Fire — If you end up in a survival situation, it is the ability to create this that will often provide the difference between life and death.
This is widely recognized though.
What isn’t as well recognized is the means in which we should create it.
While bow drills, Bic lighters, and the ever-present Zippo are most certainly fine options for igniting tinder, the well-respected fire striker still deserves its place in the survivor’s bug-out gear.
Not all fire strikers are created equal, however, and it can be a tad confusing narrowing the field down into what is the best of the best.
So in order to help you to avoid wasting your time and money, and to keep you alive while you’re out in the woods, we at Pew Pew Tactical have narrowed down the fire striker field.
We’ve collected eight fire strikers on the market and put them to the test to see if they are worth your hard earned cash.
Keep reading to see what we learned…
Table of Contents
In order to come up with as objective of a fire striker testing standard as possible, we looked at a number of variables to decide which strikers were best.
Ease of use, convenience, ability to light a fire, and price were all looked at in order to determine how these strikers would be ranked.
We tested all strikers with Vaseline-soaked cotton balls. We consider this one of the best forms of tinder available.
But it also eliminated variances in the moisture content, consistency, and form of tinder shavings from trees or other sources.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s take a look to see how they did!
Best Fire Strikers for Camping, Hiking, & Survival
1. Uberleben Zunden
If you look throughout the fire striker world Uberleben is everywhere, likely the most popular brand in the fire striker marketplace.
We tested the Zunden as a result of this prevalence, and it seems to be one of the most popular strikers that Uberleben makes.
It utilizes the exact same steel plate as the Forever 50 below. That said, the Zunden is a functional, little fire striker.
I had no problems whatsoever getting it to light our tinder. Not to mention, it’s got a couple of other things going for it as well.
For starters, it is incredibly convenient to carry. Its small size means it easily fits into a pocket or bag without unnecessary weight.
The wooden handle gives you enough of a grip to hang onto without feeling like you’re playing with a G.I. Joe toy.
And the striker length gives you enough room to throw a respectable amount of sparks at your tinder.
It didn’t feel anywhere near as fragile as some of the other strikers on the list such as the Schrade or the SwissSafe either.
This thing felt solid yet easily fits in a pocket without weighing you down.
All those factors combined left us feeling that the Uberleben has easily earned its spot as our number one choice for the best fire starter on the market.
2. Lightning Strike
Coming in at $90, the Lightning Strike was easily the most expensive fire striker on the list.
In my mind, fire strikers typically run around the $20 range, so to find something with this kind of price tag blew my mind.
But then we started the testing.
No other fire striker we tried even came close to directing a spark and lightinh a fire as easily as this one.
Did we start fires with other strikers in two to three strikes? Absolutely.
But with the Lightning Strike we started fires in one to two strikes every single time.
We attributed this to all the sparks directed down the tube towards the tinder.
Our testers appreciated the way in which the Lightning Strike could be packed up so that it was protected as well.
Due to its shell construction, you can easily throw it into a bug out bag and forget about it until you need it. It’ll still be in one piece.
If you’re rough on equipment, that may be something you want to consider.
To top it off, the Lightning Strike includes a number of tinder plugs in the base of the handle that will light as soon as a spark hits them.
Still, we found the price tag rather formidable.
While it’s an absolutely great fire striker, we didn’t think that it was so great that it justified a $90 price tag.
Being able to start a fire as quickly as it did was cool, but you can still get decent results from the other fire strikers on this list.
In our minds, this is comparable to shelling out an extra $200 for a scope with 1x more zoom than the cheaper scope.
Is it better? Yeah (though only marginally).
Worth the price? Depends on your preference.
3. Holtzmann’s Gorilla Fire Striker
The first thing we all noticed upon opening this box is that the Gorilla is pretty.
The stained wood handle with finger grooves just looks good. It also makes it so that this striker is a cinch to hang onto.
Like the Forever 50, this one is large. That means works as a basecamp or bug-out vehicle fire striker than it does a BOB pack one.
The weight and size work against it for that kind of operation.
That’s not to say this is an unworthy fire striker. It’s just to say that this one offers a design with different functions in mind.
Attempting to shoot a deer 300-yards away with an M&P Shield by no means determines that the M&P Shield is a worthless gun.
It’s just designed for a different purpose.
You can check out what it’s like making fire with this bad boy below.
If you’re looking for a great fire striker that’s larger and produces a volley of sparks, you may like the Holtzmann’s Gorilla.
Have you tried the Gorilla striker? If so, rate it below!
4. Bayite Striker with Hemp Cord
Bayite comes in as another well-established brand within the fire striker industry.
It sells several varieties of its classic Bayite striker with various accessories (all of which have great reviews).
We tested the Bayite striker with Hemp Cord.
This package didn’t come with a flint. So…you’ll have to use your knife or something else to strike.
But when you do strike it, the Bayite produces a good volume of sparks.
The hemp cord was interesting to work with. It’s basically an easy form of tinder to keep with you at all times.
The key to getting it to light is to fluff up the untied end, and then shower sparks on it.
We lit it consistently with less than six strikes.
You have to fluff the end though.
If you just try to light the rope body, you’re going to be wasting your time.
Once lit with the Bayite striker, you have a steady and hot flame. It’s controlled with the slidable cover that the rope is threaded through.
Slide it down to provide more wick – it’s as simple as that.
5. SwissSafe 5-in-1 Fire Striker
Search around the fire striker world long enough, and you’ll see repeated mentions of the Swiss Safe 5-in-1 Fire Striker.
It’s pretty nifty with some add-ons. Included within this striker are a compass and whistle.
Supposedly the striker itself has two more capabilities…but come on.
It’s a striker, and that’s what you’re going to end up using it for. Nothing else.
These come in a two-pack, so if you want a cheap and efficient means to ensure you have all the fire strikers you need, this is a solid option.
The smaller size means these are incredibly convenient to carry as well.
And the handle gives you plenty of grip to hang on to as you’re striking the ferro rod.
If you want to see what it was like lighting a fire with one of these, check out our video below.
While we had no problem whatsoever with getting a fire to light with these guys, they just didn’t feel like they were built to as high of a standard as some of the other strikers that we tried.
Honestly, they felt a bit cheap.
You can still start a fire with these no problem, and if you’re just looking for quantity this may be the route for you.
6. The Forever 50 Minuteman Fire Striker
I’ve long been partial to the Forever 50 Fire Striker.
It seems as if the majority of fire strikers on the market are built for somebody with hands roughly the size of a Barbie doll.
For me, this only leads to an increasing level of frustration and bloody knuckles.
So anytime I come across a fire striker that I can actually get a true, firm grip on, I’m automatically a fan.
The Forever 50 adopts a Ferro rod design placed inside a .50 caliber shell for the handle.
The extra length of the striker means that I can rain down an absolute shower of sparks on my tender when I use it.
I often get fires started with two strikes as a result.
The only drawback to the Forever 50 is – well – its size and weight.
It’s because of its large size that this is probably not a fire striker that you’re going to have on your person when you need it.
However, kept within a bug-out vehicle, or stashed at your base camp it would serve its function perfectly.
7. Schrade SCHSF1
By far the cheapest fire striker on this list, and with a formidable reputation, is a little fire striker manufactured by Schrade.
And when I say little, I mean teeny.
The SCHSF1 came in at just 4-inches long.
Downside to this? You don’t have as much striking surface to throw sparks.
That said, we still had no problem whatsoever starting a fire with the SCHSF1.
The fire-starting process did feel a bit more forced than with some of the other strikers as a result of the minuscule size, but the SCHSF1 will still build a fire for you.
Perhaps the main advantage of this striker is its price.
You could easily have four or five of these laying around in different vehicles, bags, and the like for the price of just one of the other strikers on this list.
The lifespan of these guys isn’t going to be anywhere near as long as some of the larger strikers though. The striker just doesn’t have as much meat to it.
As a result, you’ll wear it down to nothing much faster than you would with the other strikers.
So while this is still a good model, we wouldn’t make it our first choice if we could help it.
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
8. The UST BlastMatch
Despite its popularity online, amongst our testers this was easily the least favorite.
The UST BlastMatch is a fire piston rather than a fire striker proper.
This means the Ferro rod has a spring at the base of it and it’s plunged down into the handle to send sparks flying.
While we most certainly recognized this design does have its virtues — mainly its one-handed design — we still just weren’t huge fans.
If you need to start a fire with this, you have to have a hard surface to push the UST BlastMatch into.
If you try lighting your tinder on soft ground, sand, dry twigs, or anywhere else where you don’t have something sturdy to push into, you’re only going to leave both frustrated and cold.
Not to mention that this was the only fire striker that led to us being burnt throughout the testing. Ouch!
You want to see a Vaseline flame ball stick to somebody’s hand? Check out the video below:
That all said, this fire striker did start fires pretty quickly once you got all of the variables correct.
And it did pack up into a sturdy and protected unit.
But there are most certainly other strikers available that we think are better.
A quality fire striker is a must-have for your gear. But as we’ve already pointed out, not all fire strikers are created equal.
By stocking any of the above with your kit – and knowing how to use them – you’ll be well on your way to being better prepared for whatever may get thrown your way while you’re out and about in the woods.
Are there other fire strikers out there that you like? Have you tried any of these fire strikers? Let us know in the comments below! Need some other ideas for things to toss in your Bug Out Bag? Check out our list of essential Bug Out Bag Gear! (We also have BOB list for parents too!)
8 Best Fire Strikers for Survival [Hands-On Review] is written by Aden Tate for www.pewpewtactical.com