Letter Re: The Value of a Magnifying Glass

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013

JWR,
I have been a reader, and sometimes commentator, of your blog for some years. I have read all kinds of ideas on what should be carried for all kinds of bad things happening scenarios. One thing I have rarely seen mentioned is the simplest and cheapest fire starter around: a magnifying glass.

No moving parts. No fancy training. Hardly any space required. Less that $10 in any drugstore as a “reading glass.”

I have one that is 4” diameter by ½” thick one that I have carried, unprotected, in my coat pocket for over 30 years.
It has a lot of scratches on it. It will still get a pile of dry leaves into open flame in less than a minute, regardless of the air temperature.

I also carry in my back pack, in a simple manila folder, an 8 1/2 x 11 "Full Page Magnifier Fresnel Lens" It doesn’t provide the pin point hot spot that the glass lens does, but that can be an advantage if your target is damp. The larger “hot spot” seems to dry out a larger area before it gets to the ignition point. That larger area gives the flame more to work on when it ignites.

I don’t think there is any excuse not to carry either one, or both, on you at all times. - KBS


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