Saturday, January 21, 2012

Review - Bear Grylls Survival Series Fire Starter

Firesteels are awesome. They work when wet and no matter the temperature. A good firesteel will work thousands of times, never breaks, and never runs out of fuel. They do take some practice to work consistanly, but are easy to learn.

There are lots of firesteels on the market. Most work well, some are almost worthless, and others are remarkable. All of them are made of ferrocerium. Keep this in mind when shopping for one. A $10 firesteel is made of the same stuff as a $30 firesteel, ferrocerium. When shopping for a firesteel, the number one thing to look for is the thickness of the rod. The thicker the rod, the more sparks it creates and the longer it lasts.

When I was shopping for a quality firesteel I chose the Bear Grylls Survival Series Fire Starter. It is a quality tool with some features that other firesteels do not have.

Before I get to far into the review let me say this: I'm not a big fan of Man VS Wild. I do enjoy survival shows, but of all of them, Man VS Wild is my least favorite. I was dubious purchasing something endorsed by Bear Grylls.  I have found that some of the products with his name on them are absolute crap. However, others, like this firesteel, are excellent.

Notice how beefier the Bear Grylls fire starter is compared to a cheap one.

The Bear Grylls Survival Series Fire Starter is not just a fire starter. It includes an emergency whistle, which is surprisingly loud, and a waterproof storage compartment for tender. The waterproof storage container is large enough for two tightly squashed cotton balls. This may not sound like much, but in an emergency this could mean the difference between a fire and no fire. It also has some simple signaling instructions printed on it. These instructions are nice, but after a few weeks in my pocket are already rubbing off.

The field test

The firesteel itself is heavy duty. It is over 1/4 inch wide and is about two inches long. This will make quite a few fires and produce lots of nice sparks. The handles on both the firesteel and the striker are well made. I do not believe they will break with hard use. If anything, the entire unit is heavy. I think an ounce or two of weight is worth the added functionality this firestarter brings.

To give the Bear Grylls Survival Series Fire Starter a honest test I took it with me on my last hunting trip. While I was waiting for a squirrel to show itself, I tried to make a small fire using this firestarter and a cotton ball. The ground was damp from a recent rain and a quick search for tinder came up with only damp stuff, so I did not have much hope. To my surprise I had a fire going in less than ten seconds. The cotton ball caught fire with the very first strike. I was impressed!

The results of the test
This is one of the few products I have reviewed that I have NOTHING bad to say about. It is priced reasonably, $12 - $20 depending on where you shop. It is rugged and has more features than most firesteels. Best of all, it works every time!

I will never go into the woods without this in my pocket.

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