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What do you use to light your alcohol stove/fire?
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Michael Williams

Locale: Queensland
What do you use to light your alcohol stove/fire? on 09/11/2011 05:41:40 MDT Print View

I currently use long matches to light my alcohol stove (Traildesigns Caldera Cone stove)(with a lighter as backup). The matches avoid me getting burnt but are susceptible to the wind and I've had the lighter struggle also in the wind and sometimes when its cold.

This has made me consider a firesteel as a more reliable way to light my stove. It looks like there are the light my fire ones and the nanostriker to consider.

What do you use to start fires/light stoves and why? What firesteels can you recommend?

Nathan Baker
(Slvravn) - MLife

Locale: East Coast - Mid Atlantic
Re: What do you use to light your alcohol stove/fire? on 09/11/2011 06:12:21 MDT Print View

For esbit, alcohol and wood I have used a mini bic. They weigh in at 11 grams per lighter and are very reliable. I either keep a second one as a backup or a pack of matches. If you are looking at a stiker the nanostriker is very light and I think there is a thread on here about it as well as a review by Jason Klass on his site.

Kevin Ridge

Locale: Southeast MI
Flint and steel on 09/11/2011 07:58:53 MDT Print View

If I'm using a canister stove, I have no problem using a mini bic, but I don't like to use it on an alky stove. So I just pull out my flint and steel for them. I usually have both with me. I've gotten bit a few times trying to light it with the bic. Especially during daylight.

Robert Carver
(Rcarver) - MLife

Locale: Southeast TN
Re: What do you use to light your alcohol stove/fire? on 09/11/2011 08:23:32 MDT Print View

A simple bic lighter.

Aaron Benson
(AaronMB) - F

Locale: Central Valley California
Re: Re: What do you use to light your alcohol stove/fire? on 09/11/2011 08:35:12 MDT Print View

I carry a ferro rod/striker in my first aid kit but use a mini Bic to lite most things when I can help it. Trail Design's 12-10 stove is no trouble if I put a few drop of alcohol on the top rim and simply lite that.

I've been successful using the name brand strikers and the inexpensive $2 magnesium/striker combos from Harbor Freight (heavier).

If you like the lighter but use matches for the reach, you could just try a stick.

Edited by AaronMB on 09/11/2011 08:37:00 MDT.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: What do you use to light your alcohol stove/fire? on 09/11/2011 09:11:28 MDT Print View

If you like matches. The UCO/REI Storm matches can't be beat. They do not blow out.

I like a Bic first, matches then my flint and steel.

Matt DeLapp
(ATrocket10) - F
mini bic on 09/11/2011 09:24:56 MDT Print View

I use a mini bic. Fits perfect into my cat can stove. I dip the end my my ti spork into the alcohol and ignite the spork to light the stove.

J. Lopes
(Jay_NJ) - F
alc stove on 09/11/2011 09:38:03 MDT Print View

I use a really small ferro rod/striker. Gets the alc stove going without the risk of burning my hands.

Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: What do you use to light your alcohol stove/fire? on 09/11/2011 10:36:47 MDT Print View

Light My Fire Firesteel Mini, 0.6 oz

I use it for all fire lighting: alcohol, canister, wood, and open fires. With gas and alcohol, I like that my hand can be farther away from the flame than with a Bic.

Edited by AndyF on 09/11/2011 10:37:21 MDT.

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
What do you use to light your alcohol stove/fire? on 09/11/2011 10:41:51 MDT Print View

While I always carry a fire steel (and sometimes use it) I usually light mine with a mini Bic lighter. If there is a small twig near me I may light it first to be able to stick it right down into the 12-10 stove.

Chad "Stick" Poindexter
(Stick) - F

Locale: Wet & Humid Southeast....
lighting stoves on 09/11/2011 12:38:13 MDT Print View

For my alcohol stoves I use my Light My Fire Scout Model fire steel. I prefer it over other methods. Just have to be careful and pull back on the rod rather than swipe down with the striker so that the stove with fuel doesn't get knocked over.

The only canister stove I have left is a Jetboil and the piezo igniter usually works (surprisingly) but I carry a Mini Bic to use for back-up. For Esbit I would rather use a mini Bic as well.

stove on 09/11/2011 17:07:52 MDT Print View

if you use mini bic, it helps to hold it so that you do the striking with the index finger instead of thumb, and orient it so that the upward flame doesnt burn you.

also can light a small stick, piece of grass, etc and use to touch off the alcohol.

on some stoves a dribble on side of stove, etc makes it easier to light without singing the hair from you knuckles

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
What do you use to light your alcohol stove/fire? on 09/11/2011 17:14:31 MDT Print View

Some alcohol stoves are a bit tricky to light with a Bic (the 10-20 is one) particularly when it is around or below freezing.
For that I use a fire steel . If that does not work I pull out a bit of cotton impregnated with Vaseline and light that.

cold start
this is a video on how I "optimaise" the fuel usage with the 10-20 and the White Box stove;
optimising fuel usage

Edited by Franco on 09/11/2011 17:22:03 MDT.

Steve Bennett
(PackRat) - F
Use a twig on 09/11/2011 18:48:01 MDT Print View

I take a twig and dip it in the alcohol, light it with my Bic, then I have a long match to light my stove.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Alcohol Lighting on 09/11/2011 22:50:46 MDT Print View

The twig method mentioned a few times in this thread is my go-to method. You can grab pretty much any long piece of debris off the forest floor and use it but dipping it in the alcohol and then lighting it. It's important to have the cone in place when you do this so that the wind doesn't blow it out.

Using any sort of a striker to light an alcohol stove isn't a great method IMO. Besides the risk of knocking over the stove, it just doesn't work very well as the temperatures get colder. It's easy at 70F, but once you get down to 40F or so then you need a really good shower of sparks to get it started. Once you're below 30F it pretty much isn't happening....even using a lighter can be hard.

In really cold conditions, you often need to pour a bit of alcohol on the stove and light it externally to heat up the stove and then it'll go. In winter, the best stoves are ones that are filled with a wicking material (ie. Zelph Starlyte) as that makes them quite a bit easier to light.

In summary, I do:

Twig Dipped in Alcohol - 60%
Mini Bic sparked with my index finger - 40%
Firesteel Mini - Just as backup, along with an extra mini Bic

On a slightly different topic, I dropped my mini bic into the alcohol stove on a recent trip. Then rendered in unusable for about 30 min until the alcohol evaporated off. I was glad to have a spare to use in the mean time.

Edited by dandydan on 09/12/2011 12:51:29 MDT.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
pine needle on 09/11/2011 23:38:04 MDT Print View

Using a pine needle is a variant of the twig method, and works well with longer pine needles. In the daytime, I use a second (unlit) pine needle to confirm that the alcohol is actually burning.

Michael Williams

Locale: Queensland
stove lighters on 09/12/2011 02:43:48 MDT Print View

Thanks everyone. There doesn't seem to be a huge amount of support for firesteels being any better so I guess I'll stick to the lighter and matches.

jacko vanderbijl

Locale: Shelley Western Australia
"blow torch" lighter on 09/12/2011 06:23:37 MDT Print View

Not sure of their name but my son has bought me a couple of bic type lighters that have a nozzle and a mini "blow torch" sort of flame. (Don't have one handy but will track down over next day or so. It is a bit heavier than a standard bic but has a wicked little jet that easily starts our stoves and is also useful for firelighting etc as it enables you to light from the side and keep fingers etc out of the way.

Aaron Benson
(AaronMB) - F

Locale: Central Valley California
Re: stove lighters on 09/12/2011 08:33:44 MDT Print View

""Thanks everyone. There doesn't seem to be a huge amount of support for firesteels being any better so I guess I'll stick to the lighter and matches.""

If your current method isn't working the best for you, don't let us stop you from trying something different. The LMF rods throw good sparks and is good for the first aid kit, if you need a little justification. If you've a Harbor Freight in your area, you could pick up one of their cheapies and try that to see how you might like the concept.

Edited by AaronMB on 09/12/2011 08:34:14 MDT.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: What do you use to light your alcohol stove/fire on 09/12/2011 11:45:53 MDT Print View

Guess I'm in the minority, I always use a firesteel to light my alcohol stove, although not often below 45 degrees. Probably will use it for my canister as well, at least the ones without a piezo-electric starter.