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.

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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 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.