Should I Carry a Flint Fire Starter?

In an emergency situation you might need to start a campfire. Flint fire starters are are often portrayed in the media as an effective way to start a fire in the wilderness. We tested and compared four flint fire starters to see how they compete with matches and lighters.

Make Waterproof Matches

AOFAR magnesium flint fire starter

1. AOFAR Magnesium Flint Fire Starter

  • AF-374 Retail Cost: $8
  • Total Weight: 49.1 grams (1.7 ounces)
  • 3.3 grams for fire/tinder paracord (not shown)
  • Magnesium Bar Dimensions: 3 in. x 1.1 in. x 0.35 in.
  • Estimated number of strikes: 3,000

Pros

  • Can adjust magnesium shavings for desired ignition
  • Includes fire/tinder paracord

Cons

  • Small flint striker
  • More expensive than other magnesium fire starters
Coghlan's fire starter

2. Coghlan’s Fire Starter

  • Retail Cost: $7
  • Total Weight 52.6 grams (1.9 ounces)
  • Ferrocerium Rod Dimensions: 2.9 in. x 0.3 in x 0.3 in
  • Estimated number of strikes: 4,000

Pros

  • Ferrocerium rod and striker is easy to hold in hand

Cons

  • Did not include fire/tinder paracord

 

AOFAR AF-381 fire starter

3. AOFAR AF-381 Fire Starter

  • Retail Cost: $7
  • Total Weight: 27.7 grams (1 ounce)
  • Ferrocerium Rod: 3.9 in. x 0.7 in. x 0.5 in
  • Estimated number of strikes: 3,000

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Includes fire/tinder paracord
  • Includes compass and whistle on handle

Cons

  • Small ferrocerium rod and difficult to hold
  • Small striker
QIHANARS magnesium flint fire starter

4. QIHANERS Fire Starter

  • Retail Cost: $5
  • Total Weight: 52.3 grams (1.8 ounces)
  • Magnesium Bar Dimensions: 3 in. x 1.1 in. x 0.35 in.
  • Estimated number of strikes: 3,000

Pros

  • Can adjust magnesium shavings for the desired ignition
  • Flint striker includes a bottle opener and ruler
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Did not include fire/tinder paracord
  • Flint striker lanyard too short and fragile

Should I Carry a Flint Fire Starter?

Flint type fire starters are fun to use but are not practical for backpacking. It is much easier to start a fire using matches or a lighter. A flint fire starter weighs more than a lighter and can’t provide the same flame. For most backpacking conditions we recommend carrying a butane lighter and some backup waterproof matches.