Reviewed by The Muddy Madam
I never thought I had much in common with The Prodigy, but I have to say they have nailed me with this lyric:
'I'm a fire starter, twisted fire starter'
OK maybe not the twisted part, but definitely the fire starter bit.
I got to play with the Bear Grylls Fire Starter in the lovely countryside of Wroxall Abbey Estate. Gerber had arranged a day of challenges to show how to use many of their tools in a survival type setting. OK, Wroxall Abbey isn't exactly somewhere you NEED to use survival skills, but when you have to rapidly hit the ground as burly ex-marines are shouting 'GRENADE' in your earhole, you feel it would be a good idea to at least pick up some skills.
One of the challenges was to use the fire starter to make a small camp style fire which we had to keep it going throughout the rest of the task. At this point I will admit to a liking for fires; during my early years my family had an open coal fire, and also used to host amazing bonfire nights. I'm no pyromaniac, but I do love making fires and watching flames dance, so when it came time to make the fire I was first in line. My past forays into starting a fire mostly involved matches and fire lighters, so I had to figure out how to work this new bit of kit.
It fit perfectly in my hand, and feels tough and rugged. At 4.7" (11.8cm) and weighing 74g it could be a bit on the large size for the expert outdoor enthusiast (Gerber do have a smaller version - the Compact Fire Starter), but for me it had some great bits that don't come with the smaller one. It has an emergency whistle, and comes with a cord that keeps both sections together which, although long enough to tie it to your rucksack or your wrist, isn't long enough to hang it round your neck. It also has a nifty waterproof compartment at one end that holds your kindling, and comes pre-packed with a cotton wool ball in the cap, and you could easily fit another couple in there. The cotton wool is great kindling, and I have been told that if you dab a bit of petroleum jelly on the cotton balls it makes it even easier to light. It had started raining when our turn to start a fire came around, but we found a few dryish twigs and set at it.
I popped out the cotton wool, and got hold of the 2 sides of the firestarter. I placed the edge of the metal striker at about a 45 degree angle on the larger rod part and quickly, in a downward motion away from me, pushed the striker. Sparks flew on my first attempt and the cotton wool flamed! After that it was easy to get a fire going.
NOTE: The fire starter had been used quite a bit by this time in the day so it worked well, but when I got one myself, and tried it at home, I couldn't get it to spark, which I found out was because, when new, the rod has a black coating and a section of this needs to be scraped off before you'll see sparks. It took about 5-10 strokes before sparks appeared.
I was smitten, and when my hubby asked which of the tools that we had used would I want I answered emphatically 'The Fire Starter!'
I have one now, and probably the most common use it will get is to start barbecues (just because I can), but again it is another tool that will go in my outdoor activities kit, as you never know when it may come in really useful, especially as it also has rescue signals and instructions printed on it too.
- Ferrocerium rod & metal striker
- Cord to hold the pieces together
- Integrated emergency whistle
- Waterproof storage compartment
- Land to air rescue signals & instructions
- Comes with a copy of Bear Grylls 'Priorities of Survival' pocket guide