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The 10 Best Fire Starters for Camping & Hiking [2024]

Amar Hussain's image
Amar Hussain
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Amar Hussain

Senior Content Contributor

802 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 63U.S. States Visited: 9

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications incl...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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A well-equipped bag of gear is a necessity when you’re camping or hiking, and one of the essentials of your pack is a fire starter. However, finding a suitable fire starter that works in all weather conditions isn’t as easy as you might think.

To help you decide on the best fire starter for your pack, we’ve compiled a list of what to look for.

Things To Consider When Buying a Fire Starter

Fire Starter
A fire starter is an essential item if your camping or hiking. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

Before you set out to find a fire starter, take a few moments to consider the aspects that make a good one.

It’s not just about the spark ignition — you also need a durable solution that’s compact enough to fit into a backpack and powerful enough to start a fire even when it’s snowing. We’ve gathered the most important factors to look for and listed them below to make it easier for you.

Spark Time

To start a fire, you need a quality striker and base starter material that produces enough sparks to light in even the harshest weather conditions. It’s important to have a longer spark-burning time so you can easily start the fire with a lasting blaze.

Because of this, you should take note of the quality of the spark striker and base material to achieve the best results.

Starter Size

Fire Starter Size
Compact fire starter packs come in sizes measuring 3 to 10 inches. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

All you need to start a fire is a good spark, and that doesn’t require a large fire starter. Compact fire starter packs come in sizes measuring 3 to 10 inches, and you don’t need anything more than that. Especially when you are transporting your gear in your pack, your fire starter should be as small as possible.

Striker Type

It would be useful to find a fire starter with a steel striker included, as these strikers can be used repeatedly. A lasting striker along with your Ferro rod will ensure that you get the most out of your kit.

Handle and Rod Material

Fire Starter Rod Material
Your starter rod will need a handle with a sturdy holding point. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

To start a fire with precision and ease, your starter rod will need a handle with a sturdy holding point, and wooden handles are often the best way to go. With proper support and the help of a handle, you can make one swift move with the striker to light the fire in a matter of seconds.

Hot Tip: As for the starter rod, look for magnesium and Ferro rods for high durability and excellent ignition.

The 10 Best Fire Starters

Now that we’ve addressed the main points of consideration, it’s time to jump straight into some of the best options for a fire starter. Regardless of the circumstances, you can rely on these options to start a campfire for preparing outside meals and keeping warm.

1. Lightweight Pocket-size Fire Starter

HTS 222B0 Magnesium Block Fire Starter with Flint & Striker

One of the best compact solutions is HTS’s Magnesium Block Fire Starter, which easily fits into the palm of your hand. However, the size is not even the greatest advantage of this fire starter when compared to others.

It’s also completely waterproof, so you can light a fire in even the harshest weather conditions. Most importantly, the 3-inch-long magnesium starter with flint enables easy fire starting regardless of your holding technique.

It also comes with an attached single-sided striker, so you won’t have to bother looking for an additional one. The chain connecting the striker and magnesium bar can be detached, but it’s best to keep it at hand in its original form.

What We Like:

  • Pocket-size fire starter

What We Don’t Like:

  • The chain is detachable, which could lead to misplacing the striker

2. Drilled-flint Ferro Rod Fire Starter

Bayite 4 Inch Survival Ferrocerium Fire Starter

If you want a versatile fire starter for all weather conditions, Bayite’s Ferro rod starter is the best option. It allows you to ignite sparks at 5,500°F to start a fire even when it’s raining or snowing. It includes a paracord and allows you to get a sturdy grip on the handle.

At the end of the paracord, you will find an attached tool-grade steel striker that maximizes sparking action. The high-grade steel provides a much better alternative to any knife you might otherwise use. The length of the rod is 4 inches, and the packed paracord and starter all fit into the small-size packaging suitable for backpack storage.

What We Like:

  • Highly-effective Ferro rod

What We Don’t Like:

  • The handle material isn’t of the same quality as the rod

Hot Tip: Never be unprepared! Check out our top hiking essentials and camping essentials to bring on your next trip.

3. Compact, Wooden-handle Fire Starter

Texas Bushcraft Fire Starter Kit

If you are looking for a professional fire starter rod made of premium-quality materials, you might like the Texas Bushcraft’s fire starter kit. It’s a great option thanks to the magnesium rod and the sturdy grip provided by the high-quality wood handle.

Moreover, the whole package is filled with quality features like the durable jumbo tinder rope and stainless-steel striker. In combination with the 5,500°F combustion and spark production, this rod gives you great value for such a small package.

You can easily use a piece of the waterproof tinder starter rope to ignite a fire, even in extremely bad weather conditions.

What We Like:

  • High-quality wooden handle

What We Don’t Like:

  • The connection between the rod and the striker could be torn

4. Complete Survival Fire Starter Kit

Extremus 6-in-1 Magnesium Fire Starter

For a complete survival kit with a compass and an emergency whistle, the Extremus fire starter kit is one of the best options for camping and hiking. It has a magnesium rod that can be used for thousands of strikes and many outdoor adventures.

It’s a lightweight kit with a reinforced rubber handle and a lanyard connecting the steel striker and the rod. The striker is uniquely designed in the form of a knife-like blade, and it only takes the slightest contact between it and the rod to make an intense spark.

What We Like:

  • Great for all weather conditions

What We Don’t Like:

  • The handle could be designed with higher quality material

5. 3-Pack Fire Starter Kit

Zerosun Magnesium Fire Starter Kit

Getting 3 fire starter blocks instead of just 1 bar or rod is a great deal for long-term spark ignition. Even better, just 1 block from Zerosun’s set will last for thousands of sparks.

The striking tool can even be used as a bottle opener and mini ruler, and the magnesium block combined with the sharp metal striker provides much easier combustion than a lighter. It’s also waterproof and includes a chain that connects the striker and the rod for user convenience.

The size of a single block is just 3 inches in length, making it nice and compact for storing in your pack.

What We Like:

  • 3 high-quality magnesium bars

What We Don’t Like:

  • The striker blade could be thicker

6. Great for Use in an Emergency

Fire-Fast Trekker Emergency Waterproof Survival Fire Starter

This emergency fire starter is made out of the highest-quality Ferro rod from Austrian ferrocerium, making it one of the finest rods out there. It is made of more than 75% rare earth metal, along with a blend of iron, magnesium, and anti-corrosives.

The military-grade rod is suitable for the harshest of conditions and enables you to easily light a fire, even on a wet surface. The hardwood handle provides a secure grip and can be scraped for tinder in emergency situations.

The metal striker is on the small side, which could be the only downside, but it’s effective and easy to use, so it shouldn’t be a problem.

What We Like:

  • Hand-crafted, premium fire starter rod

What We Don’t Like:

  • Metal striker is a bit small

7. Emergency Rod With Paracord Neck Lanyard

Uberleben Leicht Fire Starter Necklace Ferro Rod

With its small size and inconspicuous design, this fire-starter-Ferro-rod combo can be worn around your neck and used in all weather conditions. It sparks at 5,500°F and provides up to 12,000 strikes, yet it weighs less than an ounce.

The paracord lanyard keeps the striker at your disposal at all times for convenient use. The striker is designed with a sharp edge to ensure easy fire ignition, and the necklace as a whole boasts a unique, attractive design.

What We Like:

  • Unique fire starter necklace

What We Don’t Like:

  • The sharpened striker edge requires sensitive use

8. Portable and Lightweight

WOLF GRIZZLY Store Fire Set Survival Camp Fire Starter

If you are looking for an old-school option that resembles a classic wooden-rod fire starter, this is the one. Wolf Grizzly’s fire starter pack comes with 2 steel-made rods for the highest durability and functionality.

The striker cradles the rod to make it easier for fire-starting and for packing. With a compact design that weighs just a bit over 2 ounces, you can carry this rod anywhere. To start a fire with it, all you have to do is scratch the protective paint off the rod, press the edge of the striker against the Ferro rod, and strike to combust.

What We Like:

  • The 100% ferrocerium rod

What We Don’t Like:

  • It might take a few strikes once the paint is scratched off

9. A Great Option in Survival Situations

Centaur Ridge Fire Starter Survival Tool

This complete outdoor fire-starting solution includes a premium Ferro rod, paracord handle, striker, and wax jute in one well-rounded package. The emergency kit is capable of lighting a fire within seconds.

All you have to do is use the steel striker to create a spark with the help of the included waxed rope. With this rope addition, you will be able to start a fire even in rainy and snowy conditions. Best of all, this premium set comes with not 1 but 2 wooden-handled starters.

The premium Ferro blend provides sturdiness and durability, and the 2 multi-tool carbon steel strikers further sweeten the deal.

What We Like:

  • Premium Ferro-blend

What We Don’t Like:

  • A thin metal striker could be beefed up

10. Magnesium Starter Kit for Camping

Check on Walmart

Jet Emergency Fire Starter Magnesium Kit for Camping

This lightweight camping set comes in an old-school tin that includes 3 separate resealable bags of magnesium shreds along with a Ferro rod and striker. Of course, the tin can also be used for storing other small camping necessities as well.

The durable magnesium rod sparks at 5,600°F for easy fire starting. The set is just 5 inches long and 2 inches wide for the perfect blend of convenience and compact storage.

What We Like:

  • Extremely high blazing temperature

What We Don’t Like:

  • Comes without a chain connection

Final Thoughts

Any of the fire starters on this list will be more than sufficient for lighting a fire while camping or hiking. Not only are they compact enough to squeeze into your backpack or pocket, but they also offer thousands of sparks produced with a simple striker blow.

Magnesium and Ferro rods will improve the life of your starter pack, and options that have connected rods and strikers are the most convenient choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best tinder for a fire?

Most of the options on our list come with a rope or a paracord that you can use to light a spark and start a fire, even in rainy weather. You can get the most out of wax-coated ropes that instantly combust with even the slightest spark.

How long does a magnesium starter bar last?

Magnesium bars will last for a few thousand strikes before they become unusable, with some supporting up to 10,000 blows.

Is a Ferro rod better than a magnesium one?

A Ferro-blend rod will usually last a bit longer than a 100% magnesium one, but it all depends on the exact blend and materials used.

What is the best striker material for a fire starter?

Your best option is a stainless-steel striker to ensure a long-lasting solution and the best spark ignition.

Amar Hussain's image

About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.

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