When I paddle in colder weather, I always carry a towel, a change of clothes, a thermos of hot water (along with packs of hot chocolate,) and lots of fire-making stuff—including a road flare. All of this is carried in the canoe. On my PFD, I have a lighter, matches, and tinder. All this said, I experienced a bout of extreme shivering before (not related to paddling) and know that if it happened again, I wouldn’t be able to strike a match, flick a lighter, or do all the minute things required to build a fire. With that in mind, the link below showed up on my youtube feed a couple of weeks ago. It’s a pull-start instant 30-minute fire. You can get these online from Walmart or Lowes for $15 for a 3-pack. Each weighs 4 ounces and measures exactly 1"x2"x5." Mine arrived last week. I’ve not tested it yet. It won’t replace any of the things I already carry but it can’t hurt to have it along.
I lack the pyro-gene so building and maintaining fires has always been a challenge for me. If I can get one going at all, no matter how sickly, I consider it a major win. I know that there is a whole culture around fires and ever since Cub Scouts I have learned to live with the derision from my pyro-positive peers and have since ceased trying to fit in to that club.
My solo missions are pretty much sans fire experiences but I do carry a tube of Fire Ribbon for those few times when I need to burn garbage. Consequently, this has some appeal to me.
Go ahead and mock me. I’m sure you can’t come up with anything that I haven’t already heard or that I will feel is hurtful. $15 for three fires? I’m in.
That is a pretty cool product to have in an emergency type bag.
You already have a road flare. Just use that. It will light damn near anything on fire. Heck of a lot easier than messing with thin string when your hands are numbing
Depending on the situation, I might indeed use the road flare. I look at the flare as a great fire starter. The pull-start thing IS a fire. No need to search for wood in an emergency situation. Much of my winter paddling is done in a (dammed) lake that gets mostly drained during the winter. As such the closest woods can be 150 yards away. Once I get there, I’d have to hope there was downed wood even available. No such worries with the pull-start thing.
I have a hard time believing that pull start thing has anywhere near enough fuel to meaningfully warm up a person that is or near hypothermic
You very well might be right. It’s possible though that after 15 minutes I’d be warm enough to find and add wood. Maybe not. For what it costs I don’t see it as a bad idea.
One of the things I also carry is a 5-wick candle that I made from a small size cat food can and soy wax. The idea is that you can sit with it between your legs while being wrapped in a space blanket. I used soy wax so I wouldn’t be breathing petroleum-based paraffin fumes. This has been tested for chilled but not quite hypothermic and worked great. On a cold rainy day in April in Northern Pennsylvania, a friend got chilled to the point that she was just starting to shiver and was planning to ditch her boat and hitchhike back to the cars. Instead, we lit the candle and wrapped the space blanket around her. Twenty minutes later she was back in her boat and we all finished the trip.
As I said in my original post, I carry lots of fire-making stuff. If something doesn’t work, something else might. Options.
It’s good you carry backups.
People that fall into a false sense of security with stuff can put themselves in way more danger than if they had nothing as it can make you less risk adverse if you have a safety blanket.
One thing about canoes… You have room to carry all the stuff you’ll probably never use.
Yes. And you get asked to carry all the stuff that your kayaking friends will probably never use and don’t have room for in their boats.
In the Navy we utilize supply ships on long voyages. In the paddling world, that is known as a canoe…
The problem I see with this item is that it requires a certain amount of dexterity to unwrap it and untangle the strings. A person in dire need of it could be shaking too severely to do that. I suppose you could unwrap it and seal it in a baggie, though.
Yes. The thing is wrapped pretty well in a cellophane type of plastic wrapper. I don’t know yet but I’m guessing that it might take some effort to get to the inside even with perfectly normal hands. I always carry at least a Spyderco folding knife that would be easy enough to open two-handed even with stiff shaking fingers. A fixed blade might be better.
The link below is another impressive 3-ish minute video of the product. It’s frozen into a block of ice. The ice is then broken and then everything works as intended. I’m posting it here because it demonstrates that it is really sealed well and might be tough to access under adverse conditions. I would want to have a knife (but I always do anyway.)
The more you need a fire, the harder it is to start.
If you remove it from the packaging you will need to put in in something like a ziplock bag or otherwise make sure the pull cord is well-secured. You wouldn’t want one of these going off inside your pack, dry bag, or blue barrel.