person starting fire on wood

In any tactical or survival situation, having the ability to start a fire is mission critical. There are many ways to make fire but having fire starters is the best way to ensure that you are prepared to create fire in any situation. A fire can provide warmth, light, a safe space, and a way to cook food—all of which are paramount to you returning home safely. With different fire-starting tools available, you can also carry multiple fire starters. That way, if one method fails or is impractical, you have others to fall back on.

Let’s look at some of the most popular, easy firestarting tools you should have on your next mission:

Single-Use Matches

Creating fire is difficult, even with matches. The most simple and accessible of all fire starters, matches are typically composed of wood and topped with a substance that is easy to strike and light, generally on a rough surface. (Strike-anywhere variants exist and can be used on a variety of different surfaces, too!)

We recommend carrying a bundle of weatherproof matches, or store them in a weatherproof container, so they are protected from the elements. Unfortunately, traditional matches are not very sustainable, as each match is unusable after a successful, or even sometimes a series of unsuccessful, strikes.

TIP: Try a permanent match! These are made from metal and have a concealed, encased wick.

Refillable Lighters

When you’re trying to start a fire, you can’t get a more simple or straightforward tool than a lighter. These are one-handed tools, typically fueled with either lighter fluid or butane that take the work out of creating a fire.

We recommend investing in a durable, quality lighter with a large fuel tank to last as long as possible. The biggest drawback to using lighters is also their biggest strength: the fuel. When you have plenty of fuel, these are fantastic, but without easy access to refills, once the fuel is gone, so is the fire. Small, plastic lighters that you can find in any store might work in a pinch but will fail in most harsh and wet conditions and won’t always carry enough fuel to be useful.
TIP: Try the TD Day of the Dead Glow-in-the-Dark Zippo! This collectible is also refillable for a lifetime of use, plus it GLOWS, so you’ll always have a little light to get you started.

Metallic Strikers

There is a wide array of two-piece tools that specialize in fire-starting. With two-hand fire starters, just aim at the tinder and strike. Each of these options require two hands to use, which can be difficult to work if your kindling needs to be steadied.
• Magnesium blocks are two small, rectangular objects – a thick hunk of magnesium and a thin, often jagged striker. Usually connected by a chain, they’re somewhat unwieldy but easy to carry on a clip.
• Ferro rods are made of similar materials and require similar striking motions but are cylindrical. This can make striking a much easier endeavor than with other tools. This tool emits showers of sparks that can easily catch flammable materials on fire.
• Flint and steel are a traditional choice of fire starters. When the steel strikes the flint, it breaks off tiny steel sparks to start the ignition process. This option is one of the most durable choices of fire starter you can find. However, the process with a flint and steel may be lengthier than other tools.

Recently, there have also been some alternative metallic strikers that use a small amount of kindling and pressure to start a fire. Rather than throwing sparks at kindling like the strikers mentioned above, these use sudden immense pressure changes to light a small bit of kindling. Then you simply deposit the ember onto your starting kindling and with just a little air, you’ll have a fire going in no time.

The greatest advantage of having fire-starting tools is knowing that they will work in almost any weather conditions and are reusable or refillable. As we always say, preparation is key for any trip into the wilderness or uncharted territory. So choose an easy firestarting method, bring your back up, and stay tactical!