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Letter Re: The Value of a Magnifying Glass

I have been a reader, and sometimes commentator, of your blog for some years. I have read all kinds of ideas on what should be carried for all kinds of bad things happening scenarios. One thing I have rarely seen mentioned is the simplest and cheapest fire starter around: a magnifying glass [1].

No moving parts. No fancy training. Hardly any space required. Less that $10 in any drugstore as a “reading glass.”

I have one that is 4” diameter by ½” thick one that I have carried, unprotected, in my coat pocket for over 30 years.
It has a lot of scratches on it. It will still get a pile of dry leaves into open flame in less than a minute, regardless of the air temperature.

I also carry in my back pack, in a simple manila folder, an 8 1/2 x 11 “Full Page Magnifier Fresnel Lens” [2] It doesn’t provide the pin point hot spot that the glass lens does, but that can be an advantage if your target is damp. The larger “hot spot” seems to dry out a larger area before it gets to the ignition point. That larger area gives the flame more to work on when it ignites.

I don’t think there is any excuse not to carry either one, or both, on you at all times. – KBS