Tuesday, March 5, 2019

UST Fire Kit Upgrades

I mentioned in my unboxing video of the UST Fire Kit that I was going to capitalize on all the extra space in that box by adding some of my favorite fire-building bits, much of it is being cloned from my original fire bag. While I love my fire bag and everything in it, it's a whole lot of overkill. I'll keep it around in its current form for teaching and showing off, but I'm going to cherry pick from it for the waterproof box.

While I've lit probably hundreds of fires with a ferro rod and striker, and even a couple with actual flint and steel, the utility of an actual standing flame cannot be denied. The go-to for this purpose is, and will always be, the cheap, basic disposable cigarette lighter. For the sake of saving space I'm using the most compact model my local gas station offers.

In addition to the lighter, I'm putting in 15' of jute twine. While the kit comes with a pretty good tinder, the twine is still great for stringing a firebow, lashing small items, and dealing with all sorts of other unexpected issues.

I'm also adding a few things that are absent from my current bag, the first being a small knife. While it won't do anything for batoning or breaking down firewood, a small blade makes a great backup striker for your ferro rod. It's also vital for making fuzz sticks, splitting twigs into small tinder, peeling bark, and innumerable other fire-making tasks. The specific blade I'm using is a Kershaw Cinder; it's about the size of a fifty cent piece when closed, making it one of the smallest locking blade knives on the market. Despite its minute nature, the lock is solid and strong, and it offers just enough hand grip to do effective work.

I'm also adding a tube of lip balm. Most modern balms have a wax or petroleum base and will burn very aggressively. If you need a bit more burn time on your tinder, a bit of this balm will give it to you. This is very handy if your kindling is difficult to start, and it can make the difference between fire and frustration.

As I use up the included tinder, I plan to replace it with cotton makeup remover pads, which are my absolute favorite tinder.

Keeping this fire kit a bit minimalist gives me space to carry tinder and materials I gather through the day. It also allows me to add things in the future, as any plan you have should be constantly evolving and changing to keep up with circumstances.

Gear tuned to your skills and needs is the best gear.


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