Friday, March 22, 2013

Question from a Reader: What is the Best Firesteel

This was a question that a reader sent us recently:

 "Hey Guys, What is the best firesteel on the market? I'm currently using a Swedish Firesteel and I like it but what do you all suggest? Thanks."

You asked and we will answer.

We've used a ton of firesteels and many work and we don't have complaints but our preference is what we are going to give you. My first "firesteel" experience was with the Doan Magnesium firestarter (pictured in the photo above, all the way to the left". Its basically a block of Magnesium with a small ferrocerium rod insert. I used it while doing some training in the Marines and thought it was the absolute best thing ever, at the time. Don't get me wrong the Doan bar still has a place in my heart. It's a good piece of gear to have when you have nothing but natural tinder. Those magnesium shaving will catch a flame on many things found in the woods. The problem I do have with the Doan is that the ferrocerium insert is just too small.
Notice the varying sizes of the firesteels shown
Looking at the above pic you will notice the size difference in the firesteels above. If your using your firesteel often you would easily go through some on the left hand side of the photo. Whereas it would take a life time to use the big boy all the way to the right. With that the "big boy" is either cheaper or at the same cost as the rest pictured. I like to spend my money wisely and want a bang for my buck. Another key is that the larger the ferro rod the easier it is to use with glove or when your extremely cold. With most firesteel's pictured above your paying for the name or the handle that's attached. I don't see a need for a handle when I have a huge firesteel.
My mischmetal rods
There are two types of "firesteels" that I use. They would be known as Mischmetal and Ferrocerium. I mostly favor Mischmetal because of its softer than Ferrocerium. If you were to strike both you would see that ferrocerium makes a lot of sparks, I like to use the example of fireworks. Whereas Mischemetal sends burning globs onto tinder. In my experience it works well with all types of tinder. Even if the tinder is a little damp. I'm not saying ferrocerium is bad or doesn't work, because I do use it. I'm only saying what I prefer.
While writing this article, I played with the UST Blastmatch. It's firesteel was almost the same size as my Mischmetal rods, so I wanted to give it a fair shake. As mechanical devices normally do it failed me. Again I must reiterate that devices will fail you and usually at the worst times. Sure I could have used my knife to strike it but the point is what if I had not had a knife or striker? Not only for that reason but the Blastmatch cost $20 or so dollars. Guys, buy quality gear that is simple and you know that will work.

Hope you guys enjoyed this article and I answered the question. If you guys have any question's and would like us to answer on the site, feel free to shoot them to us. I'll try to do a breakdown in a few weeks of my top five choices of firesteel's or firestarting equipment in general.

2 comments:

  1. Where can we get some mischmetal rods like yours?

    ReplyDelete
  2. They are fairly hard to come across. Normally ones of this size have to be purchased in bulk. We are in the process of acquring some to be sold in our store. Check back in our store in a few days and they should be there. Thanks

    ReplyDelete

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