Flint and Steel Kit 4.2.2 Review
Traditional firelighting kit in leather case
Traditional firelighting techniques should be familiar to anybody interested in the development of our species and forms part of our cultural heritage. A small kit containing a piece of carbon steel, a flint or other rock and some flammable material would be familiar to any self-reliant traveler from the past few thousand years, and this kit from Russian-based Flint and Steel promises something “suitable for anyone interested in camping, hiking or any other outdoor pursuit.”
The kit comes in a small leather pouch with internal dividers and a removeable shoulder strap. Inside are several pieces of flint (knapped to a useful shape and comfortable to hold), a 3″ carbon steel (hand forged), a small metal container densely packed with charcloth (linen) and two bundles of jute twine. Assuming you can find enough combustible material of the right size, moisture content and quantity (i.e. can you find enough sticks and pieces of wood to light a fire) there SHOULD be everything here you need to effectively light a fire.
Real World Testing
The perfect place for em to try this kit out was during a private bushcraft training course we arranged in late February – we would be demonstrating a range of firelighting techniques and deconstructing the process of lighting a fire. We normally talk about flint-and-steel firelighting (as opposed to ferrocerium rod, sometimes called a firesteel) with a huge bag of flint shards and a few carbon strikers acquired from a blacksmith friend. This time we pushed that to one side and put the Flint and Steel Kit 4.2.2 front and centre.
It did the job nicely – the flint supplied was of excellent quality, as was the steel itself. The charcloth was neatly cut and packaged and could be removed with cold hands without much of a problem. The jute cord separated easily, and when dry it could be encouraged into flame with only a few breaths. This is all with a practiced hand (I think I’ve gone through this demo at least 250 times by now!) but the quality of the items within the kit hold no nasty surprises.
The leather pouch itself could be a little thicker in places, but so far it has stood up to the usual punishment our equipment gets – being transported back and forth from the woods in barrels, 4wd and rucksacks and often left for several days buried underneath other equipment. The fasteners could be a little more robust, and I would probably prefer to mount it on a waist belt rather than a shoulder strap.
The drawbacks of this firelighting set isn’t unique to the Flint and Steel set, but to all traditional firelighting sets. The two main issues are weight and technical skills:
Weight – Traditional firelighting sets, either as flint/steel combos or other sets are very heavy compared to their modern counterparts such as ferrocerium rods.
Technical Skill – There are several steps to making fire using this type of kit, and each requires a little practice to master.
This set would be perfect if you want to explore more traditional firelighting methods and to improve your skillbase and understanding of the firelighting process, and the materials supplied are more than enough for a few years of traditional firelighting in a bushcraft setting. There are no moving parts, nothing requires batteries and the individual components can be replaced or supplemented using natural items – a small amount of birch bark would make an excellent addition.