Fire to a hunter is only important when you actually need it for survival. Exotac is a company that is absolutely obsessed with the outdoors and being able to survive in the outdoors with quality fire-starting gear. We all know that in a survival situation, fire can keep you alive. Having the tools in your pack, whether you are hunting out on the farm or you are deep into the backcountry, is paramount to staying alive.
I was on an elk hunt in the early 2000’s with a guide who honestly should not have been guiding hunters. We rode up to a high pass saddle and we planned on waiting out the day. With about 8 inches of snow on the ground, the wind picked up and the temps dropped. We were cold so we set about to start a fire. The lighter we had was no match to the wind and with wet wood it was absolutely useless. The guide had nothing else with him to start a fire. When I asked him if he even had a compass or a first aid kit, the answer was no. Unfortunately, I also did not have a compass, survival gear or a first aid kit. On the flight home, I made a list of the gear I wanted. I made a pact that I would never go on another hunt without the gear to keep myself alive.
As my experience has proved, fire-starting products are quite important. Exotac, Inc. knows this and makes great fire-starting gear. We tested their line of gear and found it to be high quality. Let’s focus on the products that should be in your pack on future hunts.
The nanoSTRIKER XL is rod and striker, similar to a flint and steel or other spark generating device. It is small enough to fit on your keychain and strong enough to handle anything you could possibly throw at it. The XL version of this unit has a big enough handle to hold when it is cold outside. The unit has a larger ferrocerium and magnesium rod and comes with its own striker. The magnesium burns at 5500°F and works even when wet. The anodized aluminum body will not rust and the tungsten carbide striking tool is sharp and sturdy. The rod can be replaced if you run it into the ground, generally after about 3000 strikes. Like all of the gear from Exotac, the nanoSTRIKER XL is made in the USA. The unit costs $29.95.
I recently had the opportunity to test out the tinderTIN on a trip to Death Valley. The tinderTIN comes filled with natural fatwood in two varieties: shavings or splinters. I used both types. It was exceptional in every way. It lit up quickly, burned hot and only took a very little to get a quick fire started. I started with a base of the shavings and stacked a few of the splinters on top. Then I used the NanoStriker XL to send sparks right into the shavings. It lit up like a Christmas tree. The TIN keeps everything dry and the fatwood will light in heavy wind and moisture. You can get both tins for under $14.
The candleTin Nano is basically a tea-light. They come in packs of three that all weigh less than an ounce each. These little candles, made of 100% beeswax, provide a good amount of light and a little bit of warmth when you need it. We found that the candle, which is purported to provide four hours of burn time, lasted three hours during a recent trip to Death Valley. The candle did offer heat and quite a bit of good light in pitch black conditions. The 3-pack costs $3.95.
Try out some of the lightweight, practical and effective fire starter products from Exotac and let us know what you think. And keep your eyes on Exotac because I have a suspicion we will continue to see innovative new gear coming from this brand.