4Directions Bushcraft is owned and operated by Chris and Tawny Deslo. They are based in Missouri and all of their tinder products are locally sourced on their own land. They take great care in preserving resources, which is admirable.
They recently sent over a few of their products for evaluation. I’ll tell you up front, I’m impressed.
Fatwood Fire Steel
First up is their Fatwood Fire Steel. This thing is huge! The fatwood handle is about 7 inches long and about 2 inches wide at the thickest point. The ferro rod adds another 4 inches or so to the total length. It also has a paracord lanyard and 4Directions Bushcraft carabiner. I don’t know where they are sourcing their ferro rods but this one gives off a larger and thicker shower of sparks than any other ferro rod I’ve ever used. Seriously, this thing is like the 4th of July when I run the spine of my LT Wright GNS knife down it. The rod is ½” thick and will definitely last a while.
The downside, though, is that the Fatwood Fire Steel is big and heavy, enough so that I’d probably not pack it in a bug out bag. The fatwood is nice to have with the ferro rod, so you’ll always have a bit of tinder with you. Tell you what, though. In a pinch, you could probably brain someone with it.
4Directions Bushcraft does sell the ferro rods without the fatwood handles.
One Time Fire
The One Time Fire is an all-natural fire starter all packaged up and ready to light. It arrives in a small cotton bag, which makes it easy to store in your pack or kit. I didn’t pull it all apart but on the surface it is birch bark and I believe jute twine.
One spark from the ferro rod, that’s all it took. Just a single spark and this thing lit up. It burned for easily ten full minutes. It burned hot and fierce, too. If you were dealing with damp tinder and kindling, this would likely do the trick.
This is a large, 8”x10” cotton sack filled to bursting with over a dozen types of natural tinder. Included types of tinder: pine needles, grass, cattail, thistle, fatwood, milkweed, moss, and cedar, among other materials. This is a very large, very stuffed bag of fire waiting to burn. Yet, for as large as it is, the Tinder Mixer isn’t all that heavy. Tinder is light, of course.
What I plan to do is repackage the contents into smaller bags to spread around to my various kits. While these natural materials can be easily found in the wild, Murphy’s Law dictates that the one time you really, absolutely need a fire, everything will be damp. Having a stash of this stuff could make a big difference.
I don’t know what the heck goes into these fire starters but they burn hot and for a long time. They are roughly the size of half-dollar and weigh nothing. They are waxy, of course, but I’m not sure what else goes into the mix. I tried lighting one with the ferro rod but nothing doing. Then, I broke the wax round in half to expose the inner material. One spark and it lit right up. I left it sitting on a piece of bark to time the burn. After about 7 minutes, a stiff breeze blew out the flame. Up until then, though, the flames were steady, hot, and high.
What I really like about these wax rounds is how small they are relative to the amount of flame they produce. Toss a handful of them into an Altoids tin or other small container with a butane lighter or small ferro rod and you’ll have guaranteed fire for a week or more.
They also included a tin of their Jewelweed salve. It smells great. However, I’ve not yet had the need to use it. The salve is designed and intended for use against skin irritation from bug bites, poison ivy, and burns.
All in all, like I said at the outset, I’m impressed. 4Directions Bushcraft is a family owned and operated business and they are doing one heck of a good job providing a variety of fire starting products that would be excellent additions to your various packs and kits. Their prices are fair, too, which is always nice to find.