One of the most valuable tools that an outdoor enthusiast, hunter or survivalist can own is a firestarter. These tools allow a person to make a fire just about anywhere, and that makes it a tool that can mean the difference between life and death. Although some people could argue that a book of matches or a lighter could also be used to make a fire, the problem with those tools is that they’re too susceptible to being used up or fail when they’re needed the most.

The best firestarters don’t have those problems, however, and that’s why we’ve decided to find and review some of them. Now all of our readers can have one of the most valuable camping and/or survival tools available. A tool that will enable them to make a fire in just about all weather conditions and with very little effort.

Quick Summary of the Best Fire Starters

Editor’s Choice: Swiss Safe 5-In-1 Fire Starter

Swiss Safe is a company that’s known for making some of the best first-aid kits, outdoor preparedness its and automotive safety kits. Now, they’re going to be also known for making some of the best firestarters available. And it’s all thanks to their 5-in-1 firestarter that gives the outdoor enthusiast the tool they need to get a fire going, but also has four other tools that make it very handy to have on you during an emergency.

What are the five tools that can be found on this device? Well, it’s a magnesium rod fire starter, a steel scraper, a compass, paracord, and a 150-decibel whistle. Although this might be a little more than what the average person wants to carry, for those individuals who don’t want to buy all of these tools individually, it’s a lifesaver. And since it’s only 5-inches long and only weighs 2-ounces, this tool is easy to take wherever it’s needed.

Although some people might be concerned that this firestarter might not be as good as some other ones because it has a bunch of other things it can do, we assure our readers that isn’t the case. This model’s firestarter works just the way it’s supposed to work. It’s capable of supply over 16,000 strikes and when struck, it releases sparks that are 5,500-degrees Fahrenheit. That’s more than hot enough to get kindling started for a fire.

Now let’s take a look at some of the other tools found on this device. It comes with a whistle that delivers a 150-decibel sound, and an 8-core piece of paracord that has a tensile strength of 450-pounds. It’s also a tool that’s backed by the manufacturer with a money-back guarantee. And for the same price that other companies charge for their firestarters, consumers can get two of these firestarters. When all of these features are considered together, it’s easy to see why these firestarters should be in any outdoor enthusiasts backpack.

What we liked about it
  • It can deliver 16,000+ strikes.
  • It comes with four other handy tools.

Also Recommended: Bayite 4-Inch Ferrocerium Fire Starter

This tool from Bayite looks like many of the other fire starters that are sold online, at swap meets or in outdoor stores all over the world, but it’s a product that will put many of the inferior models sold nowadays to shame. It’s a 4-inch ferrocerium rod that a diameter of 3/8th of an inch, or 10mm, so it should deliver the user with many thousands of strikes throughout its lifetime. This makes it a handy tool for fishing, hunting, survival, or bushcraft.

Because it’s a size that’s big enough to be useful but doesn’t take up a whole lot of pocket or backpack space, it’s also a good tool for preppers to place in their EDC kits or their bug out bags. Each of these rods is also equipped with a 9-foot paracord that’s been braided to reduce its footprint and is durable for making snares, fishing or making emergency shelters. Attached to the end of this paracord is a steel striker that’s designed to give the consumer the perfect tool to strike a spark on their rod with.

Unfortunately, the striker is the part of this fire starter that we didn’t like at all. While the ferrocerium rod was well made and seemed like it would work under even the harshest of conditions, we can’t say the same for the striker. Although it is made from tool-grade HSS steel or is at least supposed to be, it doesn’t seem very durable to us. We’re not sure if we would want to trust our life to this tool’s striker, so we ended up replacing ours with one that worked better. Not a big deal considering that a striker doesn’t cost a whole lot.

In our opinion, the fact that we didn’t like the striker doesn’t make this any less of a quality product. We’re still incredibly confident in the ability of this rod to produce a spark and feel that it can be used in snow, wind, rain or just about any other conditions imaginable. We’re also confident in the paracord and thought that it was a nice addition to this tool. All things considered, we still feel that this is a product that should work well for most people.

What we liked about it
  • They are 4-inches by 3/8th-inches in size.
  • They strike well and produce a good spark.

Also Consider: UST Blast Match Fire Starter

Another fire starter that we liked was the UST Blast Match. It’s a fire starter that’s only 4.1×1.4×1 inches in size and 2.3-ounces in weight but is big enough to produce 4,000 sparks throughout its lifetime. That’s enough for thousands of fire throughout its lifetime. It’s a tool that will light fires in the rain, snow, sleet, and windy conditions, so it’s a must-have for any camper, hunter, fisherman, outdoorsman or survivalist.

This product is easy to use with just one hand and it’s equipped with a safety button in its cap that prevents the user from accidentally sparking the tool while they’re carrying it. Although this device did cost a little bit more than some of the other fire starters we reviewed and didn’t have the capability of producing the same amount of sparks, we still felt like it was a good backup fire starter for bug out bags, everyday carry kits or hunter’s backpacks.

Being able to use this fire starter with just one hand is what initially impressed us about this tool, but we also liked the fact that it could be carried anywhere it’s needed. It also has a bright orange plastic case that makes it easy to find if it’s misplaced around the campsite. The plastic housing doesn’t seem as durable as we would like it to be, but we didn’t have any problems with it ourselves. In our opinion, this is a great little backup fire starter.

What we liked about it
  • It does a great job of throwing sparks.
  • It’s lightweight and very easy to use.

A Guide To Fire Starters

Now that we’ve covered some of the best fire starters available, we thought that it was high time that we wrote a guide on the subject. A guide that not only helped our readers find the fire starter that’s right for their needs but also how to use that fire starter effectively. This is the guide we created and the one that we think will give our readers the information they need.

Buying The Best Fire Starter

The first thing anyone who is interested in having the ability to start a campfire on their own and without the use of matches or a lighter is going to want to consider is buying the best fire starter available. Below are some things to think about when choosing a new fire starter.

Choose The Appropriate Size

One of the first things the consumer is going to want to consider when purchasing a new fire starter is how big of a one that they need. They come in sizes as small as 3/20th of an inch all the way up to 1-inch thick—or even thicker. 

The smaller the fire starter, the more portable it is, but it also means that it’s easy to lose and may be hard to use in an emergency. Smaller fire starters also produce fewer sparks, with some of them only producing a hundred or so sparks over the course of their life.

For best results, most people are going to want to purchase a fire starter in the 3-inch to the 6-inch range that’s approximately  4/16th of an inch. That’s a good size Ferro rod for starting fires. It’s a size that produces several thousand sparks and is easy to carry and use in the wilderness.

Consider The Fire Starter’s Mechanism

The next thing to consider is the mechanism used to create the spark. Some fire starters come with a steel scraper that’s attached to the rod by a paracord. This scraper is then used to scrape across the surface of the rod to create a spark.

Other fire starters automate the method of delivering the spark a little different and set it up in a way that allows it to be used by one hand. Regardless of the method, however, it’s important that whatever the mechanism used, it should stand up to regular use and the elements. 

Consider Additional Accessories

The last thing the consumer is going to want to consider is if the fire starter comes with any additional tools that the consumer might find useful. These can include a variety of different things that make the fire starter even more useful in an emergency situation. Below are some of the additional accessories that come with some of the more advanced fire starters.

  • Compass
  • Paracord
  • Emergency Whistle
  • Knife Sharpeners
  • Tinder

How To Use A Fire Starter

Before we conclude this fire starter guide, we would like to go over the basic method of using a fire starter to start a fire. Although fire starters all operate a little differently from one another, the following method of using starting a fire should work with most magnesium or ferrocerium fire starters. 

Prepare The Location

The first thing a person is going to want to do is to find the right location for their fire and to prepare the area to start a fire. The area for a fire should be a location where it’s not very likely to spread but is reasonably close to a source of wood. The area should also be sheltered from the wind if that’s possible.

Once the area is selected, the fire builder should then clear the area where the fire is going to be placed.  Dig a little bit to place the fire in and place rocks around it if they’re available. Now the area is ready for making a fire. 

Gather Together The Needed Materials

The next thing the fire builder is going want to do is to gather the materials to start and maintain a fire. This means gathering kindling for starting the fire. Kindling can include tiny twigs, small leaves, conifer needles and anything else that lights quickly and efficiently. Make sure there’s sufficient kindling to light and there’s more kindling nearby to keep it going. The initial kindling should be underneath wood, so the kindling begins the wood fire. There should also be wood nearby that can be added to the fire as needed to keep it going. 

Scrape The Magnesium-Bar Or The Ferro Rod

The next thing the fire builder is going to want to do is to scrape their Ferro or magnesium rod over the fire. This should be done in a way that will allow the kindling to catch the spark and eventually catch on fire. Most fire starters come with a scraper designed specifically for this purpose, but the back of a high-quality blade can be used as well. 

Encourage And Maintain The Flame

Although it would be nice if the kindling erupted into flame the moment the spark from the magnesium or ferrocerium rod dropped into it, that’s unlikely to happen. Most of the time the kindling will smolder and the fire builder will have to blow on it until it begins to burn with a visible flame. 

Once the fire is established, the fire builder should be sure to stay close to it and feed it additional wood as needed to maintain it. And finally, when the fire builder is done with the fire, they should make sure that they put it out fully before leaving the area.