Coghlan’s Flint Striker and Tarp Clips Review

Posted by admin On April - 14 - 2010

When it comes to hitting the outdoors, there are just some items that can’t be left behind, even if you’re just planning on being out for a short trip.

I’ve long had several must-have items in my packs when I’m out hunting, fishing or just hiking. The most important has always been a first-aid kit. The second most important is something to start a fire with.

Matches, in my experience, have proven to be fairly ineffective at this task. If they get wet, they’re done for. If you can’t get your kindling to light, it burns to your fingers and you end up dropping it or blowing it out. Lighters are inconsistent and can be too easily damaged. That’s why I’ve always carried a flint striker with me.

The operation is simple. Find some dry leaves, grass and twigs (look under overhangs and trees if it’s raining) and pile them up. Use the striker on the flint and sparks will rain down. Several strikes will almost always result in your fire starting to crackle. Give it some space and a little air and when the flames burst to life, just feed it fuel like wood, leaves, dry grass, etc. You’ve made a fire, congratulations. More importantly, you now have a signal light, a heat source, some place to sterilize your water and a place to cook your food. Fire, despite what dogs think, has long been humanity’s best friend.

Recently I had the chance to try out a new flint striker. I’ve long carried fairly generic brands that have worked when needed, but the opportunity to try a new product is never wasted on me. This particular brand is Coghlan, known for their outstanding camping and outdoors gear. The striker assembly is basic, with a metal striker used to run down the length of flint. It works extremely well, with the striker designed for maximum spark. Even in the spring, we were able to get a small fire cooking, though we were aided by unseasonably warm and dry weather in our testing area.

The flint works well with any kind of steel, even a knife blade. Simply strike it against the flint and sparks will fly.

It’s a great striker for the money, as you can see here at Ramsey Outdoors.

Since I was already out trying a Coghlan product, I decided to test another item they have in their catalog: tarp clips. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been out ice fishing or even duck hunting and had a flap of tarp that just would not stayed tied down. Enter the tarp clip from Coghlan. It’s small and compact, easily able to fit into a side pocket of a pack or in the glove box of your truck. There’s a hole in one end for tying it down and then jaws on the other end for clipping to your tarp.

The indication on the packaging of the tarps says that it can withstand up to 240 pounds of resistance and that the harder something applies pressure to the jaws, the tighter they grip.

Our test was rather unfair, to be honest, but after trying it out on a tarp set flat across a truck bed and driving down the road, we decided to really give it a thorough examination. We built a small sail and slit it upright on the back of the truck and went down the road. To its credit, the tarp clip didn’t give up. Despite hitting 55 miles per hour, the tarp clips did exactly as they were designed.

Of course we only had two clips, so the sail came crashing down when the tarp tore along the nail we had put through it to keep the sail together. That’s another beauty of these simple, yet effective, devices: You don’t have to damage your tarps to use them.

I will not be caught out with a tarp without having these around anymore. I was impressed with the design, the quality and the strength of the clips. You will be, too. They can be found at a good price here at PCS Outdoors.

Being more of a hunter and less of a camper, I have not encountered very many Coghlan products, but I can safely say that I’ll be more keen on looking to them for quality gear. If you’re interested, here’s their product catalog to browse.

View More Coghlan Products

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