The ability to quickly and reliably make a fire is crucial for backpacking. Whether it’s for food, fun, or survival, fire is essential to outdoor life. When backpacking, you want a firestarter that is compact, lightweight, and that doesn’t require a lot of accessories or have small parts to lose. Here are some of the best firestarters for backpacking of 2019.
Firestarter for Backpacking Reviews
1. Lightning Strike Mini Fire Starter Holland
The Lightning Strike firestarter is famous among outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. The Lightning Strike Mini Fire Starter Holland has the same famous design as the original Lightning Strike, but in a more lightweight, compact size.
The innovative design of the Lightning Strike Mini Fire Starter has a slot on the side, where you draw the striker along the internal ferrocerium rod. The slot directs your strike and prevents over-striking, so you don’t accidentally disrupt your tinder.
The tube directs your sparks exactly where you need them, starting your tinder on the first try. The striker is connected to the body with a heavy duty shock cord, and inserts into the barrel for storage when not in use. The cap can be twisted off to reveal a waterproof compartment that stores tinder.
The Lightning Strike Mini Fire Starter Holland comes with enough tinder to start about 12 fires. This firestarter is made in the USA, and is 5.5 inches long by 1 inch in diameter, weighing slightly over 3 ounces including tinder. While the Lightning Strike Mini Fire Starter is pricey, it is durable enough to last a lifetime, with a refillable tinder compartment and a replaceable Ferro rod. It’s an investment that will pay off over a lifetime.
- Works on the first try, nearly every single time
- Designed to direct sparks exactly where you want them
- Prevents overstriking
- Compact, lightweight, all-in-one unit with no parts to lose
- Can be used with one hand
- Rugged enough to last a lifetime
2. Campfirepiston Hickory Fire Piston
Fire pistons are technology that dates back hundreds of years, and are a great way to explore your primitive side. The Campfirepiston Hickory Fire Piston has a modernized design for more comfort in the hand, but is also made of less expensive wood, for an attractive update of an ancient firestarting method.
With the Campfirepiston Hickory Fire Piston, a piece of char cloth is ignited when the piston is slammed into the cylinder at high speed, raising the air temperature inside the cylinder high enough to create fire. The piston needs to be slammed down at very high speed, which can be uncomfortable on the hands, and requires a flat surface to work properly. It also requires frequent lubrication of the O-rings to form an air-tight but flexible seal.
The Campfirepiston Hickory Fire Piston measures 4.5 inches and is less than 1 inch in diameter, weighing 2 ounces, so it’s perfect to store in a pack with other outdoor gear. It comes with a bag of char cloth, O-rings, and instructions on how to use the piston and how to make your own char cloth.
Historic and time-honored method of making fire
Comes with char cloth and instructions to make your own
Attractive natural wood design
Small and lightweight
- Can be difficult to use and requires practice
- Requires separate parts, including O-rings, char cloth, and lubricant, which may not be available or take up extra space in your pack
- Requires a flat surface, which may not always be available in an outdoor situation
3. Fire-Fast Trekker
The Fire-Fast Trekker is a timeless firestarting method, refined with the latest materials and high-tech craftsmanship from Austria. The high-quality hardwood handle, pure ferrocerium rod, and military-grade magnesium are built to last, and start a fire in any conditions.
The Fire-Fast Trekker has a hardened steel striker attached to the hardwood handle by a 550-lb. tensile strength paracord. The hardwood handle is not just attractive and comfortable in the hand, but can also be scraped to provide tinder when needed. The Euro Fire Steel Ferro Rod is matched with military-grade magnesium, and will kick-start a fire in even the worst weather conditions.
The Fire-Fast Trekker is easy to use, works when wet, and can start thousands of fires. It’s 6.5 inches long and weighs just over 4 ounces.
- All in one piece, with no parts or accessories to lose
- Sharpened steel striker can be used to scrape wood from the handle or magnesium from the rod
- Extremely reliable
- Works in all weather
- Easy to use
- Can start thousands of fires
- Parts are not replaceable
4. 2-in-1 All-Weather Magnesium Firestarter Kit
This tiny firestarter kit is small enough to fit in a pocket or carry on a keychain, perfect as a backup or for emergency use. It even comes with a small compass as part of your emergency survival kit.
To use the SE FS374 2-in-1 All-Weather Magnesium Firestarter Kit, detach the striker from the included ball chain. Using the striker, scrape off the protective coating off the magnesium block and then scrape a few shavings of magnesium onto your tinder. Then use the striker on the flint side of the magnesium block to create sparks and ignite your shavings. It is waterproof and weatherproof.
The SE FS374 2-in-1 All-Weather Magnesium Firestarter Kit is just 3 inches long and 1 inch wide, and slim enough to stash anywhere. The detachable ball chain keeps the kit together, so there are no pieces to lose. And it comes with a small compass.
- Very small and lightweight to go anywhere
- Waterproof and weatherproof
- Striker is attached to the flint with a removable chain
- Comes with a free compass
- Extremely affordable
- Flint may separate easily, so this may not be a very durable firestarter kit
5. Midwest Hearth Fire Starter Squares
The Midwest Hearth Fire Starter Squares will light within 1/10th of a second, even when wet, and burn for 10 minutes, long enough to start a more robust fire. They are made of natural and non-toxic materials that won’t flavor food, and are an excellent way to kickstart an outdoor fire.
The Midwest Hearth Fire Starter Squares are made of recycled newspaper and compressed wood chips, bound into a convenient square shape with paraffin wax. They ignite very quickly and burn reliably, long enough to start a bigger fire.
Each square is 1.75 inches, but can be broken into smaller pieces if necessary, and will work when wet. They don’t have any petroleum products that can flavor foods or release toxins. They are a simple, reliable source of tinder to start a fire nearly anywhere.
- Compact and lightweight, easy to store and carry
- Catch fire in less than a second
- Burn for up to 10 minutes
- Made of natural materials that won’t flavor foods
- Excellent fuel, but require something else to create a fire
Without a doubt, the best firestarter for backpacking is the Lightning Strike Mini Fire Starter Holland. Hikers, campers, and all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts just love this firestarter for its speed, reliability, the ability to direct sparks exactly where you need them, and the fact that the parts are replaceable. Replaceable parts means that, even though the Lightning Strike Mini is expensive, it is durable enough to last a lifetime, and it’s an investment that pays off.
However, for a more affordable alternative, consider the Fire-Fast Trekker. It’s another simple, elegant design and a reliable fire starter. The parts aren’t replaceable, but it’s an affordable cost in an excellent fire starter.