Start Fires Using Air Compression With The Bushcraft Essentials Fire Piston
It’s always good to have alternate methods of starting a fire and be able to utilize them efficiently. Different environments require different means of starting a fire and not all are guaranteed to work. Lighters may fail, matches could get wet – so always plan to have a backup plan in place. The Bushcraft Essentials Fire Piston uses compression to heat air to such a high degree that it will ignite tinder, creating an ember. The ember can be used to ignite a highly refined tinder bundle or char cloth to start the fire.
I have several products from Bushcraft Essentials and the first thing that comes to mind is the quality and craftsmanship of their gear. The BE Fire Piston is consistent in that regard. The piston is 4-5 inches long and weighs a little over 2 ounces, so it’s lightweight and great for your bug out bag as a primary or alternative means to start a fire. The piston and the vent are tightly sealed with double gaskets. The piston gaskets are made of quality nitrile rubber and are resistant to abrasion, heat and cold. The gaskets are also compatible with all lubricants. The piston itself is CNC machined from a special aluminum alloy.
The fire piston comes with a dry, waterproof compartment to store tinder by simply unscrewing the bottom cap – it comes with a supplied piece of char rope that’s ready to use.
Slide out the handle from the BE Fire Piston and place a small piece of the char rope in the end. From my experience, making sure it’s flush with the end works best. Place the handle back inside the cylinder and you should feel some resistance. If you don’t feel any resistance, make sure the end of the cylinder is screwed completely tight to ensure no air is escaping. Next, give the handle a firm slap with the palm of your hand. Slide the handle back out and look for a small amount of smoke or glowing, then slowly transfer it using the end of a knife to your tinder bundle or char cloth. I highly recommend having larger pieces of char cloth available to be ignited using the smaller ember, then transfer the larger ignited char cloth embers to your tinder bundle.
This process does take a little practice, but it’s more about having a great tinder bundle ready along with some larger pieces of char cloth to be successful. One thing I did not mention in my video below is that if you unscrew the end of the handle from the pump cylinder you will find a ferro rod that can be used for additional help in getting a fire started.