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Gadgets: Fire Starting devices that you are probably not aware of.

Michael aka Mac

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Michael aka Mac

For the average person,  making a fire consists of a Bic lighter or a pack of matches.  The main problem with these 2 being your primary fire starting source is that eventually you run out of matches or fuel, or they have some sort of mechanical problem ( matches get wet,  lighter flint wears out or falls out, striker dislodges)

The Boy Scouts and the military share a lot in common, one of which is packing redundancies. 

There are a lot of different weather conditions that can create difficulties in starting a fire. 

I would like to introduce to you a few alternative fire starting devices that I have used over the years.


The Permanent Metal Match  this little guy can produce up to 15,000 fires, making this one of the most eco friendly matchless fire starters out there.  A full description and price are listed in above link.


The Doan Magnesium Fire Starter  this fire starter is a game changer especially in wet conditions.  Once you shave some of the Magnesium filings off the bar and add a spark or flame to it, the shavings will burn at 4000 degrees Fahrenheit. Beware of other brand name Magnesium Fire Starter out there on the market, as many do not work,  this one does.  Warning:  water will not extinguish the Magnesium fire, one must either deprive it of air, or simply let it run its' course.  Table salt, sand, or a pot lid can be used to extinguish the flames.


A Fire Piston uses the Ideal Gas Law to create fire.  It does not use fuel, flints, sparks, ferro rods, or Magnesium to start an ember but rather it uses  air compression based on the formula PV=NRT: [ (P)ressure * (V)olume = N [amount of substance] * R [ideal gas constant] * (T)emperature] simply put a small piece of cotton or charred cloth inside the tip of the fire piston then plunge the tip into the base one time fast and your ember has been created.

Electrical Fire method One can create fire using a small piece of Fine Steel Wool ( without soap additive)  and a 9 Volt Battery . All you need to do is rip off a segment of Fine Steel wool and place your 9 Volt battery on top of the steel wool for an instant fire.


Solar Fire Starter  uses the sun to reflect off a disc and focuses the sun rays to a single focal point above the disc to create fire. This method will not work unless the sun is out without obstruction of clouds or foliage.

Another type of Solar Fire Starter is using a Magnifying Glass to focus the sun rays onto your tinder, again  these methods only work on a sunny day.  This is one of the reasons why I always carry with me my Victorinox Swiss Army : Swiss Champion  pocket knife/tool with me as an EDC item.

UCO Stormproof & Weatherproof Matches  unlike regular matches, these matches are designed to be able to be submerged in water and still be able to light after in windy conditions.  These matches  are a game changer.

About the author:  Michael aka Mac, which is his shortened trail name for MacGyver, he a Survivalist and outdoor enthusiast with over 40 years of experience in the great outdoors. His background is in engineering & physics and he brings this knowledge into his gear inventions and outdoor experiences.  Now Michael aka Mac, when he is not in the wilderness, spends his free time as a Freelance gear reviewer of outdoor gear & gadgets, and outdoor Blogger,  and teacher of outdoor non combat survival skills.

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