Swedish Firesteel – Are They A Good Fire Starter?

There is something about lighting a fire with a Swedish Firesteel that has caught my attention. Since the first time I saw Bear Grylls use one on Man vs. Wild, I have been compelled to see what it is all about. I set out to learn the art about 3 years ago when I got my first blast match but I found out fairly quickly that it is not as easy as it looks.

The Features

The Swedish firesteel metal match works by creating a 3,000 – degree C spark in the direction that you point and strike it. They generally last for about 12k strikes and is approved by the international survival instructors association. The great thing about this piece of gear is that you can get it soaking wet and still produce sparks. It has no moving parts like a lighter, to break or fail.

I take a lot of Kayaking camping trips and have unfortunately dunked my Kayak on an occasion or two. If I was alone and had soaking wet matches it could potentially be a hypodermic situation when the sun goes down. A Swedish firesteel is one way to make sure you always have fire.

Like I alluded to above there is a shift in Nyheter thinking that has to take place when building a fire with a firesteel. Sure if you have paper or a flammable liquid with you it is no problem, however one thing that a blast match has done for me, is give me a lesson on building a fire.

Getting A Fire Started

Fibrous tinder is the name of the game. A fire will practically light itself when you are armed with a firesteel and the right tinder. Some of the best tinder that I have found are as follows:

1. Natural fiber twine – I always carry natural fiber twine for lashing and tying down gear.If you take it, and fray the heck out of it, until you have something about the size of a ping pong ball, you are in business.

2. Paper Birch or Birch Bark – It contains a combustible oil and will burn fiercely even when wet. Peel the loose bark – do not cut into the tree.

3.Cattail Fluff – stroke a stick or the back of a knife down the side of a cattail puff to free up the seeds, it lights like crazy.

4. Tree sap – Resin is highly flammable, wet or dry. If you have trees in your area that are leaking sap, rub your kindling on it, and the spark will ignite a flame. Tree sap is usually noticeable from spruce and pine. There are a lot of other tinder types that you can use, but remember to start with small very fine tinder and work your way up as the fire lights and builds.