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UST ParaTinder Review

ParaTinder

We were at a local outdoors store and saw this ParaTinder. We were naturally intrigued since we like to carry as little gear as possible when back pack camping. Paracord and fire starting in one item? That’s what we’re talking about. We’re always up for testing new gear, so we picked up a pack. 

What’s inside:

Normally, this is where we tell you what’s inside the box when you purchase a product. Since this product is basically zip-tied to a cardboard card, we will talk about the make-up of the product. The cord itself is just a little thicker and more rigid than regular para cord (this is because of the tinder core). The nylon sheath of the ParaTinder is similar to regular para cord with the same 7 internal strands that para cord contains. These inner strands can be used for sewing, dental floss, fishing line, etc. The red inner tinder core is a waxy twisted type of flammable material. 

ParaTinder
The end of the ParaTinder

Testing the ParaTinder:

Our standard fire starting kit consists of flint & steel with some cotton balls in an Altoids tin. We decided to try lighting the ParaTinder with flint & steel as well as with a lighter. We typically use flint & steel because 1. you don’t have to worry about running out of fuel, & 2. it’s cooler! The UST website shows lighting the ParaTinder with a spark, so naturally, we had to try. The inner core is the flammable part so it needs to be separated from the rest of the cord to be used as tinder. We have read from other sources that you have to strip the waxy material from the strands to light. The UST website shows spark being applied to the core as if removed directly from the para cord. We tried both ways.

First way we tried was with the strands of the ParaTinder core separated and scraped of the waxy coating. We cut about 10″ from the core piece and separated all the strands and balled them up loosely. If a spark is going to work, our thoughts are that this method with more surface area will definitely help. We used the same UST StrikeForce they show on their website and recommend. We threw a whole bunch of really good sparks at the strands and they just didn’t light. There were a few embers, but the sparks just weren’t hot enough to light the strands.

ParaTinder
Waded up individual strands

ParaTinder

Next, we took the other 10″ of the ParaTinder core and, without separating the strands, balled it up loosely.  Again, we threw a bunch of sparks at the core and it didn’t light. This time, there weren’t even an embers as if it were thinking about lighting. Nothing. 

ParaTinder
Waded up core

Lastly, just to make sure it would light, we used our lighter on one of the ends and it lit just fine. The core burned pretty well. You could easily add some small kindling and have the start of a good fire. 

ParaTinder
It DOES burn well.

In Conclusion:

The UST ParaTinder burns well. It doesn’t light as well with a spark as it does with a lighter; but once it is burning, a decent fire could be made. Besides the tinder core, the 7 strands inside can always come in handy. We can see keeping this product in my pack for securing items in camp, a clothesline, or any other use for para cord you can think of. Knowing that if need be, we can separate the core and use it as tinder, is comforting as well. Keeping this in our pack out of the weather also ensures that we will have dry tinder at all times. 

If you wish to purchase your own ParaTinder, you can get it here.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.    

Here’s the video review we did for the ParaTinder:

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UST SparkForce Review

UST Fire starter

The UST (Ultimate Survival Technologies) SparkForce is the fire starter that I carry in my fire starting kit. I have used many different fire starters and find this to be one of the best ones out there.

UST SparkForce
My fire kit

The fire starting kit I carry (& I have multiple) consists of the UST SparkForce & some cotton balls in an old mint tin. I find the tin to be the perfect size and holds everything I need to start about 6 campfires. If you use something other than cotton balls, you may be able to fit more into the tin.

What I like:

The SparkForce is self contained. The cap contains the striker which means you don’t need to use your pocket knife. It is light. If you do any backpacking, weight is an issue; this won’t break your back! It is easy to find in your bag. If you don’t keep it in a tin, the bright orange color makes it easy to spot in your gear bag. It works. The Spark Force creates a spark hot enough to start a fire with a variety of tinder.
It is simple to use. 1. You simply open the case and hold the striker against the metal rod and apply pressure. 2. You pull back the metal rod releasing the sparks in a downward direction into your tinder.
You may need to do this a couple times if your tinder doesn’t ignite.

Bottom line:

The SparkForce is a great addition to any camping kit. It is lightweight, economical, and works well. If you don’t have one of these yet, or are considering one, do it! You won’t regret the decision. You can get yours here.