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Which Fire Starter Should I Choose?

Q: What’s a decently priced fire starter?
Neil, Lenexa, Kansas

A: Warmth is one of your top priorities in a survival situation, so a handy, reliable fire starter is a key piece of gear. One of my favorites is a ferro rod striker. It easily fits in a backpack and can be used over and over again. You can find one for about $7 at the Scout Shop.

Ferro rods are made of ferrocerium, a combination of metals and chemical elements that spark when scratched. You use them like you would flint and steel.

Hold a metal striker at a 45-degree angle against the rod and quickly scrape the striker away from you and toward your tinder. This motion will ignite shavings from the rod, creating a spark that can light your tinder.

The UCO Titan Fire Striker ($14, and the SOL Mag Striker ($13.50, each come with a ferro rod and attached steel striker. The SOL Mag includes a magnesium rod that you can scrape shavings from to help start your fire, and the UCO Titan’s ferro rod can last for up to 20,000 strikes.

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