Free USA Shipping On Orders Over $150

Fat Rope Stick

by Brian Griffin February 26, 2018

Fat Rope Stick

Whenever atmospheric conditions are such that you have both the liquid and solid forms of water happening in your environment simultaneously, certain precautions should be taken if you plan or need to be outside for extended periods of time. Cold temps combined with wet conditions can create a perilous situation for those caught out in it but unprepared for it. The normal temperature of the human body is 98.6 F / 37 C. Hypothermia sets in when the temperature drops below 95 F / 35 C, a drop of only a few degrees. This drop can happen very quickly in cold wet conditions.


Fat Rope Stick - Brian GriffinThere haven't always been many options for tinder materials that worked well in wet conditions, available commercially. The ones that were available at outfitters during the 70s and 80s were various chemical compounds, which came with more a lot more health warnings than uses. but that is not the case these days. One of the latest ones to hit the market  is Fat Rope Stick™.  Fat Rope is cotton rope that has been impregnated with a proprietary high gasification compound. It is hydrophobic so doesn't absorb water, and it doesn't evaporate. It is also listed of the Fat Rope website as being non toxic.


Fat Rope Stick - Brian GriffinThe way the fat rope is twisted together it separates into fibers very easily. Once you have cut off what you want to use for tinder, all it takes is a slight untwisting motion to separate the rope into the three smaller sections. Then that same untwisting motion will separate each of those into 11 smaller sections. Then repeating that same untwisting motion will separate each of those pieces into individual fibers. It's simple and actually fairly intuitive just looking at the configuration of the rope.


Fat Rope Stick - Brian GriffinOnce it has been separated into the individual strands, it is easy to  fashion it into a tinder nest, just make a pile of it and fluff up the strands. Separating the individual strands creates fuzzy fibers along them that take the sparks from a ferro rod really well, even in high humidity. I have tested the fat rope in the rain several times over the last 6 months. Sometimes starting with unopened sticks, sometimes with partial sticks left from previous outings. So far I have seen no noticeable difference between how well the new sticks work and how well the leftovers work. They both ignite equally easily.


Fat Rope Stick - Brian GriffinAs mentioned before, this material is hydrophobic so it will not absorb water. The fact that it will not absorb water is how it can catch the sparks from a ferro rod, ignite, and burn even in very wet environments. It is how it can burn even even when it floating on the surface of pool of very frigid water.


Fat Rope Stick - Brian GriffinBecause it is hydrophobic and will not adsorb water, it is a great tinder material to have along on waterborne or winter adventures. Because it would also burn in a pool of very frigid water even if you have just climbed, soaking wet and shivering, out of an bigger frigid pool of water.


Fat Rope Stick - Brian GriffinAs a life-long student of field craft and survival studies, I will probably always prefer to use organic materials under ideal conditions. Yet thanks to some of those studies and experiments, and some lessons learned the hard way, I can definitely appreciate the ability to create fire on command, even in the wettest of conditions.




Brian Griffin
Brian Griffin

Author

Brian Griffin is a photographer, knife enthusiast, wilderness skills instructor, professional writer, author, outdoor gear research & development consultant, and knife designer. He has a long history of using and developing outdoor related tools and gear.



Leave a comment


Also in Articles

How to Make South African Style Biltong: Beef Jerky Doesn't Compare
How to Make South African Style Biltong: Beef Jerky Doesn't Compare

by Kevin Estela August 15, 2018

Dried meat has been a staple of the outdoorsman’s diet for thousands of years. From one culture to the next, indigenous people have found ways to preserve meat for the long trail, as an emergency energy source, or the occasional snack. Recently, while on safari in South Africa, I had the opportunity to learn more about the national variety, biltong, from my friend and Professional Hunter, Russ Field. Since Russ is responsible for harvesting wild game on a regular basis and hunts well over 200 days a year, you can be certain there is a healthy supply of this dried meat at his lodge, in the safari truck, and at lunch. The process is extremely simple and the end result is only a week’s wait away.

Read More

Resilience
Resilience

by Brian Griffin August 01, 2018 5 Comments

Knife makers, as well as the makers of many other tools, started looking into synthetic materials shortly after the turn of the 20th century. The goal being to make their tools easier to produce and less environmentally sensitive. The best evidence of when this practice became more widely available and less cost prohibitive can be seen in government issued military equipment from around the globe. Military personnel have to be able to function in any environment and in any weather, in order to be effective in their duties. In WW-I most of the furniture on tools and weapons; rifle stocks, bayonet handle scales, shovel handles, etc. was still being made of wood as they had been for centuries. By WW-II much of the wood had been replaced with plastics. By the 1960s most of the wooden furniture had been replaced with synthetic materials and blades made of corrosion resistant alloys were being developed and issued.

Read More

Cleaning Fish with the Fiddleback Forge F2
Cleaning Fish with the Fiddleback Forge F2

by Kevin Estela July 24, 2018

The Fiddleback Forge F2 is Andy Roy’s interpretation of a fish and fowl knife. It has a featherlight blade with a fine edge that is exceptionally nimble in hand and perfect for processing both fish and small game. When this knife came out, I knew I had to have one as I find myself fishing and hunting birds more than I do large game and this knife seemed ideal. It doesn’t add much weight to the pack and it is purpose built. I received my desert ironwood F2 with only a few days before leaving for South Africa on safari where it would get a really thorough field test. [...] The next morning, I took a trip to my favorite local fishing hole and came up with two rainbow trout that would taste great for lunch. Just as I started to clean the first, I had an epiphany and came up with this “how to clean a fish” instructional for the Fiddleback Forge website.

Read More

Knives & News

Sign up with your favorite email.