Of every tool you could take into the wilderness on a survival trip, a fire starter is definitely the most important one.
We have done LOTS of research, read many reviews and tested a fair amount of items.
We put together a list of of the 10 best fire starters you can buy in 2023.
Let’s take a quick look at what we recommend before we go into details:
Price for 1 minute
Mike's Top Choice
(The one we like the best)
Durable and watertight
Includes a waterproof storage compartment
Easy to use even for first timers
Includes emergency whistle and a lanyard for attaching to your gear
(Check current price down below)
Light and can be attached to keychains
Creates large shower of sparks for easy firestarting
Works efficiently on any type of tinder
Inexpensive and has unlimitted strikes
Here are the 10 best fire starters we looked at:
- Exotac NanoStriker XL FireStarter
- Light My Fire Swedish Strike Fire Starter
- Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Series Fire Starter
- Rothco Aurora Fire Starter
- UST Blastmatch Fire Starter
- Holland Lightning Strike Fire Starter
- UST Strike Force Fire Starter
- SE FS374 All-Weather Emergency 2-In-1 FireStarter
- Zippo Emergency Fire Starter Kit
- Boker Plus Fire Starter
Do you want to learn more about tactical fire starters?
Here you can learn:
- Things You Should Take Care of Before Using a Tactical Fire Starter
- Key Elements That Make The Best Fire Starter
- How To Use A Fire Starter
- Types of Fire Starters
or, you can just go straight to the reviews:
10 Best Tactical Fire Starters
Exotac nanoStriker XL FireStarter
|Dimensions||0.43” x 0.43” x 3.65”|
|Best For||Not a lot of space or extra weight, less than ideal conditions|
|Where It’s Made||United States|
|Specific Features||Up to 3000 fire-starting strikes, small, lightweight, waterproof, self-contained, includes a split ring for carrying keys, an extra set of O-rings, a lanyard, and an instruction manual.|
Known for being one of the most popular fire starter’s manufacturers in America, Exotac made another incredible job with the nanoStriker XL Firestarter, which is a larger and greater version of the original NanoStriker.
The most outstanding detail about this fire starter is that allows you to throw large showers of scorching sparks up to 5,00 degrees Fahrenheit, because of a fantastic replaceable fire rod that contains ferrocerium and magnesium. This is the key element that distinguishes the nanoStriker XL from the rest, given the fact that most of the fire rods only contain ferrocerium.
Another wonderful detail is that there’s an exceptionally sharp striker made from tungsten carbide inside of the tool’s waterproof anodized aluminum body, containing plenty of room for stashing extra fire starting tinder. However, one of its greater characteristics is that this tactical fire starter can work on every kind of weather and is designed to fit on your key ring for easy transportation, allowing you to carry it without any problem.
The most important advantage of this tactical fire starter is that it strikes up to three thousand times without failing, guaranteeing an efficient work for a long period. Also, its size allows you to wear it quite easily, occupying a little amount of space. Naturally, this is a really important element when you’re going into the wilderness, being the reason why many customers consider this one as the best fire starter for backpacking.
Although the product’s size is really good for transportation, it’s not large enough for making a good fire in the quickest way possible. This way, if you’re stuck in a situation where you must create a powerful flame, this fire starter won’t get the job done, since it will take you a lot of time to make it.
Another problem with the Exotac nanoStriker XL FireStarter is that it counts with directions that might be quite confusing for first-time users.
Although this element won’t represent a setback when camping, hiking or hunting, is the first rule for every product to be as clearest as possible for the customers.
Light My Fire Swedish Strike Fire Starter
|Dimensions||1” x 3.2” x 5.9”|
|Best For||Not a lot of space, lighting stoves or fires, more workable for fire building|
|Where It’s Made||Sweden|
|Specific Features||Produces a 5,500 °F shower of sparks, lightweight, easy-to-use, 12,000 strikes, color options, waterproof|
Light My Fire is one of the most famous fire-making products brands in the world thanks to the fact that it has maintained its quality over the years. In fact, this Swedish company has turned into a major competitor in the fire starter’s market, a tremendous achievement where its well-known design has been the cornerstone.
This way, is not a surprise that the Swedish Strike Fire Starter is one of the greatest you can get, considering that this is an incredibly durable product that provides a 2,980 degree-spark every time you strike the pieces together, regardless the weather and the altitude.
Another great detail about this survival fire starter is that it comes with an emergency whistle, being perfect during unwelcome situations where you have to make a loud signal.
The Light My Fire Swedish Strike Fire Starter can easily get you plenty of lights with up to 12,000 strikes, being a remarkable achievement that the International Survival Instructions Association approved.
Its material has been considered as the best fire steel you can get right now. Also, a great advantage of this fire starter is that it is made to last, which means that you can count on it in almost every survival adventure.This detail is quite important considering that you don’t know how many times you’re going to need a fire starter during your trip, being the reason why many outdoorsmen believe that this is the best fire starter for camping.
This product throws tons of sparks in every strike, which makes it the best tool you could wear when you must make a powerful flame as soon as possible. Of course, the best detail is that this huge amount of sparks will come out even in adverse conditions.
Even when its pros seem good enough to be consider as the best fire starter for camping, it comes with two particular details that clearly reduce its greatness.
The first one is that it may be quite difficult to light, especially the first time, which is an annoying problem if you need to make a fire and you never used this product before.
The second really bad detail about the Light My Fire Swedish Strike Fire Starter is that there have been cases where some individual starters have arrived damaged. As you could imagine, this is kind of problems reduces its chances of being consider unanimously as the best survival fire starter.
According to The Camping Trail: “This particular FireSteel produces an astounding 5,500 °F shower of sparks that pretty much guarantees your dry tinder will go up in flames! You only need to firmly scrape the length of the rod towards your dry fluffy tinder bundle and let nature do the rest.”
Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Series Fire Starter
|Dimensions||11.8” x 11.8” x 2.8”|
|Best For||Easy carry, lightweight|
|Where It’s Made||United States|
|Specific Features||Low price, lifetime warranty, small piece, lanyard style, includes a whistle and waterproof storage compartment|
Carried extensively by soldiers, huntsmen and tradesmen, Gerber is an American brand that offers stunning products for survival adventures, including knives, axes, machetes, tactical pens, tactical fire starters, and many others.
Like the previous case, this brand has managed to become a strong competitor in the fire-making business, thanks to its outstanding Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Series Fire Starter, which is one of the greatest you can get this year.
In addition to the design, the beauty about this survival fire starter is that it offers everything you need for a survival trip, including an emergency whistle if you want everyone to know your location. This product also includes a waterproof storage compartment to hold the tinder you need to get started.
Although this fire starter is really easy and comfortable to carry, it includes an attached lanyard for attaching to your gear or wearing around your neck. Furthermore, this product comes with an air rescue instructions and a pocket survival guide.
This fire starter is characterized for being durable and watertight, which means that you could easily wear it on a backpack under any condition and it won’t get damaged. This detail is extremely useful when doing rough activities, being the reason why many customers consider this one as the best fire starter for backpacking.
As it was mentioned, another great characteristic about the Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Series Fire Starter is that it provides a guide to help you learn how to use it. In fact, this particular guide will work out if you never used a fire starter before.
One of the main issues about the Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Series Fire Starter is the fact that it could be quite difficult to light a flame the first time without making an extra effort. Ironically, not even the guide could solve this uncomfortable experience.
Another problem about the Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Series Fire Starter is that its lanyard might be too short for some people to use this product properly. Although this is not exactly a serious inconvenience, the lanyard should definitely be long enough so anyone could use it without any problem.
Despite the fact that it is quite difficult to light a flame with this tool for the first time, this is definitely the best fire starter you could choose if you’re looking for a small price, great features, and the perfect size for transportation and quality fire-making.
Rothco Aurora Fire Starter
|Material(s)||Lightweight aircraft aluminum, composite flint steel & magnesium rod, integrated striking blade|
|Dimensions||3.6” x 0.625”|
|Best For||Small space available|
|Where It’s Made||United States|
|Specific Features||Easy to use, small and lightweight, easy to carry|
As most people know, Rothco is one of the most famous brands related to military, tactical, outdoor, clothing and gear supply. In fact, Rothco’s quality has been so proved during the last years that the company is already a true colossus in several markets, including outdoor and camping, uniform and workwear, survival and preparedness, and especially military and tactical.
Given this situation, is not a surprise that its Aurora Fire Starter managed to become one of the most incredible survival fire starter in the world, thanks to the way in which this product is so easy to carry and so efficient in making a flame at the quickest way possible, even under the rain or snow.
This is because it counts with an incredible combination of the best ferro rod and magnesium, protected from corrosion by a waterproof, anodized container. On the other hand, the reason why the Aurora Fire Starter is quite easy to carry is because of its size, being so great that you could even carry it on your key ring.
This product has such an impressive design that it represents one of the most comfortable fire starters in the market, given the fact that is so small and light that you won’t even feel it when carrying it. Also, the Aurora Fire Starter doesn’t have any plastic, which is quite outstanding for anyone who’s looking for a product that provides the safest way to start a flame.
On the other hand, this tool doesn’t have any moving part, which allows you to keep it anywhere you want without having to worry about a major damage, which is why many consider it as the best fire starter for backpacking. Furthermore, this fire starter comes with a loop for dummy cord or keyring.
Just as what happened with the Exotac nanoStriker XL FireStarter, its size is a really bad detail in terms of starting a fire in the best way possible, given the fact that this product is so small that is a little bit hard to handle when you have to start a flame.
Another issue with the Aurora Fire Starter is that it doesn’t have an aesthetic design, which seriously reduce the chances of being considered the best fire starter for those who seeks for beauty in this kind of products.
Also, it is a little bit expensive, so it won’t be convenient for anyone who’s looking for quality and a cheap price at the same time.
UST Blastmatch Fire Starter
|Dimensions||1.5” x 0.5” x 4”|
|Best For||Easy to carry, lightweight unit|
|Where It’s Made||United States|
|Specific Features||Color options, designed for all-weather use, ultra-hot spark, 4,000 strikes, bar rotates 360 degrees for even wear|
With over 80 years providing qualified survival equipment, American brand UST has become a true reference for anyone who wants to go into the wilderness and wear the finest gear for the occasion.
Although UST offers any kind of product for these situations, fire starters have been some of its greatest creations during the last years, to the point where some of the most important wear this brand.
Naturally, this is the case of the Blastmatch Fire Starter, characterized for being so easy to use that you don’t need any kind of manual. In fact, it has been considered as the best fire starter in this particular feature, which makes it the better choice for anyone who wants to operate this type of product in the quickest way.
The Blastmatch is extremely easy to operate because it has a patented flint bar and tungsten carbide striker inside of it, which produce directionally targeted sparks in wet, dry, or any unfavorable fire starting conditions with the push of a single button.
Everything about the Blastmatch’s design is so incredible that its pros seem infinite. However, the most outstanding advantage is that you can use this fire starter with a single hand, which facilitates the survival experience in an unprecedented way.
Another incredible advantage of this fire starter is that it creates a nice spark, which means that you could light a flame in a couple of seconds.
Also, many outdoorsmen consider the Blastmatch the best fire starter for backpacking, since it is absolutely outstanding in terms of transportation.
Although the Blastmatch seems as a futuristic fire starter, the big issue is that it has plastic components. This means that this product could get seriously damaged quite easily, so you should prepare to have a backup if you end up choosing it. What makes this issue much worse is that its price is a little bit expensive, being the reason why many believe that it cannot be labeled as the best survival fire starter in the world.
If you don’t mind to buy an expensive fire starter and know how to take care of in the best way possible, this could be the greatest option for you, given the fact that lightning a small or powerful flame has never been more easier.
If you’re not exactly a fan of the old-school style and love to get your job done at the fastest way, the UST Blastmatch is definitely the best survival fire starter for you.
Holland Lightning Strike Fire Starter
|Best For||A lot of uses, moderate price, specialized tinder to use|
|Where It’s Made||United States|
|Specific Features||Lightweight, small, color options, 20,000 strikes, sparks produced by the ferrocerium rod are between 4,000 and 5,000 degrees|
Lightning Strike is one of the most incredible fire starters in the world right now thank to an outstanding artwork in the design and functionality of this product. The inventor of this company is Darrell Holland, the well-known riflesmith and president of Holland’s Shooters Supply, a famous long Range Shooting School and world-renowned signature series rifles.
Far from being a regular version, the Holland Lightning Strike Fire Starter has been considered as one of the most incredible in the world right now, since it has the size of a tactical flashlight, is extremely easy to use, and is incredibly effective to start a flame.
The Holland Lightning Strike Fire Starter has a plenty of specially-designed tinder encased inside of an anodized aluminum tube that allows you to point and shoot the sparks through the barrel directly onto your tinder. Additionally, this product boasts an oversized, replaceable ferrocerium rod, and a fire striker.
The greatest detail about the Holland Lightning Strike Fire Starter is that the manufacturer offers an unconditional lifetime guarantee. In fact, the manufacturer even stressed that you can include this survival fire starter in your will, offering the possibility of passing this product to the next generation with the same guarantee agreement.
Another advantage is that its refill is very easy to find and it’s inexpensive to fill as well, meaning that you can use this fire starter once you run out of strikes. Also, its pieces are connected, and its size is small enough to carry it in your bag, which probably makes it the best fire starter for camping.
Unfortunately, the price of the Holland Lightning Strike Fire Starter is not as great as its specs and features, which makes it quite disappointing for those who wants a cheap and qualified product.
Also, another issue about the Holland Lightning Strike Fire Starter is that it produce little spark, meaning that it won’t be good enough when trying to make a powerful flame.
UST Strike Force Fire Starter
|Dimensions||9” x 5” x 2”|
|Best For||Long-term use, lightweight|
|Where It’s Made||United States|
|Specific Features||Flint and steel pieces, tinder compartment, color options, thousands of strikes.|
As it was previously mentioned, American brand UST is a powerful reference for those who loves camping, hiking or hunting, given the fact that this is a company which main virtue is to make and sell the greatest gears and products for any survival occasions.
Naturally, fire starters have become some of its most qualified products, and the UST Strike Force is probably the perfect example.
This product has an alloy flint bar with a hefty steel striker that is built into the product’s cap, providing up to 4,000 strikes, with each of them producing an incredible spark’s shower that is three times hotter than a traditional match.
This is an extraordinary survival fire starter that prevents you from feeling worried about being able to find tinder, since this product even has a small section to store a little tinder and keep it dry.
The UST Strike Force Fire Starter has the flint and steel dummy corded together, which represent a huge advantage when compared to many other products of its kind. Another great advantage is that it works in almost any condition, which makes it perfect when going to survival trips where there’s could be adverse weather conditions.
Also, the UST Strike Force comes with the perfect size both for creating a decent flame and carry it in the most comfortable way, being the reason why many experienced and non-experienced outdoorsmen believe that this is the best survival fire starter.
The huge problem about the UST Strike Force Fire Starter is that unlike many products of its competitors, it comes with two pieces, which makes it a little bit uncomfortable considering that this usually occupies more space.
Naturally, another issue about coming with two pieces is that you are forced to use it with both hands, being quite uncomfortable every time you have to make a flame with it. O course, this clearly reduce its chances of being consider as the best fire starter for camping.
SE FS374 All-Weather Emergency 2-in-1 FireStarter
|Dimensions||5.5” x 0.2” x 3”|
|Best For||Not a lot of space, not a lot of weight|
|Where It’s Made||China|
|Specific Features||Easy to use, inexpensive, includes a serrated striker and a detachable silver ball chain link, small & lightweight, waterproof & weatherproof|
This is definitely one of the greatest brands in fire starters, and even when its particular product on this list is a little bit more old-school that most of the already mentioned, it posses such a remarkable quality that its top position is more than justified.
Believe it or not, the SE FS374 All-Weather Emergency 2-in-1 FireStarter offers the most traditional way to start a flame, with the well-known magnesium bar and flint that makes it quite simple to get going. This outstanding product also includes a small compass that will let you know where you’re going.
As you might see, the SE FS374 All-Weather Emergency 2-in-1 FireStarter offers the old-school experience of fire-making in a really efficient way. The unit is really inexpensive, and it has unlimited strikes to keep going and making new fires every time you need.
Also, this fire starter is able to easily fit in your pocket, being a product that you could carry in the most comfortable way.
The greatest detail about the SE FS374 All-Weather Emergency 2-in-1 FireStarter is that it works quite efficient on any type of tinder you find, which makes it extraordinary for any survival trip.
In fact, this is a survival fire starter that creates a large shower of sparks every time you use it, which means that there’s not so much fire starters that provide a better efficiency in terms of making a flame.
When it comes to transportation the SE FS374 All-Weather Emergency 2-in-1 FireStarter is also one of the greatest in the market, given the fact that is really light and it comes on a ball chain, so you can attach it to a keychain as well.
The biggest problem with the SE FS374 All-Weather Emergency 2-in-1 FireStarter is that it can be extremely difficult to light in the first time.
Of course, this detail makes it a product you can’t use in case you don’t have any experience with this kind of fire starter, and face a situation where a flame must be lighted as soon as possible.
Another problem about the SE FS374 All-Weather Emergency 2-in-1 FireStarter is that sometimes the serrated striker won’t be enough to get the fire started, and you could actually need a knife.Naturally, this could be such an annoying situation that your experience with this product won’t be that great.
If you’re a survival expert and wants to live the most original outdoor experience, the SE FS374 All-Weather Emergency 2-in-1 FireStarter is definitely your weapon of choice, considering that far from being the modern-type of this kind of product, this one represents the traditional method of starting a fire.
Also, this fire starter won’t be a problem on your pocket and will help you make a flame under almost every weather condition.
Zippo Emergency Fire Starter Kit
|Dimensions||1.7” x 3.9” x 6.1”|
|Where It’s Made||United States|
|Specific Features||Flint-wheel ignition, 4 waxed tinder sticks, water-resistant O-ring seal built into the case.|
Of every single brand which main purpose is to create fire for its customers, Zippo is probably the most famous of all, given the fact that this American company has made this for over 80 years with their well-known reusable metal pocket lighters.
Given this situation, is not a surprise that the company decided to take a leap to the fire starter business, and created the Emergency Fire Starter Kit as a backup for the outdoorsman.
The most particular detail about the Zippo Emergency Fire Starter Kit, is that it boasts the same design as the pocket lighter counterpart complete with the bright orange, water-resistant polypropylene case, and the flint-wheel striker along with 4 water-resistant waxed tinder sticks.
In fact, the polypropylene case also floats on water. Although this is not the common fire starter, it could actually start a flame under different conditions in the quickest way possible.
It comes with the Zippo quality, meaning that this is a product that will always do its job efficiently. Also, considering that the Zippo Emergency Fire Starter Kit is designed as the famous pocket lighter, it provides an outstanding comfort and easy transportation, which makes it the best fire starter for backpacking.
The tricky detail about the Zippo Emergency Fire Starter Kit is that you have to hold the tinder or the tool at an uncomfortable angle, in order to make the sparks connect. Considering that this is a really different fire starter from the rest of this list, the way of use it is much more uncomfortable.
Another problem about the Zippo Emergency Fire Starter Kit is that unlike the stick style strikers, it could take a lot of lighter-style strikes to get the proper amount of sparks on the tinder. Of course, this a really annoying situation if you need to start a fire as soon as possible.
Boker Plus Fire Starter
|Dimensions||7” x 3” x 2”|
|Best For||Emergency situations|
|Where It’s Made||China|
|Specific Features||Allows to rapidly kindle the campfire or emergency flare, provides great tools for resting on the campground|
Although its incredible efficiency in making fire starters have been quite surprising, Boker’s greatness in this particular product is framed by the way in which the company has managed to reach excellence in every single tool related to EDC and survival essentials.
This way, what this German brand has made with the outstanding Boker Plus Fire Starter cannot be considered as an unexpected success.
The Boker Plus Fire Starter has an included metal striker with which you can scrape chips off of the built-in magnesium rod as extra kindling for the long shower of sparks produced when striking.
Naturally, this is a perfect product for making a powerful flame in an emergency situation and any kind of environment. Furthermore, the Boker Plus Fire Starter has a threaded aluminum container with a slip-resistant checkered pattern, a bottle opener, and a 50mm ruler that comes attached to the fire starter via a chain.
The greatest advantage of this survival fire starter is that it counts with a magnesium fire rod, which produces flakes that could easily fall into the tinder and improve the flame’s quality. Also, it has a built-in compass and a checkered design pattern for better hold and grip during slippery moments.
As what happened with the UST Strike Force Fire Starter, the big issue about this product is that it comes with more than one piece, which makes it a little bit uncomfortable to wear, since it will occupy more space than necessary.
Mike’s Top Choice
Of every single tactical fire starter mentioned on this Mike’s Gear Review’s list, the one that fits all the key factors is the Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Series, thanks to its great features, its affordable price, and how it guarantees the most efficient fire-making under any weather condition.
On one hand , it has the perfect weight so you could carry it without any single problem, allowing you to move smoothly on any survival activity. Also its size is perfect enough to keep it in your bag or pocket without occupying too much space. This element is extremely important when camping, considering that in this particular adventure you will need several tools and gadgets, and having a big-sized one is always an issue.
Nevertheless, even when this fire starter is small enough so you could carry it with great comfort, it is large enough so you could start the type of flame you need.
Although it doesn’t count with the best material, the Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Series is not exactly a weak competitor in this particular element, meaning that this is a product that offers a remarkable quality and performance in the factors that determines which is the best fire starter.
This way, we believe that the Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Series Fire Starter is definitely the greatest you could buy right now, not only because it satisfy every customer’s need, but also because you won’t find a fire starter more complete than this one.
What Is A Tactical Fire Starter
A tactical fire starter is what it sounds like: a helpful gadget that helps you start a fire in any survival situation, including hiking, camping or hunting.
Although you might believe that this item could be quite unnecessary if you have a lighter, the great detail about a fire starter is that it could easily light a flame no matter how extreme the circumstances are.
Why Do You Need A Tactical Fire Starter?
Although you might think that a survival knife is the most important gadget you could wear on a survival adventure, the tactical fire starter is actually way more helpful. Here are some reasons that prove it.
- In a natural disaster, a fire starter helps you get warm in the quickest way possible, especially if it is cold outside. Also, considering the lack of fresh water in these situations, starting a fire will let you purify it and avoid dehydration.
- If you have a car accident and get stuck in the middle of an ice storm, a tactical fire starter will definitely keep you warm. Also, a fire starter could be quite useful to make a fire signal in this scenario.
- Another reason why you need a tactical fire starter is to protect yourself from different kinds of insects and animals when camping. Believe it or not, a fire scares most of the wild creatures, to the point where these species will be at a safe distance.
Top 8 Uses Of A Tactical Fire Starter
There’s no doubt you can use a tactical fire starter for a lot of things, however, there are many situations where this tool turns into your greatest ally. Here are the top 8 uses of this product.
- In a survival situation, a tactical fire starter could easily be used as a signal if you’re lost and want someone to know your location. Although most of these gadgets could start a fire in almost every weather condition, is highly recommended to keep it burning by not letting the wind or rain interfere. Considering that the fire must be strong enough to be notice by its intensity or the smoke, getting it started must be your first priority.
- Another really important use of the tactical fire starter when you’re on a survival adventure is the food cooking, considering that a proper alimentation is a key element when you’re into the wilderness. Although most of the time you will be safe, eating raw food is an unnecessary risk in this scenario.
- If you suffer a major wound, the best option is to use the fire starter to make a flare in order to sterilize it. Before taking your survival trip is highly recommended that you have the proper training and knowledge to make this efficiently.
- You can also use the tactical fire starter to purify the water, considering that on extreme situations is quite possible that you won’t find it in the purest and safest condition to drink it.
This way, the best thing you can do with the fire starter is to boil your water and have it filtered through a cloth in case that this looks dirty or filled with debris.
- Another great use for the tactical fire starter is to make a flare to sterilize any kind of utensil you have.
- One of the most interesting uses you can make with the tactical fire starter is to get rid of the annoying mosquitoes when you’re camping, since these insects really hate fire.
The strategy is to make several small fires surrounding your sleeping area with the tactical fire starter, so you can prevent an all-night attack. In fact, mosquitoes and other insects will be less likely to approach you once the smoke has gotten onto your body.
- Believe it or not, a tactical fire starter can also be used to staying clean, given the fact that taking a smoke bath will prevent you from smelling like you haven’t taken a shower in weeks.
The reason why these kinds of baths are quite efficient is because bacteria is what makes you smell really bad, and smoke is it’s a natural killer. In fact, this is why there are many hunters who rub ash on their skins when they haven’t taken a shower for several days.
- The best use of a tactical fire starter is to keep you warm, since this is the first and most important element you need to be aware of when going into the wilderness.
Making a nice flare with your fire starter will provide the necessary warmth that will save your life if you’re not in an area where you can build a shelter to protect you from the cold.
Things you should take care of before using the tactical fire starter
In order to get the best experience of a tactical fire starter, there’s some things you need to do before start lighting the flame. Here the essentials:
Find the proper area
The first thing you need to do is to find the best location for a fire, since this is a key element that usually determines the flame’s intensity and efficiency. Naturally, not every place is suitable for a fire, because of the dangers occasionally involved in outdoor areas.
Finding a place out of the wind is the top priority, considering that a breeze can easily blow out fires that you attempt to start or spread fires out of control. Given this situation, it is highly recommended to choose a sheltered area as a first option, since the wind won’t represent any issue in this environment.
Also, it’s quite important to look for a location where you can easily find some wood, considering that fires can be quite hungry, and it would be extremely impractical to carry heavy amounts of woods at long distances.
Unless there’s an emergency situation that prevents you from taking the time to find this kind of location, you must start your fire near a supply of fuel to avoid any risk.
Prepare the fire location
Once you find the proper area to start the fire you must prevent its spread, so your next action would be to clear the location around the intended fire site.
Your most efficient move would be to dig a larger pot than the intended fire, in order to maintain a safe distance between the flame and the grass. Another option to assure the safe distance is to build a mound of sand or dirt larger than the intended fire. This elevates it above the surrounding materials that cannot always be cleared.
In case you cannot get out of the wind, you should make a windbreak for the fire in order to avoid any complication. You can easily use an old damp log to limit the effect of the wind on your fire site, but if you decide to use a potentially flammable material, you’ll have to prevent it from catching fire by using it at a safe distance.
Gather the proper materials
Before you start using the tactical fire starter, you have to make sure that you can also sustain it. If you managed to find the best area, there should be plenty of fuel supply around. Nevertheless, that’s not all that is needed to start a fire.
This is why you cannot start by lightning large branches on fire if you’re using wood. Instead, you should gather kindling, including dried materials as conifer needles, small twigs, and leaves. Once you have these materials you should assemble the kindling and some small branches in the chosen fire site.
How To Use A Fire Starter
In order to use this product properly, here are the basic steps.
Scrape the magnesium bar
This is definitely the cornerstone of every single survival fire starter, since this is such an outstanding flammable material that ignited magnesium has reached temperatures of over 5,000 °F. Naturally, this makes it a great survival tool that will allow you to create a really powerful fire.
In case you’re using a knife, you should use the back blade to avoid any damage to the knife edge. Also, you shouldn’t try to cut slivers out of the bar, considering that small flakes will ignite easily and get the job done.
The only tricky aspect of using the survival fire starter is that is quite difficult to determine the quantity of magnesium necessary to start a flame, considering that too little won’t succeeds in starting the fire, and too much would make a dangerous fireball.Given this situation, it is highly recommended to start small, and carefully add more scrapings if you think it’s necessary.
Scrape the flint to create a spark
Considering that magnesium bars usually contains a flint strip on one side, scraping it with your knife is also really efficient to create flare with the survival fire starter.
Naturally, the spark’s quantity will be determined by the amount of force that you apply, the angle of attack (degree at which the blade runs along the flint), and the speed of the strike.
It is highly recommended not to stab or slash at the flint, but drag the blade across it or drag the flint over the edge of the knife while keeping the blade steady. This last method is probably the safer you can use.
Maintain the fire
Once the sparks caused the magnesium to ignite, you must ensure that the flame continues to burn steadily. In order to make this happen, the first step you should take is to blow on the shavings of magnesium after they have ignited to spread the fire to the rest of the tinder and kindling.
All you need to do next is to place additional kindling on the top of the flame to fuel it and ensures that it continues to burn. Of course, it is recommended to make sure that it doesn’t burn out of control, or sparks do not spread to nearby fuel sources.
Before you leave, always remember to douse the fire in water and stir the ashes until you’re sure that all members are put out.
Type of fire starters
While you’re shopping, there are some types of fire starters that you will encounter.
These are most common ones:
These are probably the most famous type of fire starter in the world, given the fact that magnesium is a highly flammable element that can be used to start a fire in the quickest way.
Naturally, magnesium blocks can be shaved to create little piles of magnesium that will catch fire almost immediately when hit with a bunch of sparks, which makes it quite useful in any survival trip. In fact, magnesium blocks have become such an important tool for any outdoorsmen that it has been considered as the best fire steel, and several companies make it like fire starters. These includes Doan Machinery, Gelert Flint Lighter, Coghlan’s and Liberty Mountain.
Of course, the beauty of magnesium blocks is that you can use it with different methods and each one of them will achieve its goal, which represents the best gadget you could wear when facing a real survival situation.
Believe it or not, another huge advantage about magnesium blocks is that it also works as the best fire starter even in damp conditions. As you might imagine, the importance of this particular detail is that you could easily make a flame under the rain with this tool.
Usually referred to as flint, the ferrocerium rods (or ferro rods) represent an interesting type of fire starters, since they are characterized for being designed to create sparks when struck with a serrated piece of steel. However, using this tool is not as easy as you can see on many videos.
The best technique you could use is to angle the scraper you’re using at about a 45-degree angle, place the end of the rod next to the tinder, and finally place the scraper on top of the rod and drag the rod back. Naturally, you will bump the tinder away from the sparks if you whittle with the scraper.
In order to get the spark to a fire in the quickest way, it is recommended to prepare an efficient tinder. Although there are many that get the job done, one of the most effective is cotton balls infused with petroleum jelly. If you can’t get this, the greatest common items are sisal fibers, jute twine, the dry inner bark of some trees, and very fine organic fibers.
Another disadvantage comes with the price, considering that if you want to get the best ferro rod, it is highly recommended to avoid the cheaper versions you could find on almost every sporting goods store. Unfortunately, the reason is that they don’t work very well, and it take some effort to make a single spark.
Another detail you need to know about this type of fire starter is that you have to remove the white-hot pieces of the ferro with a good scraper after making a spark. It is also recommended to use a hard steel scraper with sharp 90-degree angles, given the fact that this will allow you to scrape the row in the most efficient way.
These are another famous type of fire starters, known for being so incredibly efficient that military forces around the world equip its soldiers with these tablets on survival missions.
The incredible detail about these tablets is that they don’t liquefy while burning, they tend to burn smokelessly and doesn’t leave any ashes.
Usually made by hexamine, these burning tablets are quite sensitive to the wind, so it is important to use any kind of windscreen to get the best of it.
Also, another problem is that these type of fire starters are actually quite expensive and not that widely available as many other alternatives like alcohol or petrol. However, it is considered that it worth the price, since one of the most impressive details about fuel tablets is that they are ultra-lightweight compared to many other stove options.
When used for cooking, food needs to be contained in a receptacle, given the fact that the chemical oxidation of the fuel yields noxious fumes when burned.
Also, it is important to be careful when using these tablets, considering that if you use them under damp conditions they could easily break up while burning.If you want to get a great fire started even under the rain, the best strategy is to use the fuel tablets along with magnesium and flint.
Known for being vital to any camping trip, waterproof matches are characterized by its water-resistant condition. Although these matches can easily be found on any supply store, they are quite more expensive than the regular ones, considering that they are made by dipping the tip in wax. However, the great detail about this type of fire starter is that you can actually make them yourself. The first method is to simply dip regular matches in melted paraffin wax and let them dry for a couple of hours. The other way is to coat the entire matchstick in nail polish.
It is highly recommended to store homemade waterproof matches in an airtight waterproof container, such as a pharmacy pill container or an empty 35.millimeter film case. You can also glue a small piece of sandpaper to the inside of the film canister lid to make a surface where the match can be struck.
The thing about paraffin wax and nail polish is that they protect the match from moisture, in order to ensure that it will ignite even if it is dropped in water. In fact, wax-dipped matches tend to burn or much longer periods and at higher temperatures, which make them extremely useful in any survival adventure.
Naturally, if you prefer to make the waterproof matches instead of buying them, you must test them before going to the trip.
Which Are The Key Elements That Makes The Best Fire Starter?
When searching for the best fire starter there are some key elements that you should definitely look for. These are the most important ones:
A comfortable transportation is one of the most important elements in every survival trip, since you should be able to move smoothly as possible without being limited because of the weight of certain tools. This is why in addition to get the job done, small gadgets as a survival fire starter should be lightweight enough so you can put it in the survival bag (or even in your pocket) and don’t feel a thing.
Size always matter on fire starters, because in addition to be extremely important for transportation, it also determine how properly will start a flame. This way, the dilemma of having a small survival fire starter is that even when it will be comfortable for carrying it, it won’t be too useful when trying to get a decent sized flame. If the survival fire starter is large the problem will be the opposite, so picking a perfect size that fits with these two elements is a must.
This is another key element that determines which is the best fire starter, considering that high quality and resistance will avoid this product to get seriously damaged on a survival adventure.
This way, the fire starter’s material determines the way in which this gadget will work, and how much it is going to resist under certain conditions. This is why aluminum and magnesium are usually the greatest materials for a fire starter, considering that they are quite durable.
Naturally, there’s some specific features that a survival fire starter should have in order to offer the most comfortable and efficient experience.
The most important is being water-resistant, considering that making a flame when you’re in the wild is the key element to surviving, and a rainy day shouldn’t represent any obstacle. Other features you should look for in a tactical fire starter is a protective case or compartment, a tinder, a lanyard, a whistle and a cap.
Unfortunately, the price will always be a key factor when choosing any product, and a survival fire starter is not the exception, considering that you need to make sure that you’re not spending a whole lot on something that you won’t use too many times. Nevertheless, you also don’t want to skimp out on the price, given the fact that you could end up buying something that doesn’t provide the features you need for your survival adventure.
Given this particular situation, is recommended to find a balance between what you’re paying and the quality of the fire starter.
Getting ready for your next adventure? Check out our reviews that will make your experience safer and more enjoyable: Do you have an EDC Flashlight? Did you already get your hiking pants? What about survival food? Don’t forget, preparedness is the key to survival.