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Insta-Fire lights on water, works as tinder, kindling and fuel

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January 20, 2012

Insta-fire lights in wet, windy weather and burns long and hot, making fire-starting a lit...

Insta-fire lights in wet, windy weather and burns long and hot, making fire-starting a little easier

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Fire. It has the ability attract humans like light attracts moths. As I strolled through the base area of Solitude, Utah at the Outdoor Retailer winter demo earlier this week, I was immediately drawn to the large drums overflowing with flames ... and not because I was particularly cold - I had just stepped out of the car and it was a pretty mild day by ski resort standards. No, it was fire for fire's sake that immediately caught my interest.

When I succumbed to the draw of the fire, I was immediately disappointed by what awaited on the other end - Insta-fire, another type of tinder. Eye roll. Nearly every company that has anything to do with fire, survival or camping has its own type of tinder. Not to mention that you can use free, everyday household and yard items like old newspapers, dryer lint and birch bark to much the same effect. There just isn't much "wow factor" in tinder.

It turns out, however, that Insta-fire offers a robust list of advantages that set it apart and make it a solid go-to fire source. It is a mix of volcanic rock, wood pellets and paraffin wax designed to light in seconds. It looks a little like cat litter.

A rep told me that Insta-fire burns much hotter than the average wood fire. It delivers flames of up to 16 inches (41 cm) for between 15 and 30 minutes. Combine those two factors and you get two distinct advantages over other firestarters: you don't need kindling to bridge the gap between tinder and fuel - just throw a log right on top of it and let it burn - and, for less intensive fire needs like roasting hot dogs or boiling water, you can even use the Insta-fire alone without adding kindling or fuel.

Insta-fire burns steadily on snow

Thanks to the paraffin wax, Insta-fire is also water-resistant, allowing it to light even in wet conditions. The rep said that it is ideal for lighting fires directly on snow or wet ground. The flames also hold up to wind speeds of up to 30 mph (48 km/h) or so, so even if it's stormy, you'll get a fire going. Interestingly, the flames concentrate on the top of the Insta-fire mixture while the bottom remains cool. Not that you'd ever need to, but you could actually light the Insta-fire in your hand and hold it while it burns, because of how cool the lower portion remains.

Like fire itself, Insta-fire seems like a versatile solution good for everything from emergency survival to carefree camp cooking. It comes in both single-use packets and multi-gallon tubs and has a 30-year shelf life. You'll find more information at Instafire.com.

Below is a video that shows Insta-fire in action across a number of potential uses.

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.   All articles by C.C. Weiss
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13 Comments

Looks like it could breeze right past airport security, too. Isn't that special!

bramachari
20th January, 2012 @ 02:44 pm PST

Oh....thew fire bugs will love this!!

To be fair theres always gasoline, so not making it will do no good, perhaps it will save some lives.

John Hemingway Parkes
20th January, 2012 @ 03:23 pm PST

re; bramachari

So long as Airport security is looking for weapons instead of dangerous people it is a sad joke.

I like Calcium carbide as a fire starter. Just add water and a spark.

Slowburn
21st January, 2012 @ 12:55 am PST

paraffin gives off a black smoke that coats your food in greasy black goo that tastes like eating burnt rubber (if you have the courage to even try it). It is therefore NOT ideal for cooking over an open flame. This type of fuel should only be used to get wood or charcoal going and the base tinder fuel should be burnt completely away before you being cooking anything on such a fire. I should perhaps also add that eating anything coated in the black goo is highly carcinogenic.

Gary van den Heuvel
21st January, 2012 @ 12:31 pm PST

Everything can be abused, I wouldn't want to forgo something good just because something can be misused. This looks like a great product.

mrhuckfin
21st January, 2012 @ 06:02 pm PST

All technology can be used for evil but lighting a fires is not usually difficult if you are properly prepared for it.

re; bramachari The TSA is a sad joke that does nothing to make flying safer.

Slowburn
22nd January, 2012 @ 12:50 am PST

Interesting. Sounds like something easy to whip up. Back in the scouts we used to mix kerosene and pencil shavings with wax.

I have to say that with the charcoal chimney, if you spray a bit of cooking oil on the newspaper, it will burn much longer and start easy

VoiceofReason
22nd January, 2012 @ 10:43 am PST

The ancient Greeks had a weapon called "greek fire" that they lobbed at enemy ships. Greek fire would ignite and burn on water and therefore could not put extinguished by the only available means of the day, "water".

Whee, thousands of years later, someone has re-invented a greek fire like product, I'm impressed - not.

If you are in the woods, in a position where fire starting is necessary for survival and you don't have this basic skill, then you shouldn't be in the woods in the first place. It ain't rocket science................

grtbluyonder
23rd January, 2012 @ 05:44 am PST

Alot of diverse opinions, but I think I would give it a whirl for my next hiking and camping trip !!!!!!!! GOOD LUCK INGIVEAWAYS AND SALES ! What's the exact formula too?

Richie Suraci
23rd January, 2012 @ 12:07 pm PST

Ya but can gasoline float on water and burn in your hand with out catching your hand on fire.? Look it up www.instafire.com

Gary Banner
23rd January, 2012 @ 12:08 pm PST

I was a Boy Scout, a Survivalist, and a hunter from a very early age. I know that fire means life. Not just for cooking, but for falling through ice, shock, predators, and several other reasons. i can start fires in a pouring rain (if I must) It is a skill no outdoorsman should be without.

I can use a firebow, flint and steel, friction, a polished popcan bottom, magnifying glass or glasses, 9-volt battery and steelwool, and all of this fits in a small fist sized bag in my hunting pack. Only a fool would turn down another easy method to save a life. I will add a package of this insta-fire to my kit when I find it for purchase. In the meantime, I will be making some of my own.

kellory
22nd June, 2012 @ 08:06 pm PDT

Insta-Fire is also an excellent resource for military personnel or other individuals who need fire quickly or who are under extreme conditions where fire sources are not readily available." - Source: http://www.utahsbdc.org/node/122

UTAH SBDnetwork

InstaFire 2011 Business Recognition

Jeff Sellers
10th February, 2013 @ 07:15 pm PST

A friend tried this product. while he like the company, and the price was OK, he found the product was very hard to light, when compared to other fire starters. even with a "wet fire cube" it barely caught fire. he had much better results from Vaseline soaked cotton balls.

He was completely unable to light it with flint and steel.

kellory
3rd November, 2013 @ 11:13 am PST
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