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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Review: North 49 Firesteel

A quick look at a piece of gear that I forgot I even had, though admittedly - that's the point of its placement. I keep this inside my hiking bag, attached to the pull rope that closes off the inner bag. I keep it there, attached to a length of paracord. I keep it on paracord for a number of reasons - it helps me identify what it is, among the other stuff in my bag. It's always good to have a bit of extra paracord on me as well.

I attached a keyring to the hole in the top of the firesteel to keep a length of an old sawblade attached. True - it's not the best striker, but if I don't have a knife on me it will work wonders I'm sure.

I took my hiking bag on an outing today and found this item right where it should be as I opened the bag. I had almost forgotten that this item was with me, but I suppose that is a part of it's own philosophy of use. It's truly an emergency item. It's there when I'll need it most - I put it right back after the picture was taken.

On the trail, I gathered a handful of dried out plant matter. I set it all on a rock along the shore of the river and placed my firesteel at about a 45 degree angle from the surface of the rock. I scraped the shaft of the firesteel with my knife - a SOG seal pup - and that was all it took. I wasn't surprised to witness the utility of this tool, but it was still cool to see it work so simply.

I'd recommend this type of tool to all outdoor enthusiasts. It displaces the need for a lighter - but it's easier to just use a butane torch by far. This acts very well as an emergency fire starter and should be included in any hiking bag. I'm not sure of the variances between different manufacturers but I doubt very much that you'd go wrong with any commercially available model.

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