Magnesium Fire Starter: Fire Striker, Tinderbox, Sparkie

You should seriously consider adding a magnesium fire starter to your go bag as a back up to your matches and lighters. While these will be good initially to help you survive the first few days, at some point they will run out or get ruined by the elements, so you’ll need a way of making fire and heat that is completely re-usable.

How It Works

Magnesium is one of the more flammable elements, especially among the metals, and most high school graduates will have seen how quickly it burns during a science lesson. This quick ignition is what makes it a popular fire starter as you only need to strike it a couple of times to get some sparks flying.

The sparks from a fire starter made from magnesium will come out at around 5,400 degrees Fahrenheit which is more than hot enough to get a fire started in a pile of dry kindling or fire starter mix. You’ll need to think about keeping your fuel source reasonably dry as even with the high heat of the magnesium spark, you won’t be able to set fire to green or wet wood.

The most common types of magnesium fire starter come on a chain with one solid block of magnesium and some sort of striker attached. The chain keeps them both together so that you will not have to scramble around to find something with which to make a spark.

The striker will be some sort of stone such as flint or iron pyrite, which you drag across the magnesium block to create a series of sparks. The sparks will then fall onto your dry tinder or fire starter and your fire is ready to go.

Why Choose a Magnesium Fire Starter

When you start to do some research, you will find that a lot of fire starters that rely on natural materials to create a spark work better. The main reasons to choose a magnesium fire starter include:

  • Lightweight – Because magnesium starters do not run out, you only need a small block to get your fires going. You can start an indefinite number of fires from a one-inch block of magnesium and a simple flint scraper.
  • Works when wet – Unlike some other natural fire starters, a magnesium fire starter will work in even the heaviest of rainstorms so all you have to worry about is keeping the fire going once you’ve made the sparks.
  • Cheap – The abundance of magnesium in America means that it is very easy to obtain. This means that any fire starter that uses magnesium will come cheaply with most coming in well under $10.

Replacement Strikers

One of the minor concerns some preppers have over using magnesium is the need for a razor sharp striker. The fire starter from comes with a serrated flint starter, which will produce dozens of fires before you will need to replace it. You could learn how to use a knife sharpening stone to keep the edge sharp or you could use one of the following:

  • A knife – Metal on metal will make some sort of spark, but again you’ll need to make sure that you keep the edges sharp
  • Iron pyrite – This naturally occurring rock comes out of the ground with all sorts of jagged edges. You will get thousands of uses before the rock becomes too blunt to use.
  • Brick – You can use the edges of bricks on your house to make a spark but you may need to work on your technique to make the spark happen.

Ideally, you should make sure that you have a magnesium fire starter in each of your go bags and in each family member’s backpack. Being able to provide fire and heat will go a long way in increasing your chances of survival as well as providing a better quality of life during survival.

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