Ask the Gear Guy

Best and easiest fire-starter


Q. My son wants a fire-starter. Which is the best and easiest?
—Mama Greta, Kentwood, Mich.

A. Hey, Mama. The real question is: Are you sure you really want your son to have a fire-starter? Just kidding. If he’s a Scout, I’m sure he’ll be responsible with it. A good option is the Light My Fire steel Scout ($12; lightmyfireusa.com). It’s basically a flint and steel set that was first designed for the Swedish military but is now used by outdoorsmen. Just scrape the steel across the flint and it throws a strong spark. It even works when wet. If your son gathers kindling and dry sticks and aims the sparks onto a cotton ball with a dab of Vaseline, he should be able to easily start a good fire. To make things even easier, he might also try Light My Fire Maya Dust ($5; lightmyfireusa.com). Just sprinkle some of the pulverized pieces of fatwood pine at the base of your soon-to-be fire and it’ll light quickly and easily and produce an extra hot flame.

Comments about “Best and easiest fire-starter”

  1. 614er says:

    just get a regular flint and steel from REI it’s the best

  2. teeto says:

    ok listen to me the best fire starter is….
    well
    1. go to your local fruit shop and ask if they have lettuce boxes.
    2.then light it up

    hint this starts well cos the carboard box have wax all over it so it lights really well
    age 12 the camando

  3. GG says:

    Mine often fails cause it’s the new one withoot the gap in the middle

  4. Sly Fox says:

    Easiest: Wrap (like a barrel) 2 strike anywhere matches with news paper cut into a strip 1″ x 9″. Tie it off with butchers string (leave 1-2″ extra) Double dip it in melted paraffin wax; cooling it between each dipping. Read to use- strike the match head on a striker or fine sand paper. Burns for about 1- 1.5 minutes, rain or shine. Real cheap to make too. This is our Troops main fire starters. Been doing it for more than 25 years now.

  5. Knife Xpert 157 (aka Chad 101) says:

    Swedish Light My Fire is one of the best. however the off brands arnt that bad either.

  6. PYRO MAN says:

    It’s better than nothing because when your striking on the the rock of your camp site with a couple of strike anywhere matches it’s kind fo frustrating , this tool is so much easier .

  7. Bubba Gump says:

    The Light My Fire starters are light weight, a lot lighter in than the magnesium. They are great if you are counting the ounces in preparation for backpacking. I like dryer lint for tinder.

  8. New Scout Dad says:

    How is a Light My Fire steel Scout better than a magnesium firestarter with an attached scraper / striker?
    (I find the saw on my Leatherman Blast to be best for shaving the magnesium, but my son informs me that he can’t have a serrated blade on troop outings.)

    • Knife Xpert 157 (aka Chad 101) says:

      there is no boyscout law that says you can not have a serrated edge on an outing. talk with the scout master about that and try to convince him that your son can take a serrated edge.

  9. Fire Man says:

    The best one I have seen is Insta-Fire – very safe – it lights similar to a candle but burns so hot and long that even if you have wet wood it will get it going. Canadian special forces uses it and our own Navy seals. Non toxic and won’t light with a spark – so very safe.

  10. tmg says:

    best fire starter i have ever used

  11. den leader mike says:

    another very easy one is to get a 9v battery and some steel wool this is very east and works every time

  12. rage552 says:

    i would use some matches with a water proof case

  13. lizardman says:

    I have used the magnesium fire starters. They work extremely well wet or dry. They can befound at sporting good stores, WalMart and Target. Price is about $5-$12 bucks. The flakes of Magnesium will burn hot enough to light slightly damp kindling.

  14. Be prepared#1 says:

    I love mine

  15. T-Man says:

    I have one and it works extremely well!

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