A smart way to start a fire in an emergency with your credit card magnifier

Published: 15th December 2009
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It is always a great idea have multiple ways of starting a fire on you at all times. Matches may run or a lighter could leak or fail. The Fresnel lens is a flat credit card sized magnifier which is especially handy because it is small enough to fit in a wallet, purse or fanny pack survival kit. It can be carried in your auto, back pack emergency kit or a wilderness survival kit of any shape or size. The lens is a multipurpose tool that can be used to read small type, which makes it handy for us older folks, magnify flowers for identification, read a map or to start a fire. The Fresnel lens was invented in 1822 by Augustin Jean Fresnel (1788-1827). Fresnel's original lens was first used in a lighthouse on a river. In the last forty years or so, with the advance of optical-quality plastics, and compression and injection molding techniques have made the lenses small, cheap and easy to carry with you.

The ease of starting a fire with a Fresnel lens card magnifier is similar to using a regular magnifying glass. You can find or carry a small amount of dry, fluffy tinder, like the dry inner bark of a dead cottonwood tree, dry grass, grass rope, and even strands of cotton from an old bed sheet if they are separated into individual fibers. Then focus the sunlight through the lens on the tinder to start it smoldering. You will see a bright spot from the sun and focusing it to the smallest spot will give you the most intense heat and start the fire faster. When you have a glowing ember, and then gently blow on it to make it grow hotter until it ultimately bursts into flame. Card magnifiers only work when the sun is shining they may not produce enough heat to start a fire on cloudy days but they can save your matches and bail you out and they are permanent. Dry tender can be found or made and he lens will work just as well dry or wet so falling into a stream will not affect it.

The credit cared size Fresnel Lens Fire Starter is a great back up fire starter and will fit practically anywhere. It is small, flat, light and cheap. Some practice is required and of course, one needs a sunny day for it to work. If you ever started something smoldering with a magnifying glass when you were a kid then you have the idea and see how easy it can be to do it. We do not recommend the Fresnel lens as a primary fire starting tool, but as an addition to an already supplied kit. It is so easy to carry with you and a valuable tool in its own right. The small lens we recommend is a Fresnel lens is made of optical plastic is .4mm think and weighs 5.5 grams less than a quarter of an ounce. In short, it is the size of a very thin credit card. The Fresnel Lens Fire Starter comes with a red protective case

Size: 2" x 3.25" (lens) Size: 3.63" x 2.38" (inside the protective plastic case) we carry them for only $3 for one or $5 for two including shipping.

If you want to learn more neat tips and how to survive in an emergency visit us at

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