For Sharp, Bright, and Tactical Web Magazine
By Jesse Israel
The quest for fire… one of man’s oldest pursuits. Well, I have had my own quest for fire over the last few years, except my quest was rather specific. I have been looking for a way to keep an easy fire source on me comfortably for quite some time. I am not a smoker, however when I do smoke it is my pipe, but I still feel the ability to make fire readily is one of those necessary parts of having self-sufficiency, kind of like carrying a knife. If all else fails in an emergency having the ability to make a fire allows you to provide heat and light, two very essential survival items.
Going with the survival mentality I began to carry a fire steel. Let me say that there are a lot of pros to carrying a fire steel as a source of fire. It can get soaked and still work, it doesn’t run out of fuel, it won’t leak fluid or strike accidentally, and it is small, light and compact. However, a fire steel is not a convenient way to light something on fire. To properly use a fire steel one must also have tinder. That means you either carry it with you (one more thing) or you find it at the time. Making fire is now a process rather than something that can be accomplished instantly when needed. So the quest continued…
Enter matches, MacGuyver always carried matches… and a knife, and drove a jeep; explains a lot of my obsessions actually. Matches are still my favorite way to start a fire and Coghlans waterproof matches are still my favorite domestically available match (in other places ie Africa, one can get matches with a lot more punch), but they are bulky to carry. I still carry them often in the winter in my shirt or jacket pocket, or whenever I go into the woods, but they don’t make for a good comfy EDC.
So next comes lighters… I have tried many, many kinds. I will give a short list: Zippo, Imco-Triplex, several “stormproof” butane lighters, Soto, and of course bic. The problems range, Zippo’s are big and bulk and the fuel evaporates too quick, the Imco evaporated more slowly but still did, the refillable butane lighters always crapped out on me after a couple of months even using “premium” butane, the Soto 1st generation broke as well and the second generation is too bulky to carry and doesn’t work well to light a pipe. The Bics are fine, they aren’t amazing but they work. The issue with all of these lighters was that I didn’t have any more pocket room to devote. I needed a keychain type lighter that meet my needs in a compact way.
Next step… The County Comm Peanut Lighter. Seals with an o-ring so the fuild doesn’t evaporate, fits on the key chain, uses standard fluid easy to get, lights my pipe. The only things I didn’t like was the looks, the way it fell on the keys and the fact that it was actually a tad too small. Then I stumbled upon Ti Survival.
The Solution… The Exo-Flame Lighter by Ti Survival. What a freaking bad ass lighter. I love this thing. It is hand made out of titanium so the weight to size ratio is great and the thing feels bombproof in hand. I have yet to not have it light on the first strike. It is the perfect size for my needs. It has a o-ring seal so the fluid doesn’t evaporate and uses a normal wick, fluid and flint making for easy maintenance. All in all it is a great piece of work. But it is also a piece of art…
The options… I had mine done with a sandblasting followed by a mixed pattern of heat anodizing and it looks cool. I also had three glow dots added to the top which are very bright and now add a glow in the dark marker to my key chain. I also got a custom kydex sheath for it to hang from my jeep keys perfectly. I love almost everything about this lighter. The only complaint is that I am already nicking up the finish. Hopefully it will only be a small problem but I am guessing that it will eventually wear off. Still it looks cool now and everyone has loved it. Even people who aren’t “gear heads” like me or Aaron get a kick out of this thing and ask where I got it. The maker also makes clever little capsules ad kubotons, very talented man as can be seen in the detail of something as small as the treading of the lid.
Well that sums up my quest for fire… for now, hope it helps with yours.