Fire starters for the outdoorsman
If you’re a person who spends a lot of time in the outdoors then you most likely spend some time around a campfire. All outdoorsmen should know that the ability to make a fire can be critical to survival. I have long carried several methods of starting a fire when in the field hunting or hiking, even in the summer.
I personally carry three methods for fire starting; matches, a lighter and magnesium block with striker. Building a fire under adverse conditions can be a challenging, yet lifesaving task, so any tool that gives me the advantage so much the better.
With Christmas just around the corner there is never a better time for a stocking stuffer for the outdoorsman that could prove to be a lifesaver as well. The following are but a small sample of what is available; all of the following are products that I’ve personally handled or tried in the field.
Most folks know Zippo has been around for decades, over 80 years in fact. Their iconic lighters were used throughout WWII and carried into Vietnam by American troops. Zippo offers a whole line of fire starters and fire-starting materials just for the outdoorsman.
First, the Typhoon Match Kit is an excellent match case along with weatherproof “Typhoon” matches. In addition, Zippo’s flint spark wheel has been contained in an emergency fire kit that contains spark tinder’s for easy lighting with the flint wheel.
I personally like the Zippo Mag Strike that features a ferrocerium rod and striker. Its textured grip, triangular body, and sharp blade allow a firm purchase when striking. The Mag Strike retails for $16.95.
Zippo offers a wide line of fire-starting essentials and kits ranging in price from $5 to around $30.
Having used the Survivor Firestarter in the field on many occasions, I can attest they work and that I carry one in my day pack all the time. This Firestarter is simple, safe, durable, and waterproof, a perfect combination to carry in a backpack, emergency kit or tackle box.
The system essentially employs a magnesium rod in conjunction with a flint striker. The magnesium flakes scraped from the soft rod burn eight times hotter than a match.
Each Survivor Firestarter comes with a leather strap and a high carbon steel blade for shaving magnesium flakes and striking the flint. In addition, most models come with a compass, signal mirror, and thermometer set into the handle. Pricing on these Firestarter’s can range from $13 to $30 depending on model.
Another great fire starter that I have personally tried in the field and one that is easily carried is the NanoStriker by Exotac. A nice feature that this unit sports is that the ferrocerium rod is replaceable if you actually use up the 3000 strikes the rod is rated for. The company now offers a wide variety of other fire starters and is worth looking at.
The Exotac fire starters are offered in a variety of colors and most come with a lanyard, prices vary from $15.95 to $65.95.
Aurora Fire Starter
The Aurora Fire Starter is another that I have carried and used in the field for quite some time. I like it because it is easily carried in a pocket and features a knurled body for a positive grip that is machined from solid aircraft aluminum. The Aurora is a tough and durable unit. I have one in every pack and carry it in a pocket when outdoors even without a pack.
The quarter-inch diameter striking rod is a composite flint steel with magnesium. The housing has a built-in striker and an O ring for positive sealing of the unit when not in use.
This unit creates a shower of sparks like few others I have seen and is one of the best on the market in my estimation. Retail price is $27.99.
White River Knives FIRECRAFT Series
White River Knives of Fremont, Michigan, builds a series of knives specifically designed for real survival situations and heavy use in the outdoors. The “FIRECRAFT” series comes with numerous features such as a notch for striking a ferro rod, a stainless-steel divot for use with a fire bow, and it comes with a kydex or leather sheath that holds a ferro rod.
This is a product I first encountered at the 2017 SHOT Show and can assure you these knives are of high quality and ideal for the outdoor enthusiast. Prices range from $160 to $330 depending on model and options.
Christmas is the perfect time of year to remember the outdoors person in your life and consider the gift of fire-making. Every outdoorsman is always looking for that unique piece of gear for the field. The enhanced ability to build a fire does just that and may even save a life.