee smokers; and have also used some for starting fires when "burning off" in some places in the past, (backyard fires are now banned around here, apart from barbecues..).

This particular "char' cloth" has been produced by burning old hessian chaff bags as bee smoker fuel at times, (though I prefer pine needles for this purpose ~ cooler and cleaner smoke, calmer bees, and the smoker is left cleaner..).

For backpacking, my personal preference would be for the "cottonballs and vaseline..", as favoured by some others here.
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  #10  
Old 01-23-2012, 08:45 AM
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Simo Simo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushwalker

For backpacking, my personal preference would be for the "cottonballs and vaseline..", as favoured by some others here.

Mm... You are at least the second person that I hear saying this... i must try!
Any suggestions? I never used vaseline, I would like to avoid setting fire to my trousers, my tent and ....hands!

"the reason is that I've never seen or touched vaseline..."

Last edited by Simo : 01-23-2012 at 08:51 AM.
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