When looking at survival gear, a good Firestarter tool should be at the top of the list. Being able to start a fire can save your life during a survival situation. You can use the fire to keep away bugs and predators, boil water, cook food, and stay warm. However, you can’t always carry around lighter fluid and a lighter.
We found a survival fire starter kit that is small enough to keep in the glove box of your vehicle, and is light enough to haul in your bug out bag. Better yet? It is a name we trust for great quality: Gerber.
The Firestarter Tool We Like the Most
Since 1939, Gerber has masterfully hand-crafted knives, tools, and equipment, in the Portland, Oregon facility – pioneering an industry and honoring a heritage. Local ingenuity and American spirit collide within these walls – where iconic products are born, tested, and shipped worldwide.
What is the best fire starter tool?
A simple firestarter tool can start fires even in damp, unfavorable conditions. A firestarter works by running a metal striker over a ferrocerium rod, creating sparks. These sparks will not only dry out damper wood, but ignite dry wood. This is important is you have ever had to try to camp when the ground is wet.
These are better than a firestarter brick, firestarter cubes, firestarter nuggets, and even paracord – which doesn’t really do a good job of starting any kind of campfire.
Just check out this video on how paracord doesn’t really work well:
The Gerber Bear Grylls Firestarter is one of the best firestarters on the market, especially for the price. The Gerber firestarter comes in a compact, waterproof container that pulls apart into the striker and rod.
The rod has a black coating that has to be scratched off before any good sparks will fly. The first few strikes won’t produce very good sparks, but once it’s been broken in, it will give off consistent, powerful sparks.
That is important to know as many people never take the time to scratch it off and when they have to put it to the test? It doesn’t work correctly. Take the time to make sure your tools are really ready for their intended use.
To use this firestarter tool, firmly place the sharp end of the striker against the rod. Then, quickly pull the rod towards you. This should give off a nice spark after a few tries.
The kit also actually has instructions for signaling for help. It includes the Morse code for SOS, the Alpine rescue signal, and hand signals to signal for air help. The SOS and Alpine rescue signals can be done with the loud rescue whistle on the lanyard. It is right on the handle of the tool!
The SOS signal is 3 short bursts of the whistle, 3 long bursts, and then 3 short bursts. Allow around a minute for a response, and then send the signal out again. The Alpine rescue signal is to be used in the event of mountain emergencies and consists of six bursts, all with 10 seconds in between them.
After the signal, allow a minute for a response. A response will sound like 3 bursts, and should mean that they’re contacting rescue services for help. Inside the end of one of the handles is a waterproof compartment for tinder, with a cotton ball already inside.
I know it seems funny, but the sound of a whistle can carry a lot further than the sound of a human voice AND it can’t go hoarse from overuse.
Now, let’s talk tinder. You can fill the rest of that bag with whatever tinder you choose to pack, though cotton balls are a great tinder. Optionally, you can rub some petroleum jelly on a cotton ball, which will make it burn longer and hotter. I keep those in a ziploc baggie so it doesn’t mess up the rest of the items in the the glove box and emergency bug out bag kit.
When starting a fire, the sparks should land on the tinder, and once the fire starts, you should pile on kindling to keep the fire going, and eventually larger pieces of wood to burn as fuel.
I know that might not be practical in a real emergency situation. You may find yourself with a paracord animal snare and roasting a fresh rabbit over the fire, or just boiling water to pour over your MRE.
Whatever you end up eating, having a great fire is the important thing. And with a good firestarter tool, you should be ready to go!