Fire provides essential benefits to humans. Fire provides warmth, food preparation, and sanitization of water. Because of its importance, we take a particular interest in tools that help make fire starting easier.
Firesteel fire starters are a very straightforward item. The base package comes with a cylinder shaped piece of Firesteel and a steel “scraper”. The Firesteel and scraper allow a user to create a large swath of very hot sparks. The manufacturer claims the sparks reach 5,500 degree Fahrenheit in temperature. Although we could not verify the temperature, we can say that the sparks are extremely hot.
The Firesteel and scraper was a very dependable combination. After being submerged in water we were able to create sparks after one or two scrapes every single time. When we first ordered the items, we questioned the need for additional scrapers, but in the end, we were glad we did. Although we were successful in creating sparks with other items, it was not as easy as we thought. The surface area of any scraper needs to have very specific characteristics. Not just any piece of metal will do. There has to be a very rigid edge capable of creating the friction required for sparks. Below are some items we had success with, and others we did not.
Created sparks easily
Kitchen knife spine
Created sparks sparingly
Rough edge of camping can opener
Did not create sparks
If you purchase firesteel, we recommend getting some additional scrapers. They are expensive for what they are, but are worth it on our opinion.
The magnesium tinder rods worked like a charm. We were able to cut off a reliable amount and start a fire with minimal effort. The manufacturer recommends using Vaseline soaked cotton balls as tinder as well. This method worked similar to the magnesium tinder rods, in that we had a nice fire, in damp conditions, in a minimal amount of time.
Per fire, the cost of firesteel is not that expensive. The smallest version of the firesteel bar runs about a 1.20. We would expect an experienced user to be able to make dozens, if not a hundred or so fires with their smallest size firesteel. This of course is subject to conditions of kindling. The prices very recently rose on all of their items, but we still consider them a good value. I would not expect to be able to use the entire length of a firesteel bar, especially the smaller sizes. You need to be able to properly handle the firesteel, and scraping does wear it down. There are things you could do to prolong the Firesteel’s life, like making a handle, or a cradle for it. The five pack had a nice mixture of sizes to meet any of your storage needs. Below are some of places we will be storing our 5 pack.
Minny – Wallet
Pup – Girlfriends purse
Ranger – car
Survival - Home
Armageddon – camp pack
In conclusion, we recommend this item. Lighters have breakable parts, an rely on finite fuel. Matches, even the best ones, are susceptible to moisture. If you are a camper, hiker, or general outdoor enthusiast we recommend one of the medium sized rods, like the Armageddon. They are easy to handle, and can potentially last you a life time. If you are a prepper, or survivalist, we recommend starting with firesteels five pack. The pack will cost you 33 dollars, but it gives you a variation in sizes that allows you to store the items in many different spots.