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20 Best Fire Starter Tools for Survival

Fires are essential for outdoor survival and can often be a game-changer during an emergency situation. You can up your game with one of these great fire starter tools. Why is a fire essential? Not only do they provide heat to keep hikers and campers warm, but that heat can also be used for cooking food and purifying water. Additionally, the light and smoke can discourage insects and predators from invading the camping area, as well as act as a signal to alert searchers for a missing hiker or help exploring campers find camp again.

Fire starter tools; essential items for survival
Fire starter tools

But building a fire can be challenging, especially in an emergency survival situation when you may already be tired and stressed. Fortunately, there is no shortage of fire-building products and survival kits out there to help outdoor survivalists have an easier time of it, no matter the weather conditions. 

Things You Need To Start a Fire

Heat, fuel, and oxygen are the bare minimum requirements to start a fire. Usually, oxygen is present in a fair amount of abundance. Fuel can come in the form of dry leaves, twigs, dry grass, pine needles, etc. And heat can be provided through friction. Either by striking a match, rubbing sticks together, or a variety of other methods.

While all of these things can be found in the wild, bringing fuel and methods of creating heat along with you can make the process much more speedy and less frustrating.

Bow Drill Fire-Starter Kit

This is a great way to learn how to provide friction yourself to start a fire. It is also a fun tool to teach children. The kit comes with instructions and links to videos specifically for how to use this tool most effectively.

Procamptek Ultimate Fire Tender

A big part of getting a good fire going is the smaller-sized kindling that you need to get lighted in the first place. Having highly flammable, dry material to start with will speed up the process for you. This fire tender is a great example of kindling to start a good fire with.

Simply use a flint and steel set, a lighter, or even a match to light the first flame. The small wood shavings catch fire very easily and will help the flames spread to the larger pieces of kindling.

Lixada Fire-Starter Kit

This piston spark kit is very nifty and portable. To use, you simply add a pinch of the char cloth to the end of the brass tube, dab a bit of the waxy substance to the two O rings, then fit that end of the brass tube into the bigger silver tube. Cram the two together and quickly pull the brass tube all the way out. The friction from the two pipes and the chemicals in the waxy substance and the char cloth come together to make a small flame.

Quickly remove the little flaming char cloth from the tube and place it onto the brown tender material. The fire will catch onto the tender and begin to grow. Add this growing flame to the rest of your kindling and your fire will be roaring in no time.

Tacamo 15-Piece Fire-Starter Kit

The Tacamo emergency fire starter kit comes with a large selection of fire starter tools. This kit includes one ferrocerium striker rod, two magnifying glasses, collapsible bellows, some charcloth, a Ferro-rod striker, some Choctaw rope, fatwood fire starter chips, and fatwood sticks.

With this assortment of kindling items and fire-starting tools, users are well equipped for a variety of weather conditions. The magnifying glasses can also be used to assist with splinter removal, which can be a necessary evil of fire-building and wood-chip handling.

Starting a Fire in a Rainstorm

Young man walking in nature during heavy rain.
Heavy rain puts a damper on survival fires unless you have good fire starter tools

Water is a problem for starting a fire because it takes away two of the three essential parts: heat and oxygen. When water touches the fuel, it creates a barrier between the fuel and the oxygen it needs to keep the flames going. Water is also a cooling element, which takes away the heat, leaving nothing but drenched fuel, which is not ideal for fire.

Mossy Oak Camping Tool Set

Because it’s so difficult to start a fire with wet wood, it’s a good idea to have a hatchet, knife, and folding saw handy so that you can cut into logs and remove wood chips from the middle, where it’s driest. The toolset linked in the heading above contains all three of these essential items as well as a few nifty additions.

Waxed Canvas Firewood Carrier

You’ll also want to be sure to keep this dry wood you’ve worked so hard to procure as dry as possible until you’re able to start using it. If you go a long way from camp to find wood, bring something plastic or at least a piece of fabric to wrap the wood in while you travel back to camp.

There are some great options to prevent the necessity of all that work, though. If you plan ahead and bring all-purpose waterproof fire starter tools with you, you won’t need to do as much extra work as described above.

Waterproof Fire-Starter Rod

This all-in-one fire striker rod, flint, and steel tool comes with a 36″ tinder wick rope. When you strike the flint and steel, the motion sends a shower of sparks right onto the wick, which catches fire fast no matter the weather conditions. The wick is long enough to provide over three hours of continuous burn time itself or thousands of single-strike uses.

Because this tool automatically covers a significant length of the wick, at least that part of the wick will stay dry even in the rain. But since the rest is left out in the open, you may need to keep it in a dry place to ensure you’ll be able to use it all if you end up needing it frequently.

Magnesium Fire Starter

This survival fire starter kit comes with two sets of waterproof fire steel, 3″ flint striker, and red-waxed flax rope. The red-waxed flax within the paracord creates a waterproof fire tinder that can produce instant flames even in heavy rain. A two-year warranty and lifetime support are also provided with this product.

Black Beard Fire-Starter Rope

The Black Beard fire-starter rope contains 33 strands of highly-flammable material. You’ll need your own flint and steel or matches, but once you light a piece of this rope on fire, it will burn hot even in rainy weather conditions. It can burn for over four hours on its own, or be used to start more than fifty fires if only used a little at a time.

Black Beard Fire-Starter Rope Kit

The survival fire starter kit comes with not one, not two, but three Black Beard fire-starter ropes, as well as a flint and steel striking set. It also all comes together in a handy little pocket organizer. Thanks to the windproof and waterproof qualities, and the set of three ropes included, you can get a total of 13.5 hours of continuous burn time or light over 150 fires and is a great addition to your emergency gear.

Texas Bushcraft Fire Starter

Similar to the waterproof survival fire starter mentioned above, this is a Ferro rod with a flint striker and an ignitable cord holding those two pieces together. However, this one comes with a few swanky additions. The flint starter piece has a built-in bottle opener and a mini ruler on the side. It also comes with ten feet of ignitable cord, versus the mere three feet of the first product. And the cord is artfully woven to keep it usefully short and compact so that the extra length won’t get in the way.

The cord is also water-resistant, making it nearly impervious to the elements. This multi-faceted tool can produce 1500+ hot spark strikes.

Rainier Rugged Glow-in-the-Dark Fire-Starter Kit

This fire-starter kit can be especially helpful if you’re building a fire in the dark. If it’s rainy out, there’s a good chance the light isn’t ideal either, no matter the time of day. In addition to including two compasses and two signal mirrors, these fire-starter kits also come with magnesium rods, flint strikers, and multiple feet of paracord that is water-resistant and highly ignitable can produce over 16k strikes altogether.

GoFire All-Purpose Survival Fire Starters

GoFire’s secret formula for fire starters is not only weather-proof but also eco-friendly and non-toxic. Each fire-starter is capable of maintaining a flame over one foot tall for over ten minutes. It is so flammable that it is able to ignite even wet wood chips.

This set comes with three packets that include twenty fire starters each, for a total of sixty fire starters.

With its intense weatherproof capabilities, this is an excellent option to add to your survival gear for starting a fire in wet and rainy conditions.

Starting a Fire in Wind

A fire to keep warm, sheltered from the wind by the overhanging rock
A fire to keep warm, sheltered from the wind by the overhanging rock

Wind can both increase and put out the flames of a fire. A gentle wind will add oxygen to a fire, which can make it grow and spread more rapidly. This is why people blow softly on fire and why using bellows can help the flames grow. This is also one of the biggest problems with wildfires. Wind spreads it so easily. Wind can also wick away the moisture in the wood chips or other kindling, drying the material and further promoting flammability that way.

However, strong wind creates a new set of problems for starting a campfire. If it blows too hard, it will take away all of the heat that’s keeping the flame going. Having the fire you are trying so hard to build constantly get blown out is very frustrating.

One way to prevent this frustration is to take advantage of a natural windbreak if at all possible. Set up camp on the less windy side of a hill or build your fire on the other side of a large rock. 

If a natural windbreak isn’t possible, consider building one yourself. Stacking up some large boulders to a height of a couple of feet will help protect your fire from the wind. Another option is to dig a hole a foot or so deep and start your fire down there. The dirt around it will help it stay protected from the wind, though moisture in the dirt could present a challenge to keeping the fire going strong.

Here are some wind-proof fire starter tools and kits and some other useful products to keep in your survival pack for wind-proofing your fire-building zone.

Pull-Start Weatherproof Fire Starter

This instant fire starter will make building a fire in a windproof trench much easier. Simply pull the string and place it in the wind-proof area. After a few seconds, the product will start to smoke. This indicates that it is working correctly. A flame will appear after about thirty seconds. At this point, you can start adding some additional kindling. If no dry kindling is available, this product is usually able to work with damp kindling.

DeBizz Survival Fire Starter

This fire-starter kit comes with a unique magnesium rod. Rather than being round, it is squared. The sharp corners of the rod make it easier to strike more times if needed to get the fire going in windy conditions or if you’re kneeling at an awkward angle to strike kindling down in the bottom of a windproof ditch.

It also comes with several feet of paracord and a flint striker. The striker includes a mini ruler and bottle opener on either side.

Tumbleweed Fire Starters

One box of these fire starters includes fifty individual tumbleweed starters. These highly flammable little coils of wood shavings are ideal for starting fires in the wind. If you’re having difficulty leaning into a windproof ditch to start a fire, you can start it right in front of you on one of these coils and then drop it into the hole. Easily add another one or two coils to the pit to get the fire going before adding larger pieces of kindling.

Redcamp Folding Outdoor Windscreen

This lightweight, aluminum windscreen is ideal for camping fires or small camping stoves. Its reflective surface magnifies heat while protecting the delicate flames from the wind. Each of the ten panels can be removed or replaced as needed to alter the size of the windscreen.

Dimensions when unfolded: 32.7″ x 9.5″. Dimensions when folded: 9.5″ x 3.3″. It also comes with a one-year 100% money-back guarantee.

Ohuhu Folding Outdoor Windscreen

With unfolded dimensions of 44″ x 10.9″ and folded dimensions of 10.9″ x 4.4″, the Ohuhu folding outdoor windscreen is larger than the Redcamo option. Since they are both made out of aluminum, they are both very lightweight. The main difference here is in the size. If you desire a slightly larger windscreen, then the Ohuhu windscreen is the one for you.

The ten plates can also be removed as needed to alter the length of the windscreen, but no money-back guarantee is listed for this product.

Starting a Fire in Snow

Fire starter tools will help you start a fire in winter weather conditions
Fire starter tools will help you start a fire in winter weather conditions

If it’s snowing outside, there’s a good chance it’s windy, too. And it will definitely be wet. So take another look at the above sections for keeping a fire from blowing out in the wind as well as for finding dry tinder.

Pyro Putty

Pyro Putty is a non-toxic fire accelerant in the form of a paste that can be smeared onto the starter tinder and/or fire logs as well. It works even on cold, wet wood chips. Keep some of this in your survival pack to help you get a fire going in the rain or snow. 

Weyland Waterproof Fire Starter Kit

This kit is ideal for starting a fire in cold, wet weather because it comes with so many different types of tinder materials. If the first thing you try doesn’t work well, you have multiple other options in your survival pack to choose from. And if your fire does decide to keep going out, you’ll have plenty of materials to keep getting it going, though hopefully, you won’t need to build it more than once.

Many Useful Fire Starter Tools

With so many useful survival fire starter items in your survival pack, you’ll be well-armed to get a fire going in any weather condition. If you have a favorite fire starter tool or kit, please let us know why you like it. We wish you the best of luck with your survival adventures!