By John Campbell
Live fire was designed by Roger Fandrich of Nor Cal Survival, I have been familiar with him for some time. I had a chance to use his original product called Mini Inferno. I was pretty impressed with the idea of the fire starter and found it to be a very effective item to carry in any kit. The same holds true with the Live Fire. This stuff comes in a small tin that can be slid open to expose the inner material. Since the tin can be slid open, this allows the flame to be adjusted once it is lit. The operation is very simple and straightforward, simply slide the tin open to expose the material, Ruff it up by exposing the inner fibers much like a cotton ball soaked with Vaseline. Once a spark from a ferro rod hits this, it is lit and you’re rockin.
The uses I have played around with are numerous. I find it to be one of the best back up fire starters I can have on hand. With the long burn time, I am able to dry damp tinder and kindling to get a fire going when I need one. I can even use this inside my shelter without worry of knocking it over. As long as it is properly vented, I know I have a way to help stay warm. There are times of the year in the desert, mostly in the high country where this is highly beneficial. One winter it was raining and sleeting so hard that no matter how much I cleared the ground the water just kept coming. It was impossible at the time to get a fire going and taking the time to prepare the wood would have been foolish. By taking something like this with me in my kit, I was able to build a shelter, a platform, and warm up with the Live Fire. This also allowed me to cook a meal to help warm me up from the inside out. After a few hours of heavy down pour, I was able to process firewood and make a fire.
I find the amount of heat that is put out is sufficient for a lot of needs. For one I can honestly see using this as a hand warmer. While I am working on getting things situated in cold weather it is very easy to loose dexterity. This can cause some serious accidents or possible worse. By recognizing that your hands are cold you can warm them up using the Live Fire as a small heat source to warm your hands and fingers while you continue processing firewood or constructing your shelter. I have even been fishing in the freezing temps, this would also work for taking the sting out of your hands on those cold days on the river bank.
I wrote about Rogers first product in my book series. I found it to be a great addition to any survival kit for any one that may have a need for a tinder for fire starter that will work well in wet conditions. I also found Live fire to also be very beneficial when it comes to conditions that are not all that great. This product is so small and light weight, it will fit anywhere. I have a few of these in the console of my truck, in my survival kit, and in my pack. Using one of these in a vehicle in the event of an emergency care must be taken to not set it on something that will melt or that may be a danger of knocking it over. Always crack a window when any fuel is burning inside a vehicle. To date the longest I am able to get Live fire to burn is 22 minutes. The wind and other factors can also have a huge effect on this. However if the conditions are right it will last for hours.
The tin itself can be used as an improvised signal mirror. Upon testing this I found that it can be seen for at least 3,000 feet. This is plenty of distance for a flying plane or helicopter that may be actively searching for you. Keep in mind a good signal mirror can be made by polishing the inside of the lid or the bottom of the tin to high sheen. This will make the signalling aspects of this much greater. If you are interested in Live Fire check out Nor Cal Survival.