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#8033580 - 09/02/13 05:13 AM Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains?
bigwhoop Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 11/22/05
Posts: 12874
Loc: MN. - Where loons abound.
I've heard and read that this non external electric source of ignition is not reliable in the mountains - high altitude. I haven't read what is meant by "high altitude" though. Yet there are plenty of
items sold in the camping world that rely on this method.

So, what do others here have to say based on their experiences or other studies?


Edited by bigwhoop (09/02/13 05:15 AM)
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#8033605 - 09/02/13 05:27 AM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: bigwhoop]
Cocadori Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 05/15/11
Posts: 2279
Loc: SW Montana
I live at 4500 ASL this ignition method works but not the first time.. multiple clicks on most of the devices.

I do not rely on it any higher in altitude without question hit or miss and carry back-up sources.

I can't offer any reasoning why this is.
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#8033735 - 09/02/13 06:49 AM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: Cocadori]
smokepole Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 06/30/06
Posts: 13120
Loc: Colorado
If you're talking stoves, I don't like 'em because they add unecessary weight and I always have something handy to light a stove with. I can't imagine "reliability" ever becoming an issue since I would not rely on them.
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#8033820 - 09/02/13 07:27 AM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: bigwhoop]
KC Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 3921
Loc: Colorado Springs, Colorado USA
Those Piezo electric starters don't work at any altitude. They might work when you walk out of the store, and maybe even the first time that you try to use them, but they stop working as soon as you need to count on them. They are furnished on a lot of products because the manufacturer can raise the price of the product a little and unsuspecting first-time buyers are ignorant enough to pay a little extra to get that feature.

I live at 6,400' elevation and the Piezo electric starters on my lanterns don't work. They don't even work on the propane barbeque that sits on my patio.

KC

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#8033922 - 09/02/13 08:11 AM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: KC]
Okanagan Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 01/25/01
Posts: 3843
Interesting. First time I've heard of this and it is valuable to know.

How about on lighters? Even the specialty Stormproof Trekker survival lighter uses Piezo electric ignition. Do those quit working at altitude? I live about 150 feet ASL and and only occasionally hunt up to 6500.

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#8034036 - 09/02/13 08:55 AM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: Okanagan]
Cocadori Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 05/15/11
Posts: 2279
Loc: SW Montana
I had several the the "survival" "backpacker" lighters with the so called reliable fool proof ignition system..

ummm yeah.. well.. I'm the fool and it's proof they don't work...

I'm back to 2 bic lighters and water proof or strike anywhere matches.
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#8034107 - 09/02/13 09:22 AM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: Cocadori]
Orion2000 Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 04/09/11
Posts: 1688
Loc: Central KY
I used my JetBoil to heat water for lunch 2 or 3 times last year, between 10,500 and 11,500. One or two flicks of the Bic, and everything fires right off. Didn't even bother with the piezo. The piezo only works about 50% of the time sitting on my kitchen counter at 800 ASL. YMMV...
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#8034395 - 09/02/13 11:44 AM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: Orion2000]
Higbean Online   content
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 01/26/08
Posts: 2136
Loc: Durham, CA
I just got a Snow Peak Giga Power and it worked everytime at 7,000 feet last weekend. I really dig that little stove.


Edited by Higbean (09/02/13 11:44 AM)
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#8034685 - 09/02/13 01:45 PM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: Higbean]
Rock Chuck Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 01/05/06
Posts: 26192
Loc: Filer, ID
I've tried many different brands of hand held strikers. All work fine at home (4k feet) but won't work when camping at 6k or higher. I have yet to find one that works at high altitude.

Does ANYONE make a good old reliable flint striker anymore other than the torch type striker? Those are too hard to get under a stove burner.

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#8034921 - 09/02/13 03:40 PM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: Rock Chuck]
SnowyMountaineer Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 05/01/07
Posts: 1331
Loc: Western WY
I use a "Light my Fire" steel almost exclusively at any and all elevations and couldn't be happier.

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#8035023 - 09/02/13 04:24 PM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: SnowyMountaineer]
russ_outdoors Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 398
Loc: Utah
I've used piezo's at altitudes of up to 13k with no problems on my SP stove and am not aware of any reason it would be altitude dependent. From time-to-time I find I need to adjust to gap and location of the wire to keep it working reliably. Of course I always carry a lighter and matches as well just in case. A working piezo is a great convenience IMHE.

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#8035091 - 09/02/13 04:44 PM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: Rock Chuck]
Ed_T Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 12/11/04
Posts: 2603
Loc: Helena, MT
I have had poor luck with most all lighters but have never had any problem with Snow Peak or Soto stoves even at 10k.
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#8035107 - 09/02/13 04:49 PM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: Cocadori]
chlinstructor Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 04/09/11
Posts: 5818
Loc: TX
Originally Posted By: Cocadori
I had several the the "survival" "backpacker" lighters with the so called reliable fool proof ignition system..

ummm yeah.. well.. I'm the fool and it's proof they don't work...

I'm back to 2 bic lighters and water proof or strike anywhere matches.


^^^this^^^ The only two types of Lighters that work at altitude are Bics & Zippos! Don't wast your money on the so called "survival" lighters.
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#8035507 - 09/02/13 06:41 PM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: russ_outdoors]
deflave Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 08/16/07
Posts: 36351
Loc: Havre, Montana
Originally Posted By: russ_outdoors
I've used piezo's at altitudes of up to 13k with no problems on my SP stove and am not aware of any reason it would be altitude dependent. From time-to-time I find I need to adjust to gap and location of the wire to keep it working reliably. Of course I always carry a lighter and matches as well just in case. A working piezo is a great convenience IMHE.


Yep.



Travis

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#8035552 - 09/02/13 06:58 PM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: Higbean]
SCRUBS Offline
Member

Registered: 11/07/09
Posts: 227
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Higbean
I just got a Snow Peak Giga Power and it worked everytime at 7,000 feet last weekend. I really dig that little stove.


I recently used one for the first time, and it`s a great little stove. Mine is the manual start, it worked every time though grin . It`s more stable than our Pocket Rocket.
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#8035558 - 09/02/13 07:00 PM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: deflave]
bigwhoop Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 11/22/05
Posts: 12874
Loc: MN. - Where loons abound.
Well it certainly looks like most everyone relies on redundancy
so as to have reliable ignition. You pay a lot for those piezo's feature on a stove. I can only imagine that the reason for any possible failure would be the diminished amount of oxygen.
You would have thought realiability would be first and foremost
since most extreme activity is at altitude.
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#8035825 - 09/02/13 08:58 PM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: bigwhoop]
BigNate Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 03/07/07
Posts: 433
Loc: North Idaho
I still carry matches, but have started using a firesteel a lot. It always works. I got a few different sizes in plain pieces no handles and strikers. They store easy, work wet, and at altitude.
I don't carry stoves anymore. There are some instances it would be more convienent but have gone to carrying trioxane tabs, vasaline soaked cotton balls, and the firesteel. I can get a fire going in a matter of a few seconds even with cold fingers. Not being able to light stuff has been more of a concern to me than lots of other stuff.
I carried a lighter but they are way to unreliable. Link to going gear firesteels


Edited by BigNate (09/02/13 11:14 PM)
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#8035836 - 09/02/13 09:06 PM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: BigNate]
russ_outdoors Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 398
Loc: Utah
I've also found that the position and gap on piezos to be very sensitive. I'm often tweaking the wire with a pair of needle nose pliers to keep things working. Get them wet and its even more of a challenge.

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#8035889 - 09/02/13 10:08 PM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: Ed_T]
DanAdair Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7190
Loc: NW Montucky
Originally Posted By: Ed_T
I have had poor luck with most all lighters but have never had any problem with Snow Peak or Soto stoves even at 10k.


I'm betting you're also in the group that doesn't leave home without a Firesteel.

In fact, I KNOW you don't laugh



I have a V2.0 in my Possibles, in the Fireworks bag. Then I also keep the Firesteel Mini in my Kit Bag all the time. It's redundant, I know. But it got there because it don't weight shit, and it does a great job lighting my stove, and I don't have to toss my pack looking for it's big brother.




Oh, Ed, we should get whiskey drunk before winter rondy. I got an idea for a product that occurred to me after last winter rondy.
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#8043904 - 09/05/13 04:46 PM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: DanAdair]
Wrongside Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 10/04/07
Posts: 469
Loc: AB
It's my only experience with piezo, but my SOTO Micro has always worked, no matter the elevation or temperature. It's a handy feature, but I always carry a few options for spark as backup...


Edit to add: I did leave it out in the rain one night. Starting it for breakfast required a BIC. smile


Edited by Wrongside (09/05/13 04:47 PM)
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#8044124 - 09/05/13 06:07 PM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: Wrongside]
BlackWidowTackle Offline
Member

Registered: 11/29/11
Posts: 124
Have any of you tried the Soto pocket torch? They are coming out with one that extents too. They are nice, I have the standard one and love it.
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#8052788 - 09/08/13 09:14 PM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: KC]
KC Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 3921
Loc: Colorado Springs, Colorado USA

Just got back from a weekend backpack trip. Buddy used a very fancy Primus stove that had a Piezo electric starter that worked every time.

KC
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#8056050 - 09/10/13 01:27 AM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: KC]
Ar10shooter Offline
New Member

Registered: 09/09/13
Posts: 8
I have never...not once... Got mine on my jet boil to work at 10,000 feet but when I get home to 7250 feet it works just fine

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#8056290 - 09/10/13 05:50 AM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: Ar10shooter]
CreekWarrior Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 01/03/04
Posts: 483
Loc: Northern Colo
Was hunting over the past weekend at 10,800' and the Jet-boil lit every time. I do have other sources to light it if needed. Never a problem......

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#8056332 - 09/10/13 06:08 AM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: Ar10shooter]
deflave Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 08/16/07
Posts: 36351
Loc: Havre, Montana
Originally Posted By: Ar10shooter
I have never...not once... Got mine on my jet boil to work at 10,000 feet but when I get home to 7250 feet it works just fine


Have you bent the metal thingy?



Travis

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#8057032 - 09/10/13 10:24 AM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: deflave]
Ar10shooter Offline
New Member

Registered: 09/09/13
Posts: 8
Originally Posted By: deflave
Originally Posted By: Ar10shooter
I have never...not once... Got mine on my jet boil to work at 10,000 feet but when I get home to 7250 feet it works just fine


Have you bent the metal thingy?



Travis


I don't think so, I don't see why it would make a difference when only the elevation changes. Would it help if I put it closer or something?

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#8057071 - 09/10/13 10:39 AM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: Ar10shooter]
deflave Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 08/16/07
Posts: 36351
Loc: Havre, Montana
The elevation may be coincidental. Watch the arc when you're at the lower elevation and make sure it is going straight down, and into the area the fuel source comes out of. If it's arcing behind where it is supposed to, or to the side, it will be inconsistent.

Bend it around gently and you'll see what I mean. (That's what she said)


Travis

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#8064583 - 09/12/13 02:46 PM Re: Piezo ignition - is it reliable in the mountains? [Re: Rock Chuck]
458 Lott Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 01/29/01
Posts: 13750
Loc: Conundrum, Alaska
Originally Posted By: Rock Chuck
I've tried many different brands of hand held strikers. All work fine at home (4k feet) but won't work when camping at 6k or higher. I have yet to find one that works at high altitude.

Does ANYONE make a good old reliable flint striker anymore other than the torch type striker? Those are too hard to get under a stove burner.



Never tried it on a stove, but coleman makes a spark igniter I put on my lantern that does the trick.

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