When I first opened the package to inspect the Survival Series Fire Starter I was struck by its odd design. Sure the package indicates that it is a fire starter but it didn’t look like any fire starter I have used nor does it look like the ones included in Bear Grylls survival kits that I reviewed last month. The gray plastic tube with orange survival markings and a lanyard with a whistle seem like an unlikely package for a fire starter. However, as I quickly found out during testing the design makes sense and is extremely functional.
When you separate the two halves of Survival Series Fires Starter you will notice a 1.75 inch ferrocerium rod and a 1.5 inch metal striker. Both halves are connected to each other by a decent length lanyard that has a survival whistle attached to the end. The longer end has a black water proof cap that when removed has a piece of cotton tinder. This is a useful innovation that keeps the tinder with the tool needed to start fire. While the waterproof compartment is not huge it should hold enough tinder to get a couple of fires started. The kit includes Land to Air rescue and SOS instructions painted onto the outside of the fire starter. One last item included with the fire starter is a copy of Bear Grylls’ Priorities of Survival Pocket Guide. It provides useful information for a variety of survival situations and needs. In a pinch it could also be used as additional tinder. The entire kit measures 4.8 inches overall and weighs just 2.6 ounces. It is so light that you won’t notice it in your pocket which is where I forced a buddy of mine to carry it on a day hike.
The Survival Series Fire Starter’s large handles provide good grip when striking. Compared to other fire starters I have used the Bear Grylls designed fire starter felt like it was made for people with larger hands. The handles provide a solid grip when using the metal striker on the ferrocerium rod. The amount of spark generated from the fire starter is quite impressive. As compared to some other brands of fire starters I have used in the past the ferrocerium rod seems to be a bit softer. This doesn’t limit the amount of spark thrown out but I am curious to know just how long I will be able to use it until it needs to be replaced.
Overall, the Survival Series Fire Starter would be a great addition to the Basic and Ultimate Survival kits I reviewed last month. Both of those kits have more traditional fire starters that work great. I find them a bit harder to use due to their small size. If you already have other survival kits or into building your own please consider adding this vital piece of gear to your collection. As compared to other fire starters I have used this fire starter is more robust and with the storage compartment for tinder makes it more useful. To maximize the burn time of the tinder I recommend working a bit of petroleum jelly into the cotton ball to make it last longer. Gerber’s retail price for the fire starter is $15 dollars and I think it is completely worth it but it can be found slightly cheaper from other Internet sellers.
For more information and a video clip from Bear Grylls: http://www.gerbergear.com/Survival/Gear/Survival-Series-Fire-Starter_31-000699
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