Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Product Review - Backpacking Light Firelite Mini Firestarting Kit

Rating: 4 out of 5 - Recommended

I just received this ultralight fire starting kit in the mail yesterday. It's always fun to try out new ways to lighten your load, and this mini "Swedish Match" promises to save quite a bit of weight with little or no loss of function.

The Backpacking Light Firelite Mini Firestarting Kit consists of;
1 - Firesteel Mini "Swedish Match" style firestarting tool with steel striker tethered by a short cord
10 - Tinder-Quik firestarting tabs
1 - 5" x 4" Aloksak waterproof bag

The claimed weight is
0.81oz, but on my (not so) highly sensitive postal scale, the kit weighed 0.85oz, so I'll use this measurement for comparison.

In my opinion, there is just too much going on in this kit to qualify as "ultralight", one of the most loosely used terms in the backpacking industry. I understand that the marketing gurus think the typical customer wants a complete kit with lots of bells and whistles, but I have never considered www.backpackinglight.com to be marketed towards the mainstream consumer. Just my two cents, I sure don't have a degree in marketing. Besides adding unwanted weight, it also adds unwanted cost. That said, the cost for this complete kit is reasonably priced at $11.99 ($11.39 for members).

For my purposes, in the photo below, the items on the left are all extra.

To cut the weight to a minimum, I put the Tinder-Quik firestarting tabs in a micro zip top bag that I already have other small items in, which stays inside my waterproof cuben fiber "essentials" stuff sack. I remove the firesteel from the tether, and discard the tether, waterproof bag, and striker (I use the edge of the file on my pocket knife as the stiker). This cuts almost half of the weight and much of the bulk.

As compared to my previous 0.65oz Light My Fire FireSteel Scout, my new FireSteel Mini weighs just 0.30oz. So a weight savings of 0.35oz, less than half of what I used to carry, and it seems to work just as well. Obviously, it won't last as long (1,500 strikes vs. 3,000 per the Light My Fire website). I wonder how long it will take me to strike this 1,500 times? Probably quite a while.

In conclusion, I recommend this little "metal match", as it's the lightest option I have found that I believe will last a long time. You have to decide whether you need the entire kit or not.

You can purchase the entire Backpacking Light Firelite Mini Firestarting Kit or you only want the Mini FireSteel find it here at the Mountain UltraLight Store.