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If you happen to have a Coughlan's ferrocerium rod in your emergency kit, you might want to have a look at it.
I have one that was buried in the bottom of a kit that I use from time to time, on bigger trips. When I went to take inventory tonight, I found some mysterious grey dust all over things.
Of course, I was curious to discover the source of this grey powder so I kept digging deeper. The bottom was just covered in the stuff and that's when I discovered the source.
My loose-packed Coughlan's ferrocerium rod now resembled the anode that you would pull out of a 30 year old water heater...the surface was completely pitted...
The rod still strikes, but something in that outer coating doesn't respond well to sitting in a bag for years, and it breaks down into flour.
Took a while to get all the items cleaned.

So if you have one of these, I would recommend you pack it in a Ziploc or some other wrap.
 

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Hey TW,
Thanks for reminding me. I've been slowly building a mini arsenal back pack for outback riding and, I actually have a mini version of one of those rods. It's only about 3" long, mounted in a small block of aluminum and, has a cut-off hack saw blade attached with a small chain. Don't know how good that little system would work but, I'll throw it in the back pack just the same. Thanks.
Scott
 
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