Tag Archives: cordage

Getting Back to Firecord

Back in august of 2015, I tried out a new product called Firecord.  (Here is my original review).  6 months later I did another follow up review (Here).   Here we are almost 6 years later.   As per my first review I find that I don’t use it because I’ve always got fire starting kit on me.    But I test it periodically to see if it’s still functions well.   On my initial review, I noticed a light accelerant smell.  After a couple years on my pack, that smell is completely gone.  (Which made me wonder if the Firecord would still be effective).     

Pulls on my main pack

I’ve had some Firecord zipper pulls on my pack for almost 6 years now. They have seen rain, snow, sleet, dirt, dust, mist and every weather condition available including temps from -39 below zero to 109 above. The bag, when not in use is in the back of my van in both extreme heat and extreme cold all year long.

Don’t let the bright image fool you, it’s just the fancy camera on the Galaxy S20 Ultra. The orange is faded a bit.

I cut a 2 inch chunk off one of my zipper pulls and took it outside to test it.   It was still easily manipulated.  I rolled it up, scraped a part of it to fuzz it up, and hit it with some sparks.   BOOM.  Lit up just as well as the first time I tested it.  Burned for about 20 to 30 seconds.   I was amazed that it still worked so well.

Fuzzed it up a little in the middle

I’d have to say.  You don’t need much of it. The 25 foot hank I bought 6 years ago, I still have 15 feet of it rolled up in my bag.   The other 10 feet made zipper pulls for all of my bags and packs.   So I’ll honestly say you don’t need a lot of it.  But I think this is a good enough and cheep enough item that everyone should buy at least 1 hank of it and do zipper pull’s at the minimum.  (I am also going to use some of the leftover to add a cord to my newest couple of fero rods).   It appears to last fore quite some time. And after nearly 6 years in the conditions of my pack, I would expect another 20 out of it. Just the ability to fuzz it and have instant easily lightable tinder. Not every product meets and exceeds every expectation. This is one that does. I would buy it again. And probably will. At an average price of 6 to 9 per 50 foot hank for normal paracord. This ends up being roughly twice the cost at $14.99 for a 50 foot hank. Which is still not a large expense to have one hank of it on hand. (If you go through as much paracord as I do, you may not want to replace all your paracord with it. LOL But having a hank around with bits of it tied onto various pieces of equipment and gear could be a lifesaver years from now when you least expect it. And it’s such a simple convenient way to ensure you have some instant light tinder when you forget your regular fire making kit or just don’t want to hike back to the van or campsite to grab the lighter that you forgot. 🙂

Still caught a spark and burned just fine


Update on Firecord

6 months ago, I purchased some Firecord and did a review on it.  It’s a neat and simple way to keep some fire starting material with you.  Sure there are thousands of ways to make fire, but just for simplicity and availability on all your gear, this stuff is great.

I wanted to test the longevity of it under normal use.  I’ve had some tied to my packs for 6 months.  Been rained on, and had dew on it and snow and been through many freeze/thaw cycles.    Does it still work after it’s been hanging around on my kit for 6 moths?  Well, the answer is a resounding Yes!   I will rerun these tests every 6 months and see how long it really lasts.

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Just a little rubbing with the edge of a knife will fuzz it up to catch a spark.  Doesn’t take much fuzzing or sparking.

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One quick spark with a Fero rod and it took right off.

So all in all, I’m still a fan.  it’s so easy to tie some paracord off on your kit.  And just have it on standby “Just in case”.   I’m going to do an immersion test next to see what kind of water-logging it can really take and still light.

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the trails!

Doc

 

 


Firecord Review

Firecord is an innovative little product from the guys over at Live Fire Gear (Also Equip-2-Endure).  I do have to admit I’ve known a member of their staff for a couple of years and they are some great people.  But be warned, I will test this product objectively.

Firecord is a type of paracord cordage with an extra strand (Paracord normally has 7 strands of internal fiber) of flammable fiber.   The paracord is just as strong as normal paracord out of the box.

Initial observations.  There is a very mild smell of accelerant from the cordage.  A bit of mineral oil type smell, but it’s not heavy.  It’s also not greasy at all.  There is no transfer of the accelerant beyond the single “Fire” strand.   This was one of my early concerns.  (You may not want to use this product with hunting gear if you do scent neutralization.  It’s a mild scent to humans but most likely quite strong to animals that defend themselves with a strong sense of smell)

Packageing

Packaging

It handles and feels just like any other paracord but it is a little stiffer but not enough to be any kind of problem.  (It does come in a variety of colors.  Last I checked on Amazon, it came in 12 different colors, both bright and subdued.  (I prefer the bright colors to denote it’s Firecord over the other colors).  So I ordered it in Orange.  Here is where it starts to get interesting.  You can still melt the ends after cutting just like regular paracord.  The accelerant is slow enough to allow you to melt/whip your paracord without igniting.  This works perfectly.  In fact I tried several times to ignite the internal strand and without air, it goes out quickly.  I like this feature.  Allows you to literally treat this cord exactly as any other paracord until you need the firestrand.

7 + fire strand

7 + fire strand

Now one of the points is that you can extract the fire strand and continue to use the paracord, which works well if you are cutting chunk’s less than 10 feet long.  But trying to pull a single strand on longer pieces creates a lot of friction.  But you really don’t need to pull out a 10 foot section to start a fire.  Most of my testing was done with 2 or 3 inch chunks which was more than enough.  So for my own convenience, I just cut off a 3 inch section of cordage.  I usually just pocket the trash.

For most of us who spend as much time in the woods as I do, we always have plenty of fire starting materials on us and most of the time it’s pretty easy to find or make something that will catch a spark.   So this may be a little bit “Gimmicky” to add to the kit, but it’s a pretty slick and easy way to have some very good fire starting material on you at all times.  (And it’s waterproof and essentially a “Tie it off and Forget about it until you need it” product.  Do you need it?  No, but its sure isn’t going to hurt to have it available.  I’d suggest using this for zipper pulls on all your bags and kits.  Each zipper pull would provide enough cordage for 2 or 3 fires.   Or you can make a small keychain with it and keep it on your ferro rod (or even use it as your ferro rod cord).  Then it will always be available to you.

Strand extended (Can be pulled and cut)

Strand extended (Can be pulled and cut)

Never hurts to have that little extra with you.  And since I have zipper pulls on all my bag zippers (If you’ve ever reached hypothermia, you will understand the importance Zipper pulls provide).  So without taking up any extra space or even having to remember where in my kit I’ve dropped my Firecord, it’s always available.

Scraped and prepped

Scraped and prepped

All in all it’s a pretty good piece of kit.  Think of it as insurance.  You may never need it, but that one time you really do need it, it will be right there.

Now let’s look at usage and performance.

Catches the first spark

Catches the first spark

First thing is, it doesn’t light well on its own straight out of the cord, unless you use a match or lighter (in which case you probably wouldn’t be using it).  But if it’s very rainy and windy and you need fire and do have a lighter or match, it will work well as a base tinder.   A 2 inch strand burned solid for 25 or 30 seconds on most of my tests.  (Some longer but I prefer to report on the minimums).

For best usage, with a ferro rod or if using something like a bow drill or fire plow to provide a coal, you need to “Fuzz” the cord up.  A fingernail will do an ok job, but a sharp knife will fuzz it up really well. Practice a little because it is very weak and will tear up if you apply too much pressure.  There is a waxy substance on the cord which will flake as you scrape.  The more fuzz, the faster it will take a spark, but also the faster it will burn.    What I discovered works best is to take about a 3 inch section.  Fuzz about 1 inch of the end, then curl the other 2 inches under it.  This provide nearly a full minute of burn time.

All in all, for the price, it’s a worthwhile investment.  A single 25 foot strand runs about $12.50 and will probably be all you’ll need for years.