Firesteel is a must have for any survival kit. The good ones will allow you to light thousands of fires from a single stick, and can be used in even the harshest conditions imaginable.
What is Firesteel?
Traditional Firesteel is made from a piece of high carbon or alloyed steel, which will produce a spark when struck by the sharp edge of a flint rock. Before steel came around, they were usually made from iron pyrite or marcasite. They are traditionally carried inside some sort of tinderbox with charred cloth, tinder and a piece of flint.
Commercial Firesteel Ferrocerium Rods
Most Commercial Firesteel is not made of steel at all, but instead is usually made with a Ferrocerium rod. The Ferrocerium produces blazing hot sparks that can reach 5500 °F. They are lightweight, easy to use, and can even be used after getting wet.
Most commercially available sticks will light thousands of fires, and in my testing have always topped the list of reliable methods for starting a fire in severe conditions. They are especially useful in wet environments; and can be used even after being dropped in water and snow. Simply dry it off, strike the rod, and you have yourself a shower of blazing hot sparks that will light almost any tinder.
Using Firesteel to Start a Fire
To get a fire going, even in harsh wet environments:
- Simply pile up a small amount of tinder (lint, cotton, charred cloth, dry grass, shredded bark, or other flammable materials that will take a spark).
- Run the back edge of your knife down on the rod, aiming the sparks into your pile of tinder. Some Firesteel rods are sold with a small steel striker attacked to the Ferrocerium rod.
- The spark should create a fire even in really bad conditions. The key is choosing the right type of tinder that will take a spark.
Which Firesteel is the Best? The Top Commercial Firesteel Fire Starters.
The Ultimate Survival Technologies BlastMatch Fire Starter is easy to use, and allows you to operate it with one hand. It comes with a built in carbide striker and spring loaded flint based bar that is rated for 4,000 strikes. Check out our video, and see how easily something like ordinary dryer lint can take a spark.
Originally developed for the Swedish Department of Defense, Swedish FireSteel is one of the better made fire starters on the market. The Light my Fire gives off a 3,000-degree Celsius spark that can start a fire in any weather, at any altitude. These top the list because they are easy to use, lightweight, and can easily be carried on a key chain or in a knife sheath.
With a striker that’s rated at 20,000 strikes, and a hefty piece of high-quality magnesium, the Survivor Magnesium Firesteel is one of the best fire starters I’ve come across. Most of the magnesium firefighters sold in the store are cheap Chinese knockoffs that barely contain any actual magnesium. The Survivor Magnesium Firesteel is made in the U.S., and contains the highest quality magnesium that I have found.