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Best Survival Fire Starter

Last Updated: January 21, 2020
Terry Daine
Product Review by Terry Daine

Alongside a supply of fresh drinking water, a reliable fire starter will be one of your most valuable resources when venturing into the great outdoors. A lighter or matches may do the trick in mild conditions, but the weather can be unpredictable.

What would happen if your matches got wet or your lighter ran out of butane? Magnesium or a ferrocerium fire starter will be your best bet at keeping warm at night, cooking food, and signaling for help.

There are numerous ways to light a fire. Using a firelighter is arguably the easiest and most efficient method. In survival situations, time is precious.

This guide will walk you through five of the top-rated fire starters in 2019, including a buyer’s guide on how to choose your own. By the end, you should have enough knowledge to select the best survival fire starter for your needs.

Our Reviews

Gerber Bear Grylls Fire Starter

This budget-friendly fire starter includes a Ferrocerium rod and a metal striker, making it simple to start fires wherever you are.

Not only is it compact and portable, but this fire starter from Gerber includes a waterproof storage compartment. There, you can store tinder to prevent it from falling victim to any water damage.

In terms of convenience, this fire starter is easy to transport. It comes with a lanyard to keep it on your person at all times, with an emergency whistle hidden in the lanyard as an extra safety precaution.

The fire starter claims to provide a spark for over 8000 strikes, which has been tested by the company. This means you’ve got a long-lasting and high-performing fire starter on your hands with this choice.


  • Compact and easy to transport
  • Waterproof storage compartment
  • Sparks for over 8000 strikes
  • Budget-friendly


  • Plastic handle does not provide the best grip
  • Doesn't come with instructions for use

The Friendly Swede Emergency Fire Starter

This ultra-durable flint fire starter works in rain, snow, and even in high altitude. The anti-corrosive and exterior make these firelighters suitable for survival, camping, bushcraft, and general outdoor activities.

The The Friendly Swede Emergency Fire Starter throws hot sparks regardless of how windy it is. The extra-long rod and handy striker make this lighter the perfect choice for beginners and experts.

This rod is great because it’s compact, lightweight and it lasts for ages! The flint rod is designed to be erosion resistant, unlike conventional everyday lighters. The ergonomic handle and fire starter are easy to use even in cold hands in freezing conditions. Because this fire starter is so easy to hold, it produces a shower of sparks!


  • Long-lasting
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Suitable for all skill levels
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Compact


  • Some reviewers claim that the handles were too small for their hands

Fire-Fast Trekker Survival Fire Starter

The Fire-Fast is one of the best fire starters on the market. It’s a little more expensive than other similar fire starters, but it’s worth the extra expense!

The Fire-Fast Trekker is beautifully made with 3 inches long solid wood handle for easy gripping even if you’re wearing gloves! This fire starter has one of the largest flints of any fire starter at half an inch wide. Wider flints are great because they create fast sparks for easy fire starting.

This fire starter replaces the need for matches and lighters because it works even in the wettest conditions. The wood handle is perfect because if you can’t find any tinder, you can shave some wood from the handle and use that.

The military-grade magnesium rod is used to create a burst of intense heat, kickstarting the flame. Plus, this fire starter is sturdy, tough, and will withstand all kinds of abuse. You drop it in the river, on rocks, from a height, and it will keep working without falling apart.


  • Military-grade magnesium rod
  • The scraper is made from hardened steel
  • The hardwood handle is great for winter conditions
  • Durable
  • High heat
  • Compact


  • Not the cheapest choice on the market

überleben Kräftig Fire Starter

The überleben Kräftig ½” Ferro rod tosses out a strong shower of sparks at 5,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Are you a mountaineer, hunter, or camper in search of a firestarter? If so, look no further!

Most other fire starters are 6″ or more in length, but the überleben Kräftig ½” Ferro rod is a compact and convenient 5″. Also, the Ferro blend offers the perfect blend of softness and durability.

This reliable rod will accept up to 20,000 strikes, providing you with valuable service for years to come. The shock-cord lanyard allows for multiple securing options and flex-versatility when striking.

Plus, the striker is multi-tool and acts as a concave tinder scraper, map scale, hex wrench, ruler, straight-edge spine, and a bottle opener!

Regardless of the altitude or environmental conditions, the shower of 5,500-degree sparks will make easy work of your kindling.


  • Convenient 5" length
  • 5,500-degree spark regardless of altitude or environment
  • Waterproof
  • Durable
  • Flex-versatility
  • Multi-tool


  • Not budget-friendly

Premium Ferro Rod Fire Starter Kit

The Premium Ferro Rod Fire Starter has a superior G10 handle that enhances grip and improves durability.

This versatile, lightweight, and portable fire striker kit will become your go-to fire starting tool for your next camping, backpacking, fishing, trekking, or hiking adventures.

Ideal for outdoor adventures, this fire starter kit is lightweight and easy to transport, and would fit comfortably in a survival backpack.

In addition to its high-quality and durable design, the kit also comes with a Ferro scraper. The scraper is multi-tool, and can double as a ruler or a bottle opener if you find yourself needing these items. The best survival tools are all about versatility, and the Premium Ferro Rod Fire Starter Kit is no different.


  • Durable handle gives enhanced grip
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Comes with multi-tool scraper


  • Striker doesn't produce sparks easily

Type of Fire Starter and Practicality

Survival fire starters come in all shapes and sizes, and deciding on the best type for you will depend on its intended purpose.

Flint and Steel fire starters, a primitive type of starter, work well in all weather conditions. They’re a trusted type of fire starter amongst survivalists, and you’ll likely see these kinds of fire starters a lot when you’re choosing one for survival.

While flint fire starters perform even in wet conditions, more common fire starters, such as matches, will be useless once they come into contact with water.

Instead, lighters are a safe bet, as they’re easy to use, portable, and can work no matter what the weather.


You’ll need to take weight into consideration when choosing a survival fire starter. Although a heavy fire starter might seem to be more effective and powerful, it won’t be a comfortable choice to carry around in an emergency.

To help shed some weight off your fire starter, you should think about the significance of certain features. For example, a striker may not be essential for you if you need your backpack to be as lightweight as possible. A more compact fire starter that requires more improvisation may be more convenient for long-term survival situations.


While most fire starters are already waterproof, you should be aware that they aren’t all built the same.

Fire starters made from tinder components, such as char cloth or cedar bark, will not be waterproof, which could cause issues if you find yourself in a wet environment.

If possible, aim to choose a fire starter that is already waterproof because of its material. Look for materials such as wax cloth or Ferro rods. However, if you do opt for a non-waterproof fire starter, then investing in a watertight container for protection is a sensible choice.

You’ll also need to think about how long-lasting your fire starter will be. Lighters typically run out fairly quickly, while Ferro rods are designed to last over long periods. Consider the quality of your fire starter, as higher quality materials generally mean the product will perform well for longer.

Although there are plenty of great budget-friendly options available, sometimes it can be smarter to invest in a high-quality product that may cost you slightly more but won’t need a replacement.


It would be pointless to choose a high-tech fire starter, take it out with you, and have no clue how to use it when the time comes.

That’s why it’s sensible to opt for a fire starter that is easy to use, especially if you are new to learning fire starting techniques. While some fire starting methods require a lot of practice and knowledge to master, you can start simple and build up your skill with time.

One way to make your fire starting experience a simpler one, would be to practice before you venture out into the wilderness for real.

If you can, practice in your backyard or a local woodland area (providing there are no restrictions and it is safe to do so), and this will make it seem far less daunting when you have to start a fire to survive.


Despite a wide range of fire starters to choose from, my pick for the best survival fire starter would be The Friendly Swede Magnesium Alloy Emergency Easy Grip Fire Starter.

It is suitable for any survival situation, as it performs to a high standard no matter what the weather conditions or the terrain is like. It remains high-quality while being compact and lightweight, and is also a great choice for beginners.

We hope our review has helped you to choose the best survival fire starter for you. It’s not easy to decide what is the best survival fire starter, but with the help of our reviews and buyer’s guide, we hope the choice isn’t so daunting.

Thanks for reading! If you have any feedback, please let us know in the comment section below. Alternatively, if you have any suggestions for future topics, please get in touch with us – we’d love to hear from you!

Good Luck and Happy Survival Prepping!

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