Survival Tins - Updates

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TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,878
857
Vantaa, Finland
Seems like paraffin wax is the highest energy commonly found solid fuel. The problem might be that it needs a wick to burn and light easily. Some testing on best type of wicks is in order.
 
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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
9,249
2,057
McBride, BC
Inuit people light, heat and cook over elongate seal blubber quilliq (kudlik)
soapstone fire dishes. As the fat melts from the first flame, wick after wick is lit in the elongate trough-like stone dish. Like paraffin wax, the fat solidifies for convenient transport when needed. Any hydrocarbon organic will yield more energy that alcohols can. Hence the use of animal fat. Very stinky but at -30C, I'll never object.
The best wick material is some sort of lichen, not "reindeer moss" per se but similar to that. I've used our local cotton grass and also spruce twigs smashed to fiber as similar to candle wick. Neither lasts very long (30 minutes) before being consumed.
If you want to do local experiments, I'd collect and dry some foliose or fruticose lichen which could be fashioned into a wick-like object.
 
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neoaliphant

Settler
Aug 24, 2009
582
139
Somerset
Seems like paraffin wax is the highest energy commonly found solid fuel. The problem might be that it needs a wick to burn and light easily. Some testing on best type of wicks is in order.

The the tests I did a few pages back found parafin to be very fuel efficient, but i think the wicks I had were too big and it made a huge amount of smoke. Carboard in a tapering cycliner in a tealight case, and makeup pads soaked in wax, im wondering if half a makeup pad, made in to a cone might be better and keep adding more as needed.....
 
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neoaliphant

Settler
Aug 24, 2009
582
139
Somerset
Handy tip, for anyone with a sawyer squeeze or micro, the 64oz water bag that comes with it, if you get a normal bottle cap from something else, drill 6 or so small holes, plus 1 in the centre, get an old biro ink tube, cut the end off, glue in place in to the centre hole, this alows the water bag to be used as a shower, lasts about 80-90 seconds, the small tube draws air in above the outlet line to keep up the flow of water.
 
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neoaliphant

Settler
Aug 24, 2009
582
139
Somerset
Ive changed my kit...again...

after various commenst on this thread, im now using my trangia tin as my survival tin (same as greencraft and prepared pathfinder) and have changed my car kit from 40L molle tactical pack to a spare 55L backpack, the molle bags always stick out so far at the back, but they are more for storage than carrying any distance.
 
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Limey Pete

Tenderfoot
Jun 20, 2021
57
38
55
pnom, penh
It is worth remembering that the bic type lighter, that some include in their survival supplies, is also available with a built in torch.
They are usually disposable, but I found one which allowed a change of batteries, and the facility to refuel.
A tip I discovered is: If the "nib" is cut down the flame can be increased to two inches.
Handy for fires that will not light.
 
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Minotaur

Native
Apr 27, 2005
1,282
83
Birmingham
Inuit people light, heat and cook over elongate seal blubber quilliq (kudlik)
soapstone fire dishes. As the fat melts from the first flame, wick after wick is lit in the elongate trough-like stone dish. Like paraffin wax, the fat solidifies for convenient transport when needed. Any hydrocarbon organic will yield more energy that alcohols can. Hence the use of animal fat. Very stinky but at -30C, I'll never object.
The best wick material is some sort of lichen, not "reindeer moss" per se but similar to that. I've used our local cotton grass and also spruce twigs smashed to fiber as similar to candle wick. Neither lasts very long (30 minutes) before being consumed.
If you want to do local experiments, I'd collect and dry some foliose or fruticose lichen which could be fashioned into a wick-like object.
I thought in England it was rushes that were used at the one end. We need someone who makes natural lights and candles who experiments with these things. I wonder what nettle sting used as a wick would be like? I bet this is one of those things that we do not know because no talked about it and there is no evidence left.
We could actually do with a series of threads on collecting historic knowledge on any make your own.
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
9,249
2,057
McBride, BC
I agree. This is frustrating trying to reinvent lost knowledge.
I've tried a few things. I thought that cotton grass ( fluffy white puff of very fine fiber at the plant tips (flowers?)) or smashed spruce twig fiber would be OK.
Twist it up very tightly, like cord.
But just like any modern candle wick, they are consumed by the flame.

Performing our own experiments is a very healthy thing to do. Then we know what to look for, what questions to ask, to move ahead. For the sake of convenience, I suppose that any hydrocarbon wax can represent our collective lack of seal blubber. What about rendered fat? Lard?

The Inuit of our far north would have had neither of those materials. But many kinds of lichens, ground mosses, are present in abundance as the principal feed for barren ground caribou. That allows me to ignore everything which grows around me as the biogeochemical districts are so very different.

I have had family in Dawson City, Yukon Territory for a long time. I will ask.
 

Minotaur

Native
Apr 27, 2005
1,282
83
Birmingham
Performing our own experiments is a very healthy thing to do. Then we know what to look for, what questions to ask, to move ahead. For the sake of convenience, I suppose that any hydrocarbon wax can represent our collective lack of seal blubber. What about rendered fat? Lard?
I think we did use animal fat. Our ancestors must have lived with nothing wasted. There is something else apart from animal fat and bees wax and for the life of me cannot remember it.
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
9,249
2,057
McBride, BC
I know that refrigerated animal fats are really quite hard, like lamb fat, for instance.
Bison fat , especially backstrap fat is much harder than beef fat ("tallow"?) What is lard? From pigs? I have met people who use the term "candle grease" for the modern melt wax drippings. I never asked. What is the "grease?"

Of course, up north in a Canadian arctic winter, every last damn thing you own will be rock-solid at -20C. Frozen door locks and dead truck batteries. Nothing goes wrong until the worst nights of winter.

So extinguishing a kudliq to pack up and travel, the blubber fat ought to solidify to the point that spilling any was not an issue.
 

TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,878
857
Vantaa, Finland
This must have come up before: why a survival tin? In military context I can understand it but in civilian activities when does one lose all things so that a survival tin is necessary. Normally when I am trekking I already have most things double in my back pack and coat pockets.

I don't carry any food in my pockets but fire lighting and knives are on my person. In Finland if I have a map and compass I am at the most one day's walking away from a road, mostly a few hours. I know I can easily live a few days without food and here water is always available.

Keeping warm can be a challenge at times but a tin does not really solve that if I am not properly dressed for the occasion.

My "tin" has some special medication, first aid, fire lighting, a small compass and a small edge in case I have really F****D up and need to "escape". At the moment I am considering the various options for energy bars in case I have goofed my navigation too.
 

Minotaur

Native
Apr 27, 2005
1,282
83
Birmingham
This must have come up before: why a survival tin? In military context I can understand it but in civilian activities when does one lose all things so that a survival tin is necessary. Normally when I am trekking I already have most things double in my back pack and coat pockets.

I don't carry any food in my pockets but fire lighting and knives are on my person. In Finland if I have a map and compass I am at the most one day's walking away from a road, mostly a few hours. I know I can easily live a few days without food and here water is always available.

Keeping warm can be a challenge at times but a tin does not really solve that if I am not properly dressed for the occasion.

My "tin" has some special medication, first aid, fire lighting, a small compass and a small edge in case I have really F****D up and need to "escape". At the moment I am considering the various options for energy bars in case I have goofed my navigation too.
LOL yes I said it I think.
Think of a survival tin as your everyday carry in the middle of nowhere and it what you want when you have just watched your rucksack sail down a cliff. I think it includes everything on your person and not just what is in the tin.
 

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