Don’t feel bad if you can’t start a fire in the woods as handily as Adam and Eve did after being banished from the Garden! We’ve got you covered with the very best fire-starting technology available on the market today.
1. WHAT IS A FIRE STARTER?
We’ve all been there, you know, that situation where you’re stuck on a camping trip and – nothing. You just can’t get it to start. Perhaps you’re not even big on camping, but you want to get your home fireplace going and you just can’t, because, try as you might, the logs just won’t catch fire, and the match is about to burn your fingers. And who likes to go through match after match, only to find that they just can’t get that fire started?
Enter the fire starter. When all your matches are water-logged by an unexpected rain or fall into the stream, you’ve got serious, capable, all-weather backup so you can do what you always do – take care of your loved ones, keeping them safe and warm in the worst of conditions.
Some fire starters are individual pieces of equipment. Others are more complex units consisting of both the sparking material and the flame, such as the famous Zippo-brand units which not only spark the fire but provide a prolonged flame.
What all the very best fire starters have in common is that they’ve got what it takes to provide whatever you need to catalyze the big, long, sexy blaze you’re going to need come rain, hail, sleet, or snow.
2. WHAT DOES A FIRE STARTER DO?
Even if you’re not an expert camper, at some point in your life, chances are, you’ve tried to start a fire before. And so you understand that while the pros make it look quite easy, it looks easy because they know all the common pitfalls to avoid. Lots of times, in nature, when you’re dealing with real, recently stripped bark or wood, it’s not going to possess the ideal combustion properties you need for a prolonged blaze straight of nature.
The reality is that most wood you get straight out of nature has got moisture in it, and that moisture can mean the difference between being able to get your fire off and roaring or being stuck with a pile of damp wood. Ideally, you want to catalyze a bigger flame by using your fire starter in conjunction with the materials that you find in your surroundings. Any dude with a match and a piece of combustible fire-starting wood can make a small blaze.
What takes talent and skill, and what will pay off in dividends – maybe even helping you save your life – is being able to use the fire starter that you’ve been lugging around to its maximum potential by using it in conjunction with other materials.
In other words, fire starters have the most life-saving potential when they’re used as catalysts, not merely burning by themselves. Because when you’re in a survival situation, you only have as much fire starter materials as you can carry, so you’ve got to be very economical in the way that you burn it, and not use it all in one place or situation. It may have to last throughout your entire camping trip, so use it economically.
3. HOW DO FIRE STARTERS WORK?
Fire starters aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Among the top fire starters we reviewed, we found that some will include a variety of features, including tinder in the package, while some more economical solutions can be as simple as a keychain-sized fire-starting bar on a lanyard. One of the larger packages we reviewed even includes a multi-purpose knife, among which fire-starting is one of the tasks it handles.
The ultimate decision about which of our premier fire starters is best is really up to you, however, we do have our own ideas about which are more effective, both survival-wise and cost-wise. We’ll get into all of that shortly.
4. WHERE CAN YOU BUY FIRE STARTERS?
You can buy fire starters from a variety of retailers, both of the more traditional-style department store persuasions as well as your do-it-yourself big box stores and the smaller local hardware store. Our editors have a clear preference for Amazon, and so we’ll be sharing links to Amazon here, however, we encourage you to shop around and see which prices work the very best for you.