Solo Scientific Tinder Hot Box Review
Since the ability to start a fire is recognized as a key survival skill, it is common practice to keep more than one fire starting tool handy. Matches, lighters and ferro rods are common choices, but the Solo Scientific Tinder Hot Box Solar Fire Starter is an interesting addition to this list. In our testing, it was able to get a piece of char cloth smoldering in about the time it would take to pull out and strike a match.
The Tinder Hot Box fire starter is machined out of aluminum and, at 2cm tall by 6.5cm across, is roughly the same size as a dip can. The sides are roughly knurled, so grip is not a problem, even with wet hands. The top and bottom have a brushed finish. The Hot Box is durably build, but only weighs 3.4oz.
When opened, the lid of the unit acts as the reflector. The bottom half holds the riser arm, with plenty of room for storing tinder inside. Setting up the Tinder Hot Box is as simple as unclipping this arm from the bottom and press fitting it onto the stud in the center of the reflector. Then, just place a wad of tinder in the center of the arm and point the reflector at the sun. One thing worth noting is that the lid and base are not threaded together, but sealed with an o-ring. In order to test whether or not this is waterproof enough to keep tinder usable, we completely submerged one for fifteen minutes and still had dry char cloth inside.
We tried multiple kinds of tinder with the Hot Box, with varied results. The key is the color of the material, since darker colors absorb solar energy while lighter ones just reflect light. White cotton balls were not successful, but char cloth would start smoldering almost instantly. Dark colored natural materials, such as dried leaves, also worked very well. There is plenty of room inside the case to keep a dry supply handy. The Solo Scientific Tinder Hot Box Solar Fire Starter is a well designed emergency preparedness item. It should last a lifetime, has no moving parts and, as long as the sun is shining, won’t run out of fuel.