• Comments (16)

    • 6

      Look up the Lightning Strike Fire Starter. Because of its unique design, it outperforms every other ferro rod on the market.

    • 6

      Great article, thanks!

    • -1

      First off let’s take a look at the wrongs…. you said “You’re supposed to use these strikers by inserting rod into the half-moon-shaped notch at the very end. That notch has ridges that are supposed to bite into the firesteel, but really there’s not much difference between using that notch and using any of the other sides of the steel”……. this is totally wrong. One of the long flat sides of the y striker as you call it, has a sharp edge on it. When you use this edge at a 45° angle it will scrap lots of magnesium off and throw lots of sparks. 2nd …The half moon shaped end with ridges on it are used to scrap fatwood so you can process fine tinder. Please learn how to use the products you are reviewing before tell other people they dont work.

      • 4

        Thanks for the feedback. Neither I nor Kev had come ever across the use your describe for that notch in that type of striker — since it fits the steel we’d assumed that’s what it’s for. Do you have a video or example of the usage you describe (i.e. using the notch to scrape fatwood)? I’m trying to imagine how this is better than using the flat side for this same purpose. But I’d love to learn something new if you have links to some demostration.

      • 3


        starting at 5:50 he explains and demos the half moon. not that im saying its the best tool in the world…lol but it does work for making a very fine starter pile. it also will conserve the use of your fatwood. instead of burning the entire stick, ,you could use in multiple times. BTW… I did enjoy your write up on the products, while I don’t agree on all of your conclusions I can still appreciate the time and effort you put into the write up. At the end of the day all that matters is that we all need to get out and do more camping.

    • 4

      The best ferro rod is the one you will actually carry all the time so you have it when you need it. Pretty much all of these on your list I wont just throw in my pocket and let it bump around all day, day in and day out (except for maybe a couple of the smallest ones). I do however carry a Swiss Army Knife with me all the time and use it for everything. Tortoise Gear makes a ferro rod that fits in your Swiss Army Knife called the Firefly! The Firefly is hands down the “best” ferro rod I know of because I literally carry it everywhere I go and it takes up ZERO extra room in my pocket. The ferro material is non-chinese super high quality, low corrosion, high strength and easier to spark that any other firesteel on the market.

      • 6

        Thanks so much for recommending the Firefly! I had no idea something like this exists, and I always have a SAK in my purse or backpack. I just ordered them (they are a less expensive from their website Tortoise Survival Gear vs. Amazon.) Did you see they are also fundraising for a new product, the Fire Ant on IndieGoGo? (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/fireant-fire-for-your-swiss-army-knife/x/23973480#/) This one even comes with its own tinder! I just signed up for three of these as well.

      • 3

        I agree with you that most of the ferro rods on this list are a bit big for EDC and throwing in a pocket. Your swiss army knife firefly is a cool product!

        Another ferro rod I came across is this 6 pack of bayite ferro rods. I can see someone buying this pack and attaching one onto every pack and piece of gear as a backup.

        The article reviews a $14 necklace ferro rod, but for $10, that 6 pack of the same thing sounds like the better bargain.

    • 4

      Now that I’ve bought my fire starter, I have a few questions. 1) For us urbanites who need remedial survival skills, do you have a recommendation of where to go to learn to build a proper fire (or even an improper one)? 2) I still don’t understand what uses a fire starter would have in my home supplies. To light my stove? If so, are there tips for doing that? 3) How many of those tinder tabs, or cotton balls would be reasonable to have in the BOB and/or at home? 4) If you use the cotton balls, don’t you also get covered in petroleum when you’re using them? Which is to say in an emergency, when you’re probably already having problems with hygiene, etc.? Why is this something you want? Thanks again for the great content, guys!

      • 4
        1. Check out https://theprepared.com/courses/ — we intend on releasing a firecraft video lesson for exactly what you’re describing.
        2. Potentially lots of reasons. Yes, maybe to light a stove. Or a fireplace. Or an outdoor fire. Keep in mind that home supplies aren’t just for around the home in what you might picture during a short power outage or something similar — maybe SHTF and what you have in your home is all the supplies you’ll ever have for a while. And fire’s important enough to have backups for.
        3. No specific rule. Whatever makes sense for the size/type of kit you’re building. There’s 12 tinderquik tabs in the recommended kit, which I’d think of as the min.
        4. Potentially, but it wouldn’t be much and petro jelly isn’t a big deal to remove / won’t hurt.
      • 6

        Hello Jonnie,

        Our Best tinder for survival fires article is live!

        Thomas Gomez

    • 8

      Whatis your opinion of the LMF morakniv?  It combines a firesteel in the handle with a very fine knife (made by Mora).  I have used it to consistently light a propane stove, about the easiest task for a lighter, but I am wondering how it might stack up against these that you tested…

      Thank you for another very fine test and article.

      • 4

        Hello hikermor,

        I have several LMF Morakniv, and I love them. I don’t use the onboard ferro road as my primary ferro rod, but keep it more like a back-up just in case. We gave the Light My Fire Swedish fire steel top marks in this review, and I would say that the ferro rod inside the LMF Mora is the same product, just attached to the pommel. I do a lot of trail running in the wilderness in pursuit of alpine trout in my native New Mexico. Products I will always have, at a minimum, is a swayer mini water filter wrapped in UST SurvivorCord, an LMF Morakniv, and my tenkara fly rod.

        Mora just launched the Morakniv Companion Spark which looks like the same product.

        Hope this finds you well. Let me know if you have any more questions.


        Thomas Gomez

    • 1

      If the issue is getting a fire started in awkward or adverse conditions when a flame is really necessary, I think this article misses the point somewhat.  your objective is to build a decent fire safely and quickly.  Why not haul out your lighter or match box, instead of messing around with a ferro rod?  Matches and lighters are quick, dependable, and effective, provided you have the proper fuels and can tend your flame effectively (and safely, as well).

      I have made fires for many years, at different levels of urgency – from carefree backpacking excursions to search and rescue missions in adverse conditions where a robust fire was critical.

      In days gone by, the most dependable fire starter was the good old carbide lamp -it could set a swamp on fire.  Today those are hardly in use, but they have been supplanted by canister stoves, again light and dependable.  I haven’t had to build a traditional campfire in years, although it remains a bedrock skill.  In my normal gear, i carry a Bic lighter in an Exotac waterproof case, UCO matches in a waterproof container (also an Exotac) and at least a LMF knife (basically a Mora) with a ferro rod integrated into the handle.  This last item routinely ignites my canister stove with little or no hesitation.

      I don’t carrying redundant items, but I make an exception for fire making.  It is entirely too critical and fundamental.

      • 2

        Totally agreed that using a ferro rod is not the quickest way to build a fire. This is why in our BOB list we put lighters at a highest priority than a ferro rod. This is just a review of the best ferro rods. 

    • 1

      Check out the Flashpoint fire making kit by Firestorm Inc. 


      Flashpoint.FireStorm-10 Strike in motionFlashpoint.FireStorm-3 Whole Kit laid outFlashpoint.FireStorm-15 top down view with lid open, sidewaysFlashpoint.FireStorm-9 strike catching