EXOTAC nanoSPARK Gear Review
I always carry at least two methods of making fire with me. Both in preparation for the unexpected and for work. I never know when I might need to make fire, for example; when filming, a director might ask for a fire to be built on the spot or for the original location we planned for making fire may move so as well as carrying the ignition with me I will also always be on the look out for tinder and fuel.
It is amazing how often standard lighters break and I rely on techniques that are waterproof and ‘Meg proof’ ie they live up to the demands of my lifestyle and the environments I visit and a lack of TLC in the field. Yes, it is important to look after your kit in the field but when you are under pressure and moving fast there is not always the time to maintain more sensitive kit. Hence all the equipment I use is as fail proof as possible.
I have recently been field testing some fire starters from EXOTAC. I think I have just embarked on a new love affair.
What is it?
This is a compact waterproof Firestarter that works like a flint and steel.
How does it work?
A small wheel acts like a flint and steel creating sparks which will ignite tinder. The small flint is replaceable and the body of the lighter has a compartment for storing tinder. I have been using EXOTAC quickLIGHTs but you could also store cotton wool soaked in Vaseline or similar inside if you ran out of the quickLIGHTS. The compartment is waterproof, having a rubber O ring seal to stop water getting in even when submerged.
What do I think?
My first impressions of this was the quality. The body is CNC machined aluminium which feels rugged and robust. This looks and feels like a solid bit of kit. It has a hole on the side for attaching to a key chain which I have put paracord through so I can wear it round my neck so as not to lose it inside my bag.
Each time I thought, ‘it would be so much better if…’ I realised EXOTAC had already premepted me. The spring inside to push the flint up as it wears down, the fact the flint is replaceable, the o ring to waterproof the housing. The fact you can use this one handed and with gloves on. The way the spark is easy to direct onto tinder and is a concentrated column rather than random spray makes it much more efficient than I was expecting.
I submerged the nanoSPARK and left it underwater for about half an hour. I then took it out and used the spark to light the quickLIGHT I had stored inside it. Neither the flint and steel nor the tinder were waterlogged or any less effective.
The colour is aesthetically pleasing. It comes in 4 different colours, I chose the green because I love more natural colours but the orange is a much better colour for spotting on the forest floor should you drop it.
Aside from the incredible attention to detail, what I truly love about this lighter is the fact that it does not require lighter fuel which makes it a travel friendly companion.
In the initial trialling which involved some pretty heavy handed use, absolutely not. What I will be interested to see is how fast the flint and the wheel wear down. The flint is pretty tiny but is replaceable, for longer, more remote trips ( I am talking more than a week here) you would do better with the EXOTAC fireROD.
This is a super durable Firestarter, well thought out. Perfect for a range of activities from bushcraft and survival to camping. The perfect accompaniment on temperate and wetter adventures.
Where do I buy it?