Whenever you plan an outdoor activity, one of the first things you pack is a fire starter. Some of the obvious choices for a fire starter kit include a magnesium fire starter or a ferrocerium rod (also known as Ferro rod) fire starter.
Once you are out of the comfort of your home, you need to be very prudent with your survival tools, particularly during extreme weather and when you plan to spend the night(s) outside. This is where you need a fire to clean your water from impurities, cook food and equally importantly, to keep yourself warm and cozy. In certain situations, you may also use fire to threaten or scare the predators, particularly when you are out in a jungle or wilderness or to seek the attention of others when you are lost or signaling for help.
Always remember, a good quality fire starter kit will help you enjoy a good outdoor experience, but most importantly, maybe a lifesaver. You never know how or when it may come handy when you (or your loved ones) need it the most.
Best Fire Starter Kits
We have shortlisted some of the best fire starters out there to help you make the right decision.
FOSTAR Ferrocerium Alloy Rod Fire Starter
It is durable and compact and can work well in any weather condition, let it be rain, snow or even high altitudes. The Ferro rod is rustproof and is an ideal companion for camping, survival kit, bushcraft, and any other outdoor activity.
It comes with ergonomic handles that are easy to grip, no matter how cold your hands may be.
It weighs less than 2 ounces and 4 inches in length. It also comes with a very handy lanyard paracord, which has a decent size and can be used to hang this kit around your neck for easy access and use
UST BlastMatch Fire Starter
It can be operated with one hand and is flint based allowing you to light a fire with very little effort. It has a safety push button which is a great mechanism to avoid those accidental sparks.
It can ignite a wide variety of tinder such as UST WetFire Tinder. This is not included in this fire kit and you need to buy the tinder separately.
This product works effectively in all types of weather conditions and is renowned for generating 3 times more heat than the ordinary match sticks and can last up to 4000 strikes.
Survival Spark Magnesium Survival Fire Starter
It can last you up to 15,000 strikes and hence gives you good value for money.
It is an all-encompassing kit which includes a magnesium fire starter stick, large scrape, whistle & lanyard, and compass.
The rod is about 5.5 inches which makes it compact and portable, whether you want to carry it in your car or make it part of your survival kit.
Zippo Emergency Fire Kit
The Zippo emergency fire kit has a flint spark wheel as part of its basic functioning. It comes standard with the 5 spark tinder which is lightweight and its cotton is coated with paraffin wax. It gives you an approximate 5 minutes flame in those emergency scenarios, whether you want to light a fire or signal someone for help in a dire situation.
It is water-resistant and can be stored anywhere with ease. It has an ergonomic design with a textured grip which makes it easy to use. This kit is floatable as well if you find yourself in water. It has a molded lanyard hole and comes in a blister pack.
Exotac nanoSTRIKER XL Ferrocerium Fire Starter
This nano Ferro rod-based fire starter kit which is machined in the USA is popular due to its super portability feature and compact size. For example, it can be easily carried around in a key ring, your side pocket or around your neck with a lanyard.
Its Ferro rod is ¼ inches which are replaceable when needed and even works when wet. This rod gives you almost 3000 fire strikes. It has a collapsible and self-contained design which is water-resistant and makes it an ideal choice for outdoor activities.
It is reasonably priced at $26.46.
Zippo Mag Strike and Tinders
It also has a snap-lock closure feature which keeps it secure and safe.
This product has a striker blade with sharp edges, which are reusable and made out of ABS plastic.
The internal chamber of the kit is shielded and also has a molded lanyard hole. It comes in a box or blister pack.
IPOTCH Universal Primitive Fire Starter
This universal fire starter is made of wood and is preferred by those who like to do things in an old-fashioned way. Some also like it due to its primitive and retro features, as fire used to be kindled during earlier times.
This will essentially help you learn how to make a fire completely by yourself.
The product is easy to use and is not weighty at all, which makes it easier to carry around.
It can be safely used as an emergency fire starting kit during camping, picnic or hunting and is not only focused at fire enthusiasts.
It comes with a hardwood fire bow, spindle, tinder, and pre-notched fireboard.
It is reasonably priced at $15.24.
DIY Fire Starter
There are multiple ways and home-based items that you can use for creating your fire starter material.
One such method which doesn’t require any tool requires the following:
- Paraffin wax or candle stubs
- Baking Sheet
- Parchment paper
Take a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper (or a tin foil/plastic wrap would do too). Fill this tray with sawdust and press it down with your hands. Next, you need to melt wax in a double boiler and when melted, pour it onto the tray over the sawdust in an even manner. When the wax hardens, you can cut it into squares and that is it – you have your fire starter ingredient ready!
Fire Starter Bow Drill
The bow drill is made up of a bearing block (or handhold), a spindle (or drill), a fireboard, and a plain bow. This type of drill is a primitive way of kindling fire without needing matches or lighter and utilizes friction to produce heat. This heat, in turn, is the trigger to produce fire with the help of burnt sawdust/tinder.
How to Use a Fire Starter?
First of all, find the best and safest place to kindle the fire. You want to avoid flammable objects/trees or places that are damp.
Secondly, you need to prepare the fire site. You can create small dugouts or mound fires. In case it is windy, you will also need to prepare a windbreaker around the site to protect the fire.
Thirdly, you need to gather dry items for sustaining fire such as leaves, conifer needles, and small twigs, like tinder.
Fourthly, scrape the flint strip in the magnesium bar with a knife or scraper to kindle the fire.
If there is fire, great if no fire but smoldering and smoke then you need to blow consistently to ignite a fire.
Once the fire turns into flames, you can use larger branches of trees or logs to strengthen the fire and keep it burning for long. Always ensure that the fire is controlled and doesn’t spread around to nearby flammable items or materials nearby.
Lastly, always douse the fire once you are done with the purpose you kindled it for. Use water to extinguish the fire and stir the ashes before you leave the site.
When to Carry a Fires Starter Kit?
A fire starter kit can be an integral part of your backpack or a survival kit bag. It can be a lifesaver in an emergency when you are lost in the wilderness or need to signal somebody for help.
It can also be used for recreational activities such as camping, hunting, fishing or any other outdoor activity.
What should be in a Fire Starter Kit?
A fire kit generally has the following items:
- Watertight container
- Waterproof matches
- Ferro rod
- Magnesium rod
- Cotton wool and petroleum jelly
- Bicycle inner tube
What is the Best Fire Starter?
Based on our comparative review, the best fire starter is the ‘Survival Spark Magnesium Survival Fire Starter with Compass and Whistle’. It is waterproof and wind-resistant and made of high-quality material. It gives you 15,000 strikes of flame and is compact, portable and convenient to use too.
A fire starter kit is a lifesaver and should be complemented and NOT replaced by ‘makeshift’ fire starters such as matchbox/lighter and papers. Ideally, you should carry both, as a kit can always give you a backup if you run out of the makeshift fire starter items or if they get damaged or dampened. Have a safe and fun trip!