Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Light My Fire Firesteel (Army Model) Review

Key Info
-Lasts Approx 12,000 strikes – Army model.   
-3000*C sparks.   
-Easily ignites fine tinder such as cotton wool.   
-Small, handy and strong.   

The Swedish Firesteel was originally developed for the Swedish Department of Defence, and has quickly become the mainstay for firelighting in the wilderness. Comprised of an alloy of 20 metals called Ferrocerium – the metal found in lighter flints, the firesteel is, in my opinion, after the knife and sharpener, the third most important thing to take into any outdoor environment.  It will provide a reliable and very long-lasting way to make fire in all conditions, and won't be affected by water. The 3000*C sparks last for up to a second due to a greater proportion of Magnesium in the alloy, also meaning that more stubborn tinder can be ignited by shaving a small amount off the firesteel itself and then striking sparks on to the shavings to ignite them. The firesteel will easily fit in a pocket (though shouldn't be kept in with keys for obvious reasons!), and can be used to signal at night in an emergency, as the sparks are extremely bright. At a push, it could even be used as an emergency light source.  

Do they actually work?
Yes! They do. While not an alternative for a box of matches around the house, in an outdoor environment, they are far more valuable than matches.  They will last far longer, and survive a soaking, and even strike when wet! They tend to take a little practice to get the right technique at first - one mustn't strike too quickly, but must instead apply a firm pressure and strike in a controlled manner along the entire length of the firesteel - but once mastered can be used on a wide variety of natural and synthetic tinders/fuels.  They will obviously not be able to ignite a piece of wood, or a piece of paper for that matter, but can be used on things like cotton wool (Vaseline-soaked or plain), Hexamine tablets, camping gas stoves, scraped Birch bark, char-cloth, shredded paper, toilet paper......the list goes on!  The firesteel can be struck with the included striker, or with the back of a knife.  Using the back of a knife often provides stronger sparks, although it will wear away the firesteel more quickly, and the knife must not have a smooth or rounded spine, as this will produce no sparks at all!  

The Light My Fire Firesteel is a must-have for any outdoor enthusiast.  It isn't really worth getting the 3000 strike 'Scout' model, as the price difference isn't much, so the 12000 strike 'Army' model is the better choice.  The firesteel will last years and serve you far better that any box of matches ever could, so, if you're going on an expedition, or even if you're just going camping, the firesteel will help you get your fire going, whatever the weather! 

You can get the Army Firesteel on


  1. What about using Maya dust with them. It makes starting a fire far easier.

    1. Could do! But a cheaper way is cotton wool soaked in Vaseline! Burns for longer and it's waterproof!!


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