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Lite my fire firesteel scout firelighter

in Cookware - Other

Average Rating
3.38 / 5 (8 reviews)

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Dr Andrew Allan
( mathouramedical )

Lite my fire firesteel scout firelighter on 07/21/2007 08:32:23 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 1 / 5

Having read Ryan Jordan's review about how this product kept them going for a zillion and four days in the bush, I was enthused, wanting to use said product in the damp NW of the Sth Island of NZ next Jan.

Product arrived, sans instructions. Eventually my kids worked out how to get a spark out of it, exciting as this was. Tried to light the gas jet on the stove - didn't work. Tried to light some metho soaked newspaper in the fireplace and couldn't. Resorted to match, which worked first time. Wondered whether it was all a joke, or perhaps an activity to "fill in time" whilst camping.

Offered kids $5 to light a fire with it - no-one got the prize. Wondering whether I'm missing something, but, despite tertiary education, this really seems a crap addition to ones kit.

Presume Ryan Jordan ate cold food for his trip, or used 2 rocks rubbed together. Would actually rate this product zero, but this rating doesn't exist.

If anyone has any tips, please let me know, and I might re-rate it. I don't believe I'm so stupid that I can't get it to work usefully.

Andrew Allan

Edited by mathouramedical on 07/21/2007 08:36:45 MDT.

Richard Nisley
( richard295 - M )

San Francisco Bay Area
Lite my fire firesteel - childs play on 07/21/2007 13:37:13 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I went back to the Midwest, this month, for a family reunion and fishing trip. I took my fire steel with me. My two nephews are 10 and 12 and they love to fish. The 12 year old asked me if I would teach him how to start a fire without a match and then cook his fish on it. After 5 minutes of instruction he had his fire going and later cooked his fish on it. Their parting wish was that I buy them each one for their birthdays... they were fascinated.

I have used this item exclusively for two 1 1/2 month expeditions along the wet Alaska coast. It has never failed to accomplish its job in 1-3 strikes.

Edited by richard295 on 07/21/2007 13:38:28 MDT.

Jason Brinkman
( jbrinkmanboi )

Firesteel works like a champ on 07/24/2007 10:18:47 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I've had zero problems with my Firesteel. It always throws a reliable and predictably shaped spark fan. Lights stoves or fires easily. Lighting a fire does require a dry tinder material (found or carried), but all fire sources seem to also. I leave matches and lighters behind now.

Dr. AA - are you using the rough edge of the scraper? Or you might try a similar tool that comes with a magnesium rod or block that can be shaved to form a little pile of mangesium. These shavings burn at something like 5400 degrees and will dry and light most anything.

Edited by jbrinkmanboi on 07/24/2007 10:20:27 MDT.

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Donald W. Strader
( Donald-W )

Southeast Florida
A ferrocerium rod is the most reliable way to start a fire. on 07/25/2007 08:50:52 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

First you need a good shower of sparks. To get this you scrape the FireSteel with an acute edge. The back of a knife if square, the side of a Leatherman Wave file, back of a hacksaw blade, jig saw blade, etc. A knife edge works fine, but will dull the edge. My favorite is a spare 2.5 inch tungsten carbide scraper blade designed to fit in a Bahco or Sandvik scraper. They are available at for around $7. Remember this is not natural flint, you do not bang it and the acute edge does not even have to be metal. You need a steady scrape along the rod either by moving the scraper or pulling the rod.

Second, although naturally found tinders will work start with the easiest. Get a bag of 100% Cotton Balls. Make sure they are cotton!!! They will light immediately with a spark. They become more water resistant and burn longer if swiped in petrolatum or petroleum jelly (Vaseline) There are many elaborate methods used to do this. I just grab the cotton ball, swipe in the petrolatum, and stuff in a film can. Grab, swipe, stuff, and repeat. To use pull one out and fluff. This is a favorite activity at the Girl Scout campouts I have been to, with my ferrocerium rods :-) , and how we have started our campfires.

A few comments. The ferrocerium rod will work after being wet, just shake it off and scrape. It can oxidize rapidly however, like a high carbon steel knife blade. So care needs to be taken. There is a larger model too which will last longer and provide a larger shower of sparks for natural tinders. The largest shower of sparks is probably available with a BlastMatch which only requires one hand and has a built in tungsten carbide scraper. One needs to squeeze and keep the rod straight or it can break, leaving one with a really nice 1/2 inch in diameter ferrocerium rod which will now require two hands. More information on such things is available at They have some small comparison videos and information on commercial tinders.

Have fun experimenting. In addition to "natural" tinders, other found tinders will work fine, cotton dryer lint, dryer sheets, wax paper, etc. Remember that tinder generally needs to have edges and air space.

Price comparison from GearBuyer: Leatherman Wave priced at: $59.98 - $111.00
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Rory Gin
( Roarmeister )
Almost great. on 07/25/2007 21:28:59 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I have both the Scout and the BPL mini firestarter tools. I've had good success with both - using the supplied scraper tool to provide a lot of sparks.

I tried the lockback edge of my Spyderco knife and the sharp edge provided a decent spark so I decided to scrap the supplied scraper and put the mini rod on my keychain.

But the best sparks I've found were created with a Mora knife (high carbon) where the back edge was filed to create a flat surface with 2 sharp edges. The volume and size of the sparks were spectacular especially when I pressed solidly and steadily on the rod. Striking too fast/slow or too light reduces the quantity of sparks.

The one caveat: the ferrocerium rod SEPARATED from it's holder and ended up in the tinder bird's nest. I returned the rod to the holder but I had to take a little extra care not to pull the rod out again. This has not happened with the Scout version -- yet. I need to break out the epoxy glue to refasten the rod.

If the Scout version is rated for 3000 strikes, I'd estimate the mini version to be good only to 1000 strikes because of the smaller size. I suspect that the rod will break or crack once you've narrowed it from a lot of use. Still - a 1000 strikes will carry you for a long long time.

Rated for 473-2200*C sparks (NOTE THIS IS QUITE A BIT COOLER THAN OTHER PEOPLE'S CLAIMS - THIS IS BASED ON THE IGNITION POINT OF THE BASE MATERIALS), it should light just about any reasonably dry tinder. Check out the following website for more information on ferrocerium rods.

I've used both the supplied tinder and various homemade and natural tinders. The easiest to light being the fiberous tinders like vaseline soaked cotton balls and the Tinder-quik tabs. Even with these, you don't need a large quantity but you do need to fluff and break up the fibers for maximum contact.

Edited by Roarmeister on 07/25/2007 21:34:44 MDT.

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Brett .
( Brett1234 )

sparks but heavy on 07/30/2007 09:07:54 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

This device reliably makes sparks as advertised; even when wet. But so will an 11 gram mini-bic. So I carry the bic.

Also, the tiny spark-maker from a Spark-lite is also a fraction of this item's weight, and can be operated one-handed. Thus, the firesteel gets a low rating for being trumped by competition.
It is a fun device though, and when weight is not important it is an interesting way to introduce primitive fire making. For that I give a 3.

Edited by Brett1234 on 07/30/2007 09:08:27 MDT.

JR Redding
( GrinchMT )
It fell apart on first trip... on 06/25/2008 15:00:53 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 1 / 5

Simply put, the flint part came right out of the plastic end and went right into the pile of ashes in the fire ring. We couldn't find it. Never got to light a fire with it. However, it was pretty cool to light my MSR canister stove without a match or lighter.

I like the concept, but if this is all I were carrying with no backup and that happened on day one, the trip would have been over. Therefore, I may consider using another one, but never without having a mini bic or matches as backup.

Happy Trails...


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Robert Taylor
( Robtay )
works for me on 07/17/2008 14:52:17 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

hehe, some very mixed reviews for this one. It does take a little practise i suppose. First of, throw that little metal thing that comes with it in the bin, why they have given it a jagged edge is anyones guess, i use the back of my knife and strike into my tinder not onto. The sparks are way hotter than from flint. Whilst i think the concept deserves 5 i'm giving it a 4 because i to had a handle come of. I always take a disposable lighter as backup.

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