I recently purchased a fire piston from campfirepiston.com. This is my first experience using a fire piston, so I wanted to do a review of the product and share my thoughts regarding the quality of the product, level of difficulty in using it and what role I think it should play in peoples’ kits. I’d first like to say that Mike at campfirepiston.com was quick to get back to me with some questions I had and immediately shipped my fire piston upon my placing the order (arrived in two days). On top of the great customer service, he even included a second fire piston for me to do a giveaway for my readers! I’ll give the details on how one of you can win your fire piston at the end of this post.
I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the product. It is solidly built and the fit and finish is excellent. In addition to the fire piston itself, there are two extra o-rings and a package of char-cloth included. This fire piston costs around $25.00 which is about half the price of others that I have looked at. So I would definitely give campfirepiston.com an A+ in quality, customer service and value.
Now I have seen fire pistons used by others, but have never tried one before in my life. The concept seems very simple, but I’ve screwed up “simple” many times so I was a little apprehensive about trying it for the first time and didn’t have very high expectations. Basically, you are just placing tinder or char-cloth in the well of the piston, compressing the air in the cylinder which in turn heats the char-cloth and creates an ember. I didn’t have the time to go out and do a video so y’all could watch me blow an ember into flame in the great outdoors yet, but I also couldn’t wait to try out my new toy… So I immediately opened her up and tried her out! Did I get an ember on my first try? Not exactly. I just put some char-cloth in and started banging away. I would get small embers, but that was about it. Then my girlfriend (who was reading the instructions) asked if I had lubed up the o-ring. Oops! I grabbed my chapstick and put some on the o-ring, gave her a smack (the fire piston, folks) and Eureka! I had a perfect coal. Every time since, I’ve gotten a coal from it as well. Anyone can produce an ember with this product. So much easier than a friction fire! I again, have to give an A+ for the ease of use.
So what place does a fire piston have in a kit? In my opinion, it is strictly a back up fire making tool. My primary fire starter will always be a lighter, followed by a ferro rod as my secondary. The fire piston fits my kit as a back up and comes way before friction fire. I love to start fire using primitive methods, but feel that in a survival situation they just add more stress to an already stressful setting. While I feel that primitive fire making is a good skill to practice in case no other method is available, I just don’t think that people should rely on it. That being said, I believe that the fire piston is a fantastic way to introduce someone to primitive fire making methods. It gives you the ember (very easily) to place into a tinder bundle to get the feel of blowing that ember into a flame. Friction fires can be very frustrating to learn. Imagine working so hard to get an ember or a coal, then immediately having to learn the new skill of giving that ember or coal what it needs to grow into flames. The fire piston removes the physical and mental exertion (as well as the blisters and cramping hands) of producing the ember and gives you the opportunity to teach both parts of primitive fire making separately. I feel that this would result in less frustration and anxiety in the student which in turn may give them more confidence in conquering what is a very difficult task for most people. I think that the fire piston is a great tool for scoutmasters, teachers and survival instructors.
If you would like to try out a fire piston for yourself, you can click on the ad for www.campfirepiston.com on the upper right hand side of this page (I am an affiliate and I do receive payments for orders made from this site. If you’d rather I not make money from your purchase, then just go to their site and order directly from them.) or you can go to the Fire Piston Giveaway page and enter for a chance to win. You can gain two extra entries for every referral that enters by sharing the giveaway on Facebook and Twitter as well. The winner will be selected on 5-15-15 and announced here on the site and notified by e-mail. This will be the first giveaway here on the site and I’d like to thank Mike at www.firepiston.com for making it possible!