All commercially available fire starters designed for survival will start fires provided that you have enough time and the conditions are right. So with that premise in mind, we wanted to take a look at which one performed the best and would be the easiest to use in a pinch with different fuels.
By Murphy, a contributing author of SurvivalCache.com
We tested the following products at 9,000ft in the Rocky Mountains under normal conditions (sunny – light wind).
1. Aurora Fire Starter
Out of all of the fire starters we tested, the Aurora Fire Starter is probably the one you want if you are walking into TEOTWAWKI. Small, light, not sexy, but the Aurora Fire Starter works. It is a really simple design with no plastic or moving parts. The size is great for carrying in your pocket or on your key ring but that same small size makes it a little hard to handle when starting a fire.
Very small and compact
No moving parts
Loop for dummy cord or key ring
Almost too small
Slightly more expensive
2. BlastMatch by UST
The BlastMatch seemed to be my favorite of the UST models. It was sort of an industrial version of the Sparkie fire starter. I liked the size in my hand and I had more leverage with the BlastMatch than I did with the Sparkie. Again, I liked the fact that you could use the BlastMatch with one hand and it comes with a spring loaded cover to protect your flint & steel.
Nice size – fits well in your hand
Able to use one handed
Easy to pack
Created a nice spark
Nothing to lose – flint & steel combined together
A little more expensive than the Sparkie
Plastic components, might want to have a back up
3. StrikeForce by UST
The StrikeForce by UST worked well. I liked the concept of the container that it comes in with the dummy cord. The size of the container is a tad bit balky but not bad. At 3.7 ounces the weight is not a major consideration. The two pieces (flint & steel) are dummy corded together, making them hard to lose but not impossible. I liked the extra compartment to store tinder or a piece of WetFire. Overall, the StrikeForce is a quality product.
Works in almost any conditions
Hard to lose working pieces
Compartment for storing tinder
Requires two pieces
Requires two hands
4. Stormproof Matches
I love Stormproof Matches. They burn in almost any condition and they burn hot. If you have your fire tinder all set up, strike one of these and your blazing fire awaits. The downside to these of course is that 1 match = 1 fire. I like the idea of Stormproof matches being a back up to flint & steel.
The name says it all
One time use. If you have 25 of these, you have 25 fires.
These are a great back up to other fire starters on this list
5. Sparkie by UST
The Sparkie is light weight and made mostly of plastic, which is not always a good thing. If I was going to rely on a Sparkie to save my life, I would want two of them (2 is 1, 1 is none philosophy). The Sparkie worked well under normal (far from extreme) conditions. I liked the weight and the size of it. I also liked the fact that you could use it with just one hand. I am a little suspect of the durability of the plastic case, which if it failed could be a catastrophic equipment failure, causing the Sparkie to not work.
Created a nice spark
Nothing to lose – flint & steel combined
Very Small – easy to pack
Can use with just one hand
Low cost – buy two
Mostly made of plastic
Feels sort of cheap
Feels a little too small in my hand (Might be a better fit for a person with small hands)
Tinder & Fuel
1. Tinder on a Rope
Tinder on a Rope will provide a nice little addition to your Bug Out Bag. You will no longer have to search for fire tinder because it will be nice and dry in your pack. Just cut off a few shavings and you are ready to start a fire.
No searching required
Lights when wet
You will need a knife
2. Wetfire Tinder Cubes
The Wetfire tinder cubes can be a nice addition to your kit providing you with about 8 minutes of burn time (each).
Small and Compact
Individually wrapped (Bring extras)
You can cut them up to use a smaller portion (or shavings)
Wish they came in a bigger size
Difficult to light in our experience
3. Fire Paste
If you confuse this with your toothpaste then you are in for a surprise. Fire Paste works great but the container it comes in is a little suspect. If it breaks in your pack you could have a mess on your hands.
Lights very easily
If the tube breaks, your SOL.
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