Light & Heat
Remember when campfires were quaint?
Fire and the heat it generates are more about comfort, light and protection from the wilds than anything else, at least in the earlier phases of our plans, thanks to the aforementioned supplies of MREs. But the ability to make flames on demand is still of critical importance. Wood is typically the most prevalent naturally occurring combustion fuel out there, and it should be around long after “modern” fuel sources have dried up. The classic Swedish FireSteel is good for more than 1,500 strikes and can provide a spark to kindling on demand. A magnesium fire starter block trumps the fire steel, since it can light even wet wood — but it does diminish over time as the block is “shaved” down.
He cherished the flame carefully and awkwardly. It meant life, and it must not perish. The withdrawal of blood from the surface of his body now made him begin to shiver, and he grew more awkward. A large piece of green moss fell squarely on the little fire. He tried to poke it out with his fingers, but his shivering frame made him poke too far, and he disrupted the nucleus of the little fire, the burning grasses and tiny twigs separating and scattering.
– Jack London, “To Build a Fire”
Wood-burning stoves are a great way to safely start fires for heat and cooking in the home. Picking up a residential model with a catalytic combustor is a question of give or take. They’re more efficient and help eliminate the smoke and odor associated with a fire — meaning you’re less likely to reveal your location to unwanted wanderers. But they also require more maintenance. Smaller options, like the StoveTec Stove line, are durable, long lasting solutions that can migrate with you. Backpacking style models like the SoloStoveare the ideal choice for days away from the home base.
Orion Signal Flares / Fire Starters should be kept on hand and used sparingly — largely for their effect as an emergency signal. Since they burn for five minutes at over 34,000 degrees, they’ll also help quickly light fires in the bleakest scenarios — just like putting the back of the Batmobile to a pile of dry garbage.
On the light front, a good LED headlamp is always a smart idea since it illuminates what you’re doing while keeping your hands free to work. Any LED AAA-powered model in the Petzle Tikka line is a great choice thanks to the inclusion of red LEDS in addition to traditional white. Using the red LEDs alone can help maintain night vision while still letting you see what you need. The Mammut T-Trail + Ambient Light Dry Bag is another nifty setup that combines a useful dry bag with a reliable headlamp to create a makeshift lantern for ambient lighting.
Options like the SwissLight rechargeable personal light and the Nightstar Shake Flashlight are viable solutions when batteries eventually die. The Swisslight doesn’t offer a ton of light with its one LED, but its small size and integrated solar panel make it a great everyday carry. The Nightstar Flashlight provides up to 20 minutes of light with 25-30 seconds of shaking. It’s also waterproof up to a depth of 2200 feet.
Hat Tip: Gear Patrol
I make no recommendations about this material I only present it was presented on Gear Patrol.