There are many ways to make fire. From primitive friction fire to modern day butane lighters. One particular way has been around since 1973 and has been in many a military survival kit. That piece of gear is the Doan Magnesium Bar. When I first started my show on youtube I encouraged all the hosts to bring gear that they thought would be good. My one friend bought a magnesium bar. I liked the idea. It was fuel and an ignition source all in one. We tried to make it work but it just wasn’t happening. Sure there could have been some user error but after some experimenting the real problem was that it wasn’t a Doan Magnesium Bar. The bar my friend bought was a knockoff brand and was not of the same quality as a Doan.
Doan magnesium bars have lots of benefits. Like I said earlier it’s a fuel source and an ignition source all in one. The embedded ferro rod provides a nice hot strong spark to ignite the magnesium shavings that provide a quick but very very hot flame. Since the bar is just that, a bar of magnesium, there is no worry of moving parts or water logging. One doesn’t have to worry about it breaking or leaking its precious fuel. The flame itself is a benefit because it produces a 5400F flame. That is nearly 2000 degrees hotter than your typical lighter. Since you are using shavings of magnesium rather than chunks the bar has many uses before it has been totally used up. Once again being magnesium the bar is extremely light and small. Quite a few positives for anyone trying to save weight, space, and have a waterproof fire source.
Also Read: Top Five Fire Starters for Survival
That being said the magnesium bar does have some drawbacks. You will need a tool to make the shavings. Either a knife edge, hacksaw blade, file, or possibly a very hard rough rock could be used. Again you will need a blade or a sharp piece of glass to use the ferro rod because a typical match or lighter will not get hot enough to ignite the magnesium shavings. Producing the shavings themselves takes time and because this is a very light material any wind or breath will scatter them so be sure to protect your pile of shavings. The bigger the pile the better your chances are because although magnesium burns very hot it also burns very quick. All of these factors need to taken into consideration. For example don’t let your hands get so cold that you lose your motor skills to produce the shavings.
Related: Podcast Episode – Bug Out Bags
Now you might ask with the balance of positive and negatives do I have a Doan Mag Bar in my bug out bag? Yes I do. I firmly believe in having multiple ways of making fire for one and two its size, weight, longevity, ruggedness make it a given to have in your survival kit. I personally love my ferro rod but sometimes you just can’t find tinder that is dry enough to make it catch. This is where the magnesium shavings come in. If you enjoy practicing survival skills or want a back up for your survival kit go out and pick up a magnesium bar and make sure it’s a Doan. Best not to take chances with your survival with a knockoff.