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Wrightsocks & Fire-starting
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Steven Davis

Locale: SF Bay Area
Wrightsocks & Fire-starting on 04/07/2013 00:39:08 MDT Print View

I'm just getting into lightweight backpacking. I got some Salomon XT Wings 3 Trail Runners for shoes. Took them on a 7 mile day hike and really enjoyed them. Got a little bit of iritation on part of my foot though with my older wool socks, so I went to REI today and got 2 pairs of WrightSocks Coolmesh II's. They're double-lined and thin, but supposed to be really good. ARE they good?

I also put together a small fire-starting kit in a 1oz plastic bottle consisting of storm matches, regular matches, and a few tinder starters. Wondering if I need all that, or should I just carry a cheap bic lighter or 2?

Thanks. New to backpacking and trying to figure out all the best/lightest stuff.

Edited by StevenDavisPhoto on 04/07/2013 00:40:04 MDT.

Mike Stromsoe
(phstudio) - F

Locale: So. Cal.
wrightsocks on 04/07/2013 00:53:11 MDT Print View

I personally love the wright socks. I now own more pairs of Wrightsocks than any other socks I own. Whether i'm on a backcountry adventure or lounging around in my living room, they are the most comfortable socks I have tried.

For backpacking, I used to use the Smartwool light mini socks. I don't think they last as long as the Wrightsocks and when I wear them now, they feel like I'm wearing oven mitts on my feet, by comparison.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Wrightsocks & Fire-starting on 04/07/2013 01:15:09 MDT Print View

+1 on the wrightsocks. It always surprises me how many people wear smartwool socks and so few wear wrightsocks. I've NEVER gotten a blister wearing my wrightsocks. I also wear them all the time. They're also durable from my usage. I have cotton socks that see less usage with more holes. They do have a tendency to appear like they're getting really thin, but I have yet to wear somewhat fast, but I have yet to actually wear a hole through a pair despite having some for more than 3 years now. They do seem to suffer though if you wear them two days in a row, so wash daily on hikes and alternate between two pairs. I can't speak high enough praise for them.

For fire starting, drop the regular matches. I assume you have them because they are cheaper than the storm matches and if weather permits you use the regulars. Just use a mini bic. Same purpose as a regular matches but a lot more convenient and pretty hard to use one up on a trip. Keep the storm matches in your emergency/first aid kit as a backup in case your bic fails on you (they do at altitude, in wind, or if wet). With a bic you also don't need so many tinder starters since they're more of a just in case situation instead of necessary for every fire.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
bic lighters on 04/07/2013 06:06:13 MDT Print View

You would be surprised how much abuse a mini bic will take, I have often put one in the washer
And they work fine after.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Bic user also on 04/07/2013 07:02:57 MDT Print View

+1 I use a Bic as a primary and carry matches as a backup.

I haven't used wrightsocks yet but will now after reading your thoughts on them. Thanks for sharing.

One option for an emergency fire starter is to carry a couple Esbit or Coghlan fuel tablets. Don't know what your cook system is but this serves double duty as a backup for canister or white gas stoves in case of mechanical failure or alcohol stoves in case you spill your fuel.

I'm rebuilding my shtf kit which stays in my pocket at all times when backpacking. Carrying an Esbit/Coghlan tablet in it isn't practical so I'm using a large diameter straw, using pliers/lighter to seal one end, cut it an inch or so in length, fill it 1/2 with dryer lint and 1/2 with part of a petroleum cotton ball, and then sealing the other end. I've had difficulty with petroleum cotton balls catching a spark in cold weather hence the dryer lint.

Duct tape (which most backpackers carry) can be used to help start a fire, Check out YouTube for more on this.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Bic user also on 04/07/2013 07:46:22 MDT Print View

I have always had success with dryer lint; that and some dead bark wirks a treat.

Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
Re: Bic user also on 04/07/2013 07:56:10 MDT Print View

I'll have to check the wrightsocks, never heard of them.

I'll also say mini bic and 3 storm matches, or sub the matches for a fire steel and firestraw.

P.S. found some 40+ yr old Hurricane brand matches from pastime products inc. they light on the first strike and had a long violent burn. If u can't start a fire with one of those, you deserve your fate!

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: old matches on 04/07/2013 08:21:51 MDT Print View

Those 40 year old matches put the new ones to shame.

Edited by kthompson on 04/07/2013 08:24:13 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: bic lighters on 04/07/2013 08:29:35 MDT Print View

"You would be surprised how much abuse a mini bic will take, I have often put one in the washer
And they work fine after."

Stephen just wants to make sure that the Mini Bic will burn cleanly.


eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
practice on 04/07/2013 09:47:46 MDT Print View

i own and use wright socks ... they work as well as any of the other $$$$ stuff ... the double lining basically works as an inner and outer sock in one

as to firestarting, everyone uses different methods ... the most important thing is to go out and PRACTICE ... in all conditions, including the rain ... because when you need to start it youll be cold, tired, wet, hungry and borderline hypothermic ... practice in all conditions is what will keep you alive

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Huge fan on 04/07/2013 11:13:03 MDT Print View

Huge fan of wrightsock. Just got a dozen more pairs that were super cheap on the net.

Rodney Mruk

Locale: Northeast Oregon
Firestarter on 04/07/2013 15:41:24 MDT Print View

I agree with Eric. Not only do you need to practice but when you really need to start a fire, you are in some sort of danger or the beginning of a serious situation. If you fail when you are in danger, you are SOS and in trouble. When I go into the wilderness several days from the closest road / trail head, I always carry an esbit type table and have an emergency mini-bic and storm proof matches.

I once was caught in conditions very conducive to hypothermia. My abdomen started shaking / shivering. I had never been that cold, wet, exhausted all at the same time. I also was alone as I am on 95% of my backpacking trips. I also like to go where the chances of me seeing another person are low. I thought I was heading into hypothermia. At that moment I knew I needed to start a fire or I might not survive. I was glad I had the esbit tablet which can burn for ten minutes and dry out some tinder etc.

My advice is either have an esbit tablet or several cotton balls saturated with petroleum jelly and some way to ignite these. I don't leave home without these.

The idea of keeping this small fire starting kit in your clothing and out of your pack is a good one since you do not want to get separated from the fire starting kit. But I admit I usually don't follow this practice. I don't get separated from my pack. That happened once and I said never again. Where I go, my pack goes with unless I am just outside of camp. But I digress ....

Cheers and good hiking,

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Huge fan on 04/07/2013 17:46:20 MDT Print View

Huge fan of wrightsock.


Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Firestarter on 04/07/2013 18:03:27 MDT Print View

I keep my emergency fire kit in what Dale calls a "spy capsule." I got a capsule that is really big, so it holds several fuel tabs, a mini bic, some storm matches (shortened slightly to fit the capsule), and some aluminum foil. The advantage of having it all sealed up this way is that you are unlikely to have one component fall out and get lost. The large capsule is two-piece aluminum, so I could probably boil water in one piece if I had to.

I'm more likely to stick it in a daypack when I don't expect to be caught out in a sudden storm, but you never know. When my full backpack is on, I have my entire cook kit with everything.


Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Wright sock not my fav on 04/07/2013 20:26:54 MDT Print View

I've tried Wright Socks, REI wool, Smartwool PhD, and DeFeet Wooly Booly. Like the Wooly Booly best. Has a bit of a rough finish, which keeps your feet planted in the sock. My feet slide around in the Wright Socks and I don't like that. Order of preference for me:

DeFeet Wooly Booly (perfect hold and padding)
Smartwool PhD (less hold and padding)
REI wool (smooth and nice, wish for a bit of hold and good padding - $$ best bet)
Wright Socks (don't like the two-layer system)