questionsis a (camping & hunting) survival flint a must…

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@rlapid2112: Yep, it makes a lot of smoke you probably don't want to breathe (sounds like a BlendTec video; "Wool smoke, don't breathe that."), but works very well.

I've made a lot of smoke using a bow and drill, but never a fire yet.

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@ndcouch: not if you shoot the ranger.

I use a lighter for camping, the flint is for survival situations.

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@kamikazeken: i always carry a gun when camping, but unfortunately, in SC if you're on state land that isn't designated for hunting, you can get the crap fined out of you

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^ or you could just shoot one of the sheeple and take his firestarter.

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I usually just pry the slug out of any shell casing and use some gunpowder (a very small amount) cupped in a small scrap of paper and the fire starts right up. Any good survival/escape pack should have plenty of ammo for this. And a firearm.

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@ndcouch: Good call, hadn't thought of that, but I've seen something similar. Store that mixture in pieces of egg carton and you get a little more fuel with less mess. Or use wax (from those little cheeses) to get a slower burn.

@cruelnv: The deal with knives is that if you need to do any serious hacking, you won't want to be using your pocket knife (or whatever your preferred flavor). You can pick up a "pocket saw" for a couple bucks that's a bit slow, but incredibly light. For general application, Survivorman swears by Leathermans, but I just carry a 3" single-blade locking knife that serves me fine. Of course, my adventures have never involved dismantling a car in the desert...

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@trahentis: Cotton balls with petroleum jelly on them or squirt hand sanitizer on them if you have it.

@ndcouch: Make sure it is cotton lint, synthetic lint tends to just sort of melt.

@rhodesbe: Use the back (spine) of the knife or the handy attached striker. I use a crap knife on these so I'm not worried about dulling the edge.

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@trahentis: this sounds gross, but if you are a camper or hiker the best thing you can do is to clean out your lent trap on your dryer. put it in a baggie with a good seal, and put a bunch of vasaline in it and work it around. just tiny pinch is enough to start a fire and it lights very easily. keep that in your pack double sealed and starting a fire is a piece of cake. you can also use the excess vasaline to seal any small cuts or abrasions, helping keep infection away.

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@jimmyd103 But don't forget that matches will run out. ;)

... so instead just "survive" near a match factory. Clearly it's the best option...

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If you're talking about surviving for a long time on minimal supplies, then yes, a flint is very handy to have. They can be very tricky though and take a lot of getting used to (if you want to actually make a fire instead of pretty lights). For the casual hiking/camping trip, however, it's best to use other means, and carry the flint as backup. (I personally like stormproof matches)

@rhodesbe I agree. A knife is a very versatile, easy-to-carry piece of equipment, but you should be sure to buy a quality one. Many knives listed as "survival" knives, well, aren't. If it's something that you want to last for an extended period of time, you'll probably want a stainless steal blade (so it doesn't corrode... if you want to spend more money, go with something like S30V) that's about 4-5 inches long and has enough heft to do some light chopping, but not so much that it can't easily be controlled. Also, be sure it's a full-tang with a solid handle (storage compartments sacrifice durability).

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I sure hope you can. They're useful in relatively few circumstances, but they cost and weigh practically nothing and are a cool gadget to have around. Worth getting for most people because of that.

If you're ever trying to use one, the hardest part is getting the spark to stick. My advice is to bring a couple cotton balls; they'll catch the spark the first time and light right up.

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@loubriccant: Thanks, but with my luck, my teeth would blow up.

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Every thirty-something, slightly overweight, smartphone having American views the 'survival knife' as a key piece of equipment to have when the SHTF.

They pay no regard to the fact the blade itself is made of leaded jewelry slag and that they can grind on the flint until it is dust before they master the concept, but hey... they're prepped!

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@loubriccant: Damn, that's a good one. Alas, it will only be replaced in 6 months by Firewire.

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the most important survival tool is your own pee. drink it as often as possible

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They sell so well because the price keeps getting slashed due to the impending release of Flint 2.0.

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@jimmyd103: Correct, I'm just missing a light pair of running shoes and my escape bag is complete. As for the flints, they are a good, cheap 'what if' item to have in the car or first aid kit.

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@drunkcajun: Ohh it's a zombie disaster kit item. Makes some sense.