Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fire: Aurora Fire Starter


This is the Aurora Fire Starter from Solo Scientific. By looking at it; it looks to be a basic encapsulated firesteel. At least that's what I perceived it to be on initial inspection (I was wrong).

Lets first talk about the body of the Aurora Fire Starter. It's definitely one of the best looking fire starting systems I've seen. It features a knurled aircraft aluminum body with an O-ring seal. The Aurora Fire Starter also has a lanyard hole that will accommodate a para-cord lanyard.  That way you can affix it to your key chain, be worn around your neck, or tied off to your person so that you do not lose it. Another thing I will add is that using a para-cord lanyard will also help with the function of the fire starter. By lengthening the grip you will get a better downward striking motion that will help with accuracy. 


Some may ask "why do I need a waterproof housing for my firesteel? they are waterproof". While they will work when wet, I just recently had an experience with this thought process that proved otherwise. I keep a kit in my vehicle- in this kit I keep a firesteel. When I pulled out the firesteel it had been eaten away and corroded. I guess from the constant humidity of the area I live in. Another reason would be if you are in and around salt water, which will destroy a firesteel.
One of the major reasons why I appreciate this housing is the Super Alloy striking blade on the bottom portion of the cylinder. Most firesteels have some sort of hack saw blade/striker attached by a lanyard to the steel. This is a self-contained version of that- giving you more space to store other items. As you can see in the photo above, this blade can be turned around for a fresh striking surface or replaced with a new blade. I would like to see the blade extended just a bit to facilitate striking. I did also try using the Aurora Fire Starter with a knife blade and it worked fine as well.

Lets get to the rod itself. The rod is a ferro-magnesium mix. Unlike most magnesium rods that you must shave portions onto a tinder pile, with one stroke burning magnesium falls onto your intended pile. I normally use a Misch Metal ferro rod (as you will see in some of my videos), they do not produce a huge shower of sparks but sends burning globs of metal. The Aurora Fire Starter is very similar to the Misch Metal rods. If you use Light My Fires or standard Magnesium bars you will see what looks like a fire work display. The problem is that these products force you to get too close to your tinder pile- occasionally disturbing your tinder and kindling set up. The Aurora allows you to strike at a safe distance.

I tested the Aurora Fire Starter against a Light My Fire Army model. I used 3 different tinder offerings in my test: Wetfire, PJ covered cotton ball, and fatwood. I will say there is somewhat of a learning curve for the Aurora Fire Starter. You must use a steady downward stroke (without that flicking action at the end). I read some negative reviews online prior to testing the unit and I believe they may have been striking the Aurora Fire Starter like they would a normal ferro rod. Once I got the technique down I was able to ignite all the tinder offerings with 1 strike of the Aurora. The Light My Fire Army model took around 5 strikes to ignite the same tinder.

I was definitely pleased with the Aurora Fire Starter after I "mastered" the technique. It's a good looking and solid unit that you can depend on. I may also get a Black Anodized model for tactical applications.

It comes in Silver (MSRP $21.95) and Anodized Black ($24.95).
Check them out at:
http://www.soloscientific.com/aurora-fire-starter1.html

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