Ferro Rods: The Best in 2018 To Light Your Fire

Ferrocerium (ferro) rods are an absolute necessity for an outdoor expedition — especially in the colder temperatures. Ferro rods are a method for generating sparks to light equipment such as gas stoves or to light a campfire. Because it’s an absolute drag if you’ve ever been camping and had no source of warmth.

If you’re a camper or outdoor enthusiast, fire can be a trusty companion in the wilderness. While fire is extremely useful to make food and water safe for consumption, it can also keep you safe from hypothermia.

In addition, fires allow you to signal for help, should you ever need emergency aid. And of course there will be times when the weather doesn’t want to cooperate. The temperatures can be unpredictable, especially when you’re camped at higher elevations. These types of situations are when ferro rods come in handy.

Unfortunately, there will be times when conditions are wet and windy and building a fire proves to be quite a challenge. But, as long as you packed a ferro rod or spark rod as a backup to a lighter or matches, you’re golden.


Ferro Rod Advice for Newbies and Veterans

I’m not an avid camper, but I have had my share of campouts with my kids. Some good, some bad and some just complete disasters. But we always make sure to bring a. So what’s the difference between rods? Do they need to be expensive or bigger to be better?

I can tell you this … never forget a ferro rod when the temperatures are freezing cold! With these kind of weather conditions, you absolutely, positively must be prepared. Believe me, if it takes too long for a spark to ignite, then your rod isn’t the ideal product. You’ll need to purchase one that features a minimal strike time in addition to a good grip.

Have a look at the following tips on how to effectively start a fire if you’re a newbie, or just a veteran who needs to brush up on your ferro skills …

  • Make sure to buy a quality make and model. You can buy a cheap version at any sporting goods store, but you’ll need to do research if you want one that delivers the quickest results.
  • Invest in a good scraper. You will need this because as you make a spark, white-hot pieces of the ferro will fall off. But, you can use any sharp object to scrape the rod. A hard steel scraper is usually the best to get.
  • Gather tinder: dry branches, driftwood, bark, paper or grass.
  • Use serrated edge of striker (scraper) to scrape along the length of the rod to create shavings.
  • Shavings will accumulate, so proceed to scrape the pieces into a small cluster.
  • Hold the flint at an angle, while sliding your striker along the length of the flint to create sparks.
  • Continuing doing this until the sparks land on the shavings pile and ignite the flame.

Tips for preparing the most effective tinder:

  • To get the spark to start a fire, first get some fine tinder or a fire starter. If you don’t have a fire starter, a diy method you can use is cotton balls infused with petroleum jelly.
  • Make sure to use the proper technique. Angle the scraper at 45-degree angle and place the end of the rod right next to the tinder. Be wary of bulk rods — while some are great and cheap, you’ll need to test one first to guarantee it’s made of good quality.
  • For an inexpensive option, a mini-rod style is convenient for an emergency sparker. Just toss it in the back of a truck or somewhere else for easy access.

Here’s some of our top picks …


1. Ultimate Survival Technologies Sparkie + WetFire

Image of Ultimate Survival Technologies Sparkie + WetFire

The Sparkie by Ultimate Survival is a mini version of their popular Blast Match. The Sparkie is an immersion-style starter that contains a spring-loaded spark rod and an internal tungsten carbide scraper. Simply press the thumb button to engage the scraper and it will slide down the rod and onto your tinder.

This tool is ideal if you’re working with one hand due to an injury or otherwise. In addition, it’s also the perfect accompaniment for ultralight backpacking, hunting, camping, and emergency use. The only downside is the Sparkie has a slender rod and therefore will start fewer total fires than larger products. Nevertheless, it can be rotated to extend its lifespan.

Features

  • Ultra-lightweight fire starter
  • Designed for one-handed use
  • Sparks can be initiated in rain and other unfavorable weather conditions
  • Generates sparks three times hotter than a normal match
  • Will last over 100 strikes
  • Durable plastic stands for rugged use
  • Collapsible rod
  • Measures: 2.3 x 1.25 x 0.6 inches
  • Weight: 0.8 ounces
  • Color: Orange
  • Price: Around $10
  • Amazon’s choice!

2. Light My Fire Swedish FireKnife + Tinder-on-a-Rope

The Light My Fire Swedish FireKnife is a superbly crafted ferro rod. This unique ferro rod is a combination tool with a removable spark rod in the handle and a sharp 3.9-inch Scandinavian grind blade of hardened Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel.

Offering a sharp square edge on the blade’s spine offers plenty of area to scrape and the showers and outstanding amount of sparks. The only downside to this rod is its size — it could be a bit larger to handle easier. Nevertheless, it’s still a terrific and reliable product.

In addition, the Light My Fire Tinder-on-a-Rope is a 6-inch stick of waterproof tinder on a lanyard. The Fire Knife is very convenient to shave off small pieces of the wood and strike your sparks into the pile. It usually takes about five strikes with the FireKnife to get the tinder shavings to ignite. A solid choice in ferro rods.

Features

  • Camping kit includes Swedish FireKnife, spork, and Tinder-on-a-Rope
  • The Swedish fire starter lasts about 3,000 strikes, and is compatible with the knife to light campfires, gas stoves, bbq’s and more
  • The Swedish FireKnife features a 3.75-inch Sandvik stainless steel blade, high-friction rubber handle
  • Includes a sheath and belt clip
  • Tinder-on-a-Rope is eco-friendly and lights easily even when wet
  • Price: Around $40
  • Check latest price on Amazon

3. Gerber Bear Grylls Compact Fire Starter

The new Compact Fire Starter by Gerber belongs to their Bear Grylls line of survival equipment. Survival is all about being prepared for the unexpected and who else knows more about survival than Bear Grylls?

The ex-British Special Forces officer is an experienced mountaineer and well-respected survival trainer. You’re guaranteed to get your fire going with a ferro rod featuring the name Bear Grylls.

Simple, yet functional, this compact fire starter features a pendant-style ferrocerium rod that can be worn around the neck as a lanyard for the utmost in convenience.

Although the ferro rod is small, it does have a secure, textured rubber grip. This ideal survival companion is checkered with a faceted aluminum sleeve that stores the rod and also acts as the scraper handle.

The ferrocerium is easy to ignite with long-burning sparks. Its two-piece design is lightweight and perfect for the colder weather or while wearing gloves. The durable anodized aluminum makes sure the Compact Fire Starter is capable of enduring the roughest of situations and also features a water-resistant design.

As a bonus, The Bear Grylls Priorities of Survival Pocket Guide is included with this ferro rod.

Features

  • Convenient two-piece design
  • Paracord lanyard to easily attach to a keychain, backpack, or zipper
  • Lightweight design for effortless carrying
  • The Bear Grylls Priorities of Survival Pocket Guide included
  • Measures: 3.4 inches x 6 inches
  • Weight: 8 ounces
  • Constructed of anodized aluminum
  • Price: Around $25
  • Check latest price on Amazon

4. Exotac NanoStriker XL + Tindertin

The Exotac NanoStriker XL + Tindertin produces some of the largest individual-sized sparks. Housed in a checkered grip, anodized aluminum case, the quarter-inch ferrocerium­-and-magnesium rod anodized aluminum case also holds an I-beam-shaped tungsten carbide striking tool.

Designed as a pendant-style tool, this ferro rod is a great addition to an ordinary keychain for daily use — or you can tie a lanyard to it, as the striker is very small and may easily get lost.

The included tinder is available as either splinters or shavings, but you made need fibrous material to really catch some great sparks. Overall, the Exotac NanoStriker is a respectable choice in ferro rods.

Features

  • Ultra-portable for keychain, pocket and neck carry
  • Ferro rod is replaceable and works when wet
  • Up to 3,000 fire-starting strikes
  • Collapsible self-contained waterproof fire starter
  • Measures: ¼ inches
  • Price: Around $33
  • Check latest price on Amazon

5. Zippo Emergency Fire Starter

Image of Zippo Emergency Ferro rod

The Emergency Fire Starter by Zippo looks just like a traditional Zippo lighter, but not exactly. Simply flip open the classic lid to find a spark wheel and four sticks of cotton-and-wax tinder.

The easily removable flint wheel igniter produces a small drizzle of sparks that will light most tinder materials. The Zippo Emergency Fire Starter Kit features an orange plastic case for easy access — but unfortunately it’s not waterproof. Hence, in wet weather it can be rather slippery to hold.

As a result, the spark wheel may be difficult to grip and awkward to use for some. But typically, you can light the wax stick tinder in as little as three strikes.

Features

  • Lightweight, rugged plastic case
  • Water resistant (not waterproof) O-ring seal
  • Includes 4 water-resistant waxed tinder sticks
  • Trusty flint wheel ignition
  • Price: Around $10
  • Check latest price on Amazon

6. EricX Light Ferro Rod Flint Fire Starter

The EricX Light Ferro Road Flint Fire Starter is extra large and designed to light fires in any weather conditions, as it’s both waterproof and weatherproof. Fully equipped with a super thick rod, this flint fire starter will provide you with a shower of sparks to light fires instantly.

In addition, this super thick rod lasts for more than 12,000 strikes. The EricX Light is the perfect size for backpacking, hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, and much more.

Features

  • Comes in a pack of two with a lanyard hole
  • Perfect for the outdoor adventurer
  • Measures 6 inches in length ½-inch in diameter
  • Price: Around $16
  • Check latest price on Amazon

7. Core Survival Magnesium Fire Starter

This four-in-one magnesium fire starter made by Core Survival, is constructed of an aircraft grade magnesium and tungsten flint rod. In addition, it comes along with a flint striker, glass breaker, tinder compartment and tinder cotton ball.

The Core Survival Magnesium Fire Starter is a heavy duty ferro rod. It guarantees an intense fire, as it’s made from high quality alloy. Furthermore, this fire starter can be rather big, so if you’re looking for something to attach to your keychain or backpack, it’s not the one for you.

The Core Survival Magnesium Fire Starter is available in coal black, charcoal grey and a stunning shade of champagne.

Features

  • Survival multi tool with magnesium flint rod, flint striker, tinder storage compartment, including a cotton ball
  • Features a keychain hook to attach to your keys, backpack, or other survival gear
  • Made from aircraft aluminum and tungsten steel
  • Shaft features a durable strong, non-slip grip
  • Great addition for a backpacking emergency kit
  • Perfect accessory to add to your survival gear, rope climbing gear, hunting gear, and camping gear
  • Available in multiple colors such as classic black, grey, or champagne
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Price: Around $16
  • Check latest price on Amazon

Final Thoughts

Overall, the Exotac and Gerber spark rods were better equipped to discharge sparks up to three feet. Additionally, the Ultimate Survival Technologies and Light My Fire ferro rods created broad showers with scores of sparks — most likely from lots of little pieces of burning ferro. A spray like that increases your chances of hitting receptive spots in your tinder.

As we’ve stated many times in our past reviews, when choosing the best product for your needs, it comes down to personal preference. In regards to ferro rods, make sure to pick according to what you need it for and how you will use your ferro rod in your particular environment.

Another piece of advice is to always make sure you invest in a good striker, as it can make all the difference in your fire. Lastly, while the most expensive rods aren’t always the best quality, the least in price aren’t always the worst quality. So, do your research, read reviews, and try before you buy. Good luck!

Alex Joseph is an avid bow hunter and father of two boys. Originally from Tacoma, Washington Alex now resides in California.

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