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Lightweight Lights (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2008)

Twinkle, twinkle little star...

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by Ryan Gardner | 2008-08-13 00:00:00-06

Black Diamond Releases New Lantern

Black Diamond will be releasing the Orbit lantern this fall. Weighing in at 2.9 ounces (84 grams) and 4.4 ounces (126 grams) with batteries, this nifty little lantern would be great for after-dark chores and hanging from your tent ceiling. The top can be popped off and converted into a flashlight. The lantern comes in white and black.

Lightweight Lights (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2008) - 1
The Black Diamond Orbit lantern.

  • Batteries: Four AAA
  • Weight: 2.9 oz (84 g) without batteries, 4.4 oz (126 g) with batteries
  • MSRP: US$29.95

For a better viewing experience, please download the Flash Player. You may also download the Ultimate Survival Technologies FIre Starter

See the Ultimate Survival Technologies “Sparkie” FIre Starter in action.

New Fire Starter From Ultimate Survival Technologies

The "Sparkie" is a one-handed mini fire starter that weighs 0.85 ounces (24 grams). The device is stored with the "mesh metal" strip inside the handle. Pushing the button deploys the metal strip and pushing down on the handle sends a shower of sparks into your tinder. The following video shows this piece of gear in action.

The fact that the Sparkie must be placed on a solid surface to work (versus a flint being held in the air) could be a nuisance in the field. It may be difficult if the tinder being used is fragile.

The Sparkie will be available December 2008.

  • Weight: 0.85 oz (24 g)
  • MSRP: US$14.95

Lightweight Lights (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2008) - 2
Sparkie - the one-handed fire starter.

Black Crater Introduces the Cord Lock Light

Weighing in at 0.3 ounces (8 grams), this product functions as both a cord lock and (you guessed it!) a light. As a cord lock, it does great - although it's a bit on the large side. As a light, it's not the brightest kid in the class. We did a quick test between the Cord Lock Light and the Photon X-Micro LED. The Photon was the clear winner. The cord lock light has three modes (high, low, and flash) and runs on two lithium CR1220 batteries.

I can see this gadget coming in handy in a number of situations. As a backpacker, you're never far from a cord lock, and your flashlight or headlamp is often out of reach or buried somewhere in the bottom of your pack. Having a light source immediately available would be nice. Multi-use gear is something we value as lightweight backpackers, but is this practical enough to put in your kit? We'll let you decide.

Lightweight Lights (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2008) - 3
The Cord Lock Light.

  • Weight: 0.3 oz (8 g)
  • Battery Life: 12 hrs High, 20 hrs Low, 50 hrs Flash
  • MSRP: US$10.00


"Lightweight Lights (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2008)," by Ryan Gardner. (ISSN 1537-0364)., 2008-08-13 00:00:00-06.


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Lightweight Lights (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2008)
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Lightweight Lights (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2008) on 08/13/2008 09:42:45 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Lightweight Lights (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2008)

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Sparkie demo ?? on 08/20/2008 02:21:42 MDT Print View

I was very impressed at the way the Sparkie lit whatever it was on the table with a single press.

But I was also impressed by the way the demonstrator subsequently put the fire out with the palm of his hand, but in another direction. I could not put one of my fires out like that without burning my palm badly, so I am left wondering just what it was he was lighting. And that makes me wonder how well it would work in the field, with 'real' fuel?

Perhaps this unit needs a bit more (BPL) field testing before anyone gets too excited?

Christopher Holden
(back2basics) - F - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: Sparkie demo ?? on 08/20/2008 05:12:44 MDT Print View

The Sparkie video wasn't available at time I read this, but the description makes it sound like it has a more restricted use than either my firesteel or one-handed flint striker (forgot the name). Neither of those require a hard surface or rely on springs.
The cordlock light looks like an addition I'll be buying for the pack, especially in winter when there is less daylight.

Edited by back2basics on 08/20/2008 05:13:25 MDT.

Donald W. Strader
(Donald-W) - F

Locale: Southeast Florida
Sparkie Fire Starter from Ultimate Survival Technologies on 08/20/2008 08:01:59 MDT Print View

I imagine the tinder the demonstrator was lighting with the Sparkie was crushed or powdered WetFire Tinder. Since this is made, or at least sold, by the same company they would have a vested interest in using it for the demonstration.

The term he was using in the video was Mischmetal or Misch Metal. I generally used the term ferrocerium, also known as artificial flint (NOT the same as the mineral (or rock) flint), metal match, or brands FireSteel, FireFlash, and MagFlash.

The other one handed fire starter mentioned in the comments (by back2basics)is called a Spark-Lite.

In operation the Sparkie should work in similar fashion to the BlastMatch. There is a comparison picture at:

It is lighter as it does not have the 1/2 inch rod of the original BlastMatch. Generally, as one goes down in diameter of the ferrocerium rod one will get less sparks and a shorter life expectancy as the volume of material in the rod goes down. One thing to remember about the BlastMatch and Sparkie, is just because it is designed to work one-handed, pressed into a solid object such as the ground, does not mean that it will not work just fine in two handed operation like any other ferrocerium rod, such as the FireSteel, by scraping the rod. Sometimes the fact that it has a ferrocerium rod that can be used by scraping, seems to be forgotten by those who worry about what to do if the one-handed mechanism breaks.

In the redesigned lighter version, it appears that the ferrocerium rod is mounted on a holder, but that does not look like it should significantly impair two handed operation. It is probably not advisable to use either the BlastMatch or Sparkie one handed in the air, at least not without gloves, that is more the forté of the Spark-Lite.

To easily light a candle with the Spark-Light or a lighter that has run out of fuel and uses an artificial flint, just wrap a wisp of cotton or tinder-quik around the wick. One can also make a "match" if needed, by putting a piece of cotton (cotton ball), petrolatum impregnated cotton, or Tinder-Quik, on the end of a stick, either by wrapping it, piercing it, or splitting the stick at the end, and then lighting it with your favorite ferrocerium rod.

In short, I imagine that anyone who understands how to use a ferrocerium rod, should find the Sparkie works just fine, especially if it uses a Tungsten Carbide (Wolfram) scraper like its older and larger sibling the BlastMatch.

Whether it replaces or supplements one's favorite ferrocerium rod remains to be seen. I hope to try one.

I note there are some companies that are trying to tweak the regular ferrocerium rod such as the Aurora Fire Starter by SoloScientific, I believe this is done by increasing the proportion of magnesium. They are a bit more difficult and angle sensitive, in scraping for a spark, at least in the current implementation. On the other hand the sparks seems to last a bit longer so therefore are very effective. I don't know whether the temperature of the sparks change significantly, they are a lighter color.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Re: Sparkie Fire Starter from Ultimate Survival Technologies on 08/20/2008 10:59:49 MDT Print View

The demo was using their Wetfire Tinder product, yes. In terms of more testing the product, it is as Donald mentions basically a smaller version of the Blastmatch product which has been proven as a quality fire-starter.

Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
One-handed operation... on 08/27/2008 13:13:43 MDT Print View

This product can be used one-handed. Here is a YouTube video showing how:

It also shows how the product can be used in the air - thus eliminating some possible hassles of tinder like I mentioned in the article.