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Reviews > Cook and Food Storage Gear > Cooking Accessories > DIY Campfire Blow Pipe > Owner Review by joe schaffer

DIY Blow Pipe

Owner Review by Joe Schaffer

May 10, 2018
NAME: Joe Schaffer
EMAIL: never2muchstuff(at)yahoo(dot)com
AGE: 70
HOME:  Bay Area, California USA

     I enjoy California's central Sierras, camping every month with a goal to match my age in nights out each year. For comfort I lug tent, mattress, chair and such. Typical summer trips run 5-8 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food and water related; about 5 miles (8 km) per hiking day in the bright and sunny granite in and around Yosemite. I winter base camp most often at 6,000 to 7,000 ft (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lb (23 kg); a mile or so (1.6 km) on snowshoes.

Product: blow pipe unwrappedCampfire blow pipe

My Specs: 
       Weight: 1 1/8 oz (34 g)
       Length: 26 in (66 cm)  extended
       Length: 8 3/4 in (22 cm) stowed
       Diameter: about 3/4 in (2 cm) stowed
       Metal tube diameter: 0.33 in (8.5 mm)
       Flex tube diameter: 3/8 in (9.5 mm)
Cost:  About $8 US to buy a tent pole splint and a length of surgical tubing.

First Use: 2014

My Description:
   Pictured is a 19 in (48 cm) length of surgical tubing attached to an eight inch (20 cm) piece of salvaged tent pole. Stowed picture shows flex tubing wrapped around the tent tube, held in place by a rubber band. The metal tube goes to the fire; the flex tube to the mouth.
Field Conditions:
    I tote this device most often when conditions may be wet enough to have trouble starting a robust campfire or keeping it going.

Not uncommonly it happens that a fire will start but flicker lamely in wet fuel. Or I've fallen asleep in my chair and let the fire burn down to coals and I need a charge of new fuel to catch quickly before the drool freezes on my chin. The fire needs air.
    A Frisbee makes for a good fan and quick workout to warm up, but it blows ash everywhere and the level of exertion that must be maintained can easily exceed one's motivation. Leaning forward to blow directly in the fire can cause a similar if somewhat less volcanic result. It is even possible to stick one's nose close enough to where the burst of air needs to go that one's hair drops into the hot spot, an event that can liven the evening if not otherwise accomplish the desired result. Also the temptation to inhale after an exhausting exhale can lead to further complications if one forgets to wait until far enough away from the heat and smoke.

    The blow pipe solves all issues. This invention is so simple even I might have thought of it, but the credit is not mine. My occasional camp mate Don Pyro masterminded the device. I like how well it works to concentrate a desired amount of air flow directly to a specific spot in the fuel load. My head is far enough away from the fire not to burn off any hair, which I can ill afford to lose. No ash gets blown into my eyes and no smoke up the nose. Nobody curses me for fanning a bunch of char into their ramen. And perhaps most notably, it keeps even wet wood burning for those campers of a mind to sit in the rain blowing on a campfire instead of going into the tent to read a magazine. Keeping the fire going until a bed of coals will sustain it is much easier with this device than fanning or huffing and puffing.

    Though this particular section of tent pole isn't, the splint that comes in many tent packages (or can be sourced from a camping gear store) would be a logical piece to use, as it then has a double purpose. (I don't care about that as I don't break tent poles.) I always like the idea of having a piece of surgical tubing for its many contrived uses; though some of my hydration hoses can serve the purpose as well. In fact, on one occasion a rodent masticated a hose into rubbish and surgical tubing came to the rescue.

    The next iteration of this piece of backpacking gear art may be to engineer a connection to the THERM-A-REST battery operated NeoAir mattress pump. Hmmm.

Quick shots:
    a) light
    b) small
    c) effective

Read more gear reviews by joe schaffer

Reviews > Cook and Food Storage Gear > Cooking Accessories > DIY Campfire Blow Pipe > Owner Review by joe schaffer

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