Saturday, July 3, 2010

Stove ignition

Here are some perspectives regarding methods of lighting a Coleman stove.

There are at least three ways to light your stove.  Using a match is the most obvious.  Matches have drawbacks.  The next is what we call a "clicker."  It's a butane thingie that's "point and shoot."  These have drawbacks, too.  The third is a device that lights a welder's cutting torch.  We call it a "sparker."  Its drawbacks are fewer than either of the above and it's what we use to light the stove.  It's major drawback is that it doesn't work when it's wet.  However, as long as we keep it dry, it works great.  The main drawback of matches is that you have to get your hand too close to the burner plate to make them work.  Also, high humidity can making striking a match a real guessing game.  If the match heads are damp, forget it.  The clickers are great but they've become less reliable over the years.  You never know when one of them will up and die.  Typically they die in secret just before your camping trip.  You get to camp only to find out your clicker is DOA.  Even carrying two or 3 clickers sometimes will not solve this vexing issue of Sudden Clicker Death Syndrome.  That's why we prefer the sparker.  We do ALWAYS keep at least two stashes of matches tucked into various boxes.  It would be crazy to leave home without matches!  We keep the matches in their own zip lock bags to seal out humidity.  damp matches are worthless.  The nice thing about the sparker is that it's virtually bombproof and can't accidentally start a fire by itself.  You can throw it inside the stove and it's always there.  Matches somehow take on a life of their own, sprout legs and walk away to unknown, mysterious locations.  Matches and socks are probably related in a way that is poorly understood.
I have become so exasperated with clickers I can't even stand the sight of them any more.  They work really great when you really aren't depending on them.  But when the chips are down, clickers will leave you stranded beside the road.  Their fickleness is very frustrating.  If I could find a reliable clicker, I would change my mind but the words "reliable clicker" are a classic oxymoron.

I haven't priced out sparkers recently, nor would I even know where to buy one in Idaho Falls.  I presume I could find one at a welding shop.  I will look around and obtain some prices.  Well, that was easy--Amazon sells them!  Click here to see the listing.

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