Best Firestarter For Backpacking And Survival

Be Prepared For Survival Situations With The Best Firestarter

As your packing for that big camping trip, you’re going to want to have a firestarter among your essentials. Even if you’re creating a bug-out bag for emergency situations, you still want to have a firestarter handy.

When you have the best firestarter you can get in your gear, you can rest assured knowing that you’ll at least have a fire to keep you warm and to cook with should you find yourself in a survival situation.

Magnesium Fire Starter

Today, we’re going to talk about our top picks that we feel are worthy of being labeled the best of the best. We will mention some features you should look for when shopping for a firestarter, as well as our final recommendation of which product we feel reigns supreme.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

Top 5 Contenders: Which Is the Best Firestarter?

Winner: Gerber Bear Grylls Firestarter

The first thing you’ll notice when your Gerber Bear Grylls Fire Starter arrives in the mail is that it features two halves: one half is a 1.75 inch ferrocerium rod and the other half is a 1.5 inch metal striker. Notable Features of the Gerber Bear Grylls Fire Starter include:

  • Compact fire starter with ferrocerium rod and metal striker
  • Lanyard to keep product secure and together
  • Emergency Whistle - Integrated into lanyard cord
  • Waterproof storage compartment for tinder
  • Land to air rescue instructions and SOS
  • Priorities of Survival - Pocket guide contains Bear’s survival essentials

Both halves of the firestarter are attached to a lanyard that also features a survival whistle, thus making it a must-have tool for any bug-out bag. When not in use, you can connect the two halves together and it’ll create a waterproof container to keep your tinder dry.

This is a lightweight tool that weighs only 2.6 ounces and measures a modest 4.8 inches, making it light enough and small enough to wear around your neck, or you can store it in your backpack without worrying about taking up too much space.

Along with this firestarter, you’ll also receive a Bear Grylls’ Survival Guide that’s loaded with useful information should you ever find yourself in a survival situation.

Gerber Bear Grylls Fire Starter



When looking at what customers had to say about the Gerber Bear Grylls Fire Starter, we noticed that that a large majority of reviewers had wonderful things to say. Customers appreciated that the firestarter was large enough to get a good grip on the ends of either half, thus making it easier to use the tool.

Customers liked that it creates large sparks that are hotter than a lighter. Another thing people loved about this unit was that it includes Morse code distress signals, the Survival Guide and an emergency whistle. They also appreciated that the tool does create a water-tight seal to protect the rod and striker from water and humidity.

At the other end of the review spectrum, there are a small amount of people who had a few critical comments. The most common complaint people had was that the compartment for tinder was far too small. One person reported the compartment isn’t large enough to fit anything other than a single cotton ball, which isn’t enough kindling to start a fire.

Runner-Up: The Friendly Swede Magnesium Alloy Firestarter

When you’re looking for the best firestarter tool, you’re going to want something that is going to be able to work in all types of weather conditions and even at high-altitudes. The Friendly Swede Magnesium Alloy Fire Starter is a prime example. Notable Features of the Friendly Swede Magnesium Alloy Fire Starter include:

  • Durable flint firestarter works in any weather condition
  • Extra-long ferrocerium rod with handy striker creates hot sparks
  • Flint rod will not corrode over time
  • Ergonomic handle on striker and firestarter promotes ease of use
  • Lifetime warranty

This unit features a rust-free, ultra-strong ferrocerium rod that is perfect for camping, bug-out bags, and bush-craft. The flint lighter that comes with this firestarter can throw hot sparks regardless of how windy it may be.

It doesn’t matter your familiarity with firestarters, this unit features an easy-to-use design makes it a perfect tool for all skill levels. Even if you have frozen fingers, the ergonomic handle on the striker and the ferro rod makes it easy to hold.

The rod is coated in a protective oil which will need to be wiped away before use. Don’t worry about reapplying oil to the ferro rod because it will not corrode over time.

The Friendly Swede Magnesium Alloy Emergency Easy Grip Fire Starter



Many of the reviews for this product are positive, which is a wonderful indication of how well this product works, but also how reliable it is, too. Customers appreciate the price point of this firestarter, especially since it comes with two units. People also liked that both the striker and ferro rod are fitted with ergonomic handles that fit comfortably in the hand.

Several people say that this is the best firestarter for camping because it doesn’t weigh a lot (less than 3 ounces for both firestarters). Since these firestarters are softer than other products on the market, you’ll only get about 1,000 strikes per rod.

However, as one customer pointed out, the sparks are very hot and catch almost immediately. That means you won’t be striking the rod as much as the competition.

Although most people had good things to say about this product, we want to be fair and mention the complaints. Several customers reported the handles on the rod and striker are not secure and they will fall off.

One person even mentioned the handles fell off on the first use. This was the main complaint people had, but a few also mentioned they had trouble getting it to make sparks on the first try.

Alternative: X-Plore Gear Firestarter

As you’re putting together your survival bag, you need to have the best survival firestarter you can get, right? The X-Plore Gear Firestarter is an excellent option because it is designed to light a fire under any condition. Notable Features of the X-Plore Gear Firestarter include:

  • Firestarter can start a fire under any condition
  • Magnesium fire starter rod and double-sided scraper creates thousands of sparks
  • Handle features a built-in 150 dB emergency whistle
  • Magnetic compass

This means you’ll be able to keep yourself warm if you’re caught in a rain or snow storm in the middle of the winter with only a few strikes. This firestarter features a magnesium rod with a double-sided metal scraper. As you strike the two components together, you will create a hot spark that will light your fire quickly every time.

This versatile tool doesn’t have to live in your survival gear bag because it’s is designed to last for thousands of strikes. This means that while it is a reliable tool for survival situations, it is also a great tool for anyone who likes to barbeque or it can even be used to light the fireplace in their home.

This tool is especially great for campers because it is lightweight and compact, allowing you to carry it everywhere you go if need be.

X-Plore Gear Firestarter



When checking out the reviews for this product, we noticed the majority of people had positive experiences using this firestarter. Several customers said this was the best firestarter for backpacking they’ve tried because it’s very lightweight and compact, therefore it doesn’t take much any room at all in their backpack.

Customers also appreciate that this product includes an emergency whistle and a compass, which are valuable tools should you find yourself in an emergency.

Other customers commented that they liked the price point of this firestarter. Some have had a few minor complaints like the whistle takes some practice getting used to and the handle is slightly off center, but for the price, those annoyances weren’t enough to make them discourage others from buying the product.

Speaking of minor annoyances, let’s talk about what customers had to say who didn’t like the product. Some people said they had a hard time getting a spark with the unit, while others commented there was a crack in the handle of their firestarter, or that the handle fell off after using it for a short time.

2nd Alternative: Magnesium Flint Firestarter

The Friendly Swede is back on this list with this product. When you’re looking for the best magnesium firestarter. Notable Features of the Magnesium Flint Firestarter include:

  • Waterproof firestarter works in any condition
  • Firestarter features a bottle opener, a small ruler, and a scraping tool
  • Firestarter creates hotter sparks than a butane lighter

This is a good option because the firestarter features a corrosion-resistant magnesium bar that can create hotter sparks that catch much easier than the flame from your butane lighter. The striking tool of this unit also features a bottle opener, a scraping tool, and a map scale that uses inches and centimeters.

Since this firestarter is waterproof, you can get the unit wet (or work in wet conditions) and still make sparks – even if the firestarter has been fully submerged under water! Not only is this firestarter waterproof, it is also windproof and coldproof.

This means your firestarter is always going to create enough sparks to build a fire, no matter what mother nature throws your way. When we looked at the reviews of this product, we were pleasantly surprised by the number of positive reviews it received. 

Magnesium Flint Firestarter



Customers like that each of the three firestarters were individually wrapped in resealable packets, thus ensuring the firestarter would be ready to go when you needed it most. One customer did point out that before you use the firestarter, you wipe off the protective oil first.

To use the product, customers liked that the striker/scrapper worked very well, even in windy conditions. Once they were able to scrape off a small pile of magnesium (which came off very easily) onto their kindling, the striker created hot sparks that immediately caught the magnesium and kindling ablaze on the first strike.

At the other end of the review spectrum, there were a small portion of customers who were disappointed with this purchase. Some people found that when they tried to scrape the magnesium off of their mag bar, it wasn’t as easy as they would have liked.

Also, some customers commented that the sparks didn’t seem to burn as hot as other products on the market. One person even said they had a difficult time getting char cloth to ignite when using this firestarter.

3rd Alternative: überleben Zünden Ferro Rod Firestarter

The Überleben Zünden firestarter isn’t like other firestarters on this list because it just looks and feels like it’s own class of firestarters – if that makes sense. Notable Features of the überleben Zünden Ferro Rod Fire Starter include:

  • Creates between 12,000 and 20,000 strikes
  • Reliable in any condition without the need of flint or lighter fluid
  • Firestarter features sturdy ferro rod with a comfortable wooden handle
  • Firestarter is attached to a paracord lanyard
  • Concave toothed steel scraper that acts like a ruler, map scale and bottle opener

While other firestarters on this list may look fancy and include extras like a compass or a whistle, this firestarter is simple and basic. The handle is made from a solid piece of hardwood, which gives you a naturally textured grip that feels good in the hand, unlike plastic handles other firestarters have.

The alloy used to make the Überleben Zünden firestarter is a special blend of materials that, when struck, will create an astounding 5,500° F spark. With a spark that hot, you can bet the spark will catch quickly under any weather condition.

Also, unlike other firestarters on this list, you have the option of three different ferro rod thicknesses which provide a different number of strikes: 12,000 strikes from thick 5/16" (8mm) ferrocerium rod, 15,000 strikes for the thick 3/8" (10mm) ferrocerium rod, and more than 20,000 for the 1/2" (13mm) ferrocerium rod.

When reading the customer reviews, we are pleased to report a large majority of customers had positive experiences with the rod. People were very impressed by how hot the spark was.

überleben Zünden Ferro Rod Firestarter



They went on to say they were able to ignite kindling with the first strike. One person didn’t even realize how hot the spark was and they struck the firestarter while standing over their kindling and it caught immediately – much to their surprise.

A few other people mentioned that they’ve used firestarters in the past and this was by far the best firestarter for survival because it’s simple, and in that simplicity, people found that this product is reliable, consistent, and a must-have for everyone.

Customers also like that since the spark created by this firestarter is so hot, they’re able to start a fire under any condition.

Although the majority of consumers who left reviews had great things to say about this product, there were still some people who were less than impressed. Of these critical reviews, people were most disappointed in the construction.

Several people reported the glue that held the handle onto the rod did not hold up at all. Another person stated the rod doesn’t go far enough into the handle, so when their handle got a crack in it, the rod fell out. This person did go on to say that with a little super glue, the firestarter was like new.

What To Look For In The Best Firestarter

Firestarters are a valuable tool that everyone should have because they provide you with a lot of benefits. For example:


If you get stranded in the middle of nowhere and it gets cold out, you’re going to rely on this tool to keep you warm, thus preventing hypothermia from kicking in.


Everyone likes being able to see where they go, don’t they?

Water Purification And Cooking

After you build a fire, you can boil water and filter it through a cloth. This means no threat of dehydration!


Build one fire, you’re good. Build two or more fires, people will notice and they’ll come looking. This means if you’re lost in the woods, you have a better chance of getting rescued.


If fire is capable of scaring people, just imagine how scary it is to wildlife and insects! A firestarter will make it easier to build a fire which can be used to ward off predators, thus keeping you nice and safe!

Using Firestarter

Disinfecting Wounds

This may seem extreme, but if you get injured and you need to disinfect a wound, a fire can help you do that – if have proper training.

Boost Morale

Who doesn’t love a story time by the campfire? A campfire has an uncanny way of making a bad situation not so bad, which is important in survival situations.

Now that you know what the benefits are of having a firestarter in your gear, let’s take a look at what you should take into consideration when buying one.

Type Of Fire Starter

The most common firestarters include:

Magnesium Blocks

These are the most popular type of fire starters because magnesium is highly flammable, and the smallest bit of the element will create a fire quickly.

Ferrocerium Rods (Aka Flint)

Ferro Rods will create sparks when struck with a serrated steel “striker.” Unlike the magnesium, the ferro rods need good tinder material, such as char cloth or cotton balls coated in petroleum jelly. Keep in mind, these aren’t beginner friendly.

Waterproof Matches

Waterproof matches are great because they can be used in the rain. Matches are the cheapest type of firestarter, but they are only good for one use. This means if you’re stranded in the woods, you must use your matches sparingly because you don’t know when you’ll get rescued.

Fuel Tablets

Fuel tablets can get expensive and if you don’t have something to actually light the tablets, they’re worthless.

Ease Of Use

Lighting a fire is no easy task, but if you have one of the best firestarters in your pack, it’ll be easier. The firestarter you choose should be simple to use and the spark the firestarter creates should be hot enough to ignite your kindling quickly with fewer strikes on the rod.


When you’re camping or backpacking, you’re going to want to get as much stuff into your pack as you can without it being super heavy. So, the firestarter you choose for your backpack should be lightweight and with minimal bulk. Fortunately, a lot of the products on this list are lightweight, easy to carry, and aren’t bulky at all.

Firestarter On Knife Holster


A firestarters durability doesn’t how long the fire itself will last, but instead how long the rod or magnesium will last. Think about what you’re going to use the firestarter for (do you go camping/backpacking a lot or will it be just for survival situations), where you’re going to store it when not in use, and so forth.

Final Verdict

All of these products are worthy of the title, “Best Firestarter,” but we feel the Gerber Bear Grylls Fire Starter is the best. Not only does it come with an emergency whistle and a compass, we like that the product features a waterproof container with room for (one) piece of cotton for tinder.

We like that it’s attached to a lanyard which you can wear around your neck and not worry about losing it. We also like that it comes with a guide of survival basics that could save your life.

Leave us a comment below and tell us what you’re going to use your firestarter for. Are you going on a camping trip and want to have a reliable way to start a fire? Are you making a survival kit to keep in the car?

We’d love to hear from you!


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