FireSteel: Using Firesteel and Ferrocerium rods to Start a Fire

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.

Firesteel Spark

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.

Traditional Fire steel Striker
A Handmade Traditional Fire Steel Striker

 Commercial Firesteel Ferrocerium Rods

Light MY Fire Brand Firesteel Rod

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 Blastmatch

UST Blastmatch Fire starter, Black

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.

Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel

Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel

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.

Survivor Fire Starters Magnesium Firesteel

Survivor Fire Starters Magnesium Firesteel

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. 

3 Comments

  1. ztar
    May 31, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    i own fire steel ! i just love it i can ligth a fire faster with fire steel than a ligther.

  2. dan
    December 12, 2012 at 10:26 am

    light my fire firesteels are hard to beat, i own several and have one with me at work, home, and car! reasonably priced also, I would go with the larger army model as it is not much more $$ than the scout model

  3. Bea
    April 21, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    a great fire starter is lint from your dryer. I take the lint from drying my towels and roll it up into a ball and store in a plastic ziplock bag. When you need something as tender to start a fire with your firesteel these works wonderfully. Hope this helps.

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