Gear Review: Coghlan’s Fire Disc

DSCN0005If you’re like me, someone who appreciates a fire but isn’t exactly a firebug when it comes to starting them, you’re likely to enjoy the Coghlan‘s Fire Disc.

It’s a cunning little bit of wizardry that combines sawdust and wax into a hockey-puck type of package that’s eminently portable and practical.

I had a chance to give the disc a thorough tryout on Good Friday, when a friend and I went on a 10-kilometre snowshoe hike over the hills of the northwest Arctic Circle in the Mackenzie River delta. Yup, snowshoe season is still in full flight here, and might continue into May, although it’s getting iffier by the day.

We stopped about halfway up a path we had broken two nights before on a marathon hike that finished at 1 am under the still-daylight skies of the fast-approaching Midnight Sun. We picked a small clearing, strewn with the remnants of the forest fire some years before, and started to gather up some of the burned wood.

We stopped several times to evaluate our supply, and went on gathering more of the charred but still burnable wood. We placed the fire disc at the bottom of the pile, layered with dead twigs on top, and set about lighting it.

1424single-smallThat’s when we stumbled on a surprising development. The fire disc, it turned out, was nowhere near as flammable as we expected.

It took several tries with a cigarette lighter to strike up a spark, but after that, the disc burned nicely and steadily and was more than sufficient to set the wood on fire. Sometimes with fire-making, slow and steady does win the race.

Once it was lit, we had no more than a few minutes wait before we began barbecuing some hot dogs. The fire continued to burn steadily for the hour or so we were there, gradually melting the snow around us.

Luckily, with four feet of snow on the ground, there was virtually no chance of causing any kind of forest fire.

We quickly devoured the package of hot dogs before covering it up and moving on, quite satisfied with the results of the disc, which can be used in one piece or broken apart.

I’d certainly consider buying a supply of them for my time out in the bush here, as they are one of the most convenient things I’ve found for starting a fire.

For more information on Coghlan’s Fire Discs, visit

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