A Review of the Fire Fast Ferro Rod Fire Starter

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It is hard not to love a good firestarter. There is something about that primal act of getting a fire going with something besides the flick of a lighter.

A while back I did an article and video on firestarters. There are a lot out there but some stood out to me. The Fire-Fast Trekker was featured in that article because it was one of the most robust firestarters I could find and boy did it sure throw the sparks in the video that was part of the product description on Amazon.

Articles can lead to meeting some great people. A month ago I was contacted by Vera & Peter, the husband and wife team that make the Fire Fast firestarters. They just wanted to thank me for including them and send me a firestarter with no expectations. They were just being nice.

In this post, I am going to offer you a review of their firestarters. If you have been frustrated with firestarters in the past, I advise giving Fire Fast a chance. This firestarter also has the distinction of being named the #1 Firestarter in the July 2019 online edition of Outdoor Life Magazine.

First let’s go over exactly what this firestarter is made of so you can get a better picture of the quality and craftsmanship.

Hardened Steel Striker

Unlike many strikers, this one is specifically made for the ferro rod it is attached to. It is not just a cut down version of a hacksaw blade. It is strong, hardened, blue steel that is sharpened on the edges just slightly to make it easy to scrape. The strength factor is good enough that you don’t have to worry about warping and bending. The paracord that is used to attach it to the actual firestarter is 550 lb paracord.

Austrian Made Ferrocerium

Most firestarters are made with ferrocerium that is produced in China. There is a big difference between Austrian and Chinese ferrocerium. Here is a breakdown of the average composition of Austrian vs Chinese Ferrocerium Rods.

AUSTRIAN FLINTS:    

RARE EARTH METAL (CERIUM & LANTHANUM)  76%, 
IRON (Fe)  20%,
MAGNESIUM (Mg)  2%,
ANTI CORROSIVES  2%,

CHINESE FLINTS:    

NYLON  17%,
POLYPROPYLENE (PLASTIC)  2%,
COPPER (Cu)  4%,
ZINC (Zn)  3%,
IRON (Fe)  22%,
MAGNESIUM (Mg)  31%,
ALUMINUM (Al)  5%,
LANTHANUM (La)  9%, 
CERIUM (Ce)  7%, 

Magnesium Rod

Have you ever had a hard time scraping the magnesium from a firestarter? Well, there is a reason for that. The fact is that a lot of the magnesium used in firestarters is mixed with metals that make it harder and more cumbersome to scrape and it affects how well the shards will spark. The Fire-Fast firestarter line uses 95% magnesium for a less frustrating and more effective fire starting experience.

Handle Made of Padauk Wood

While the type of wood may seem odd, the reason for this is that it is a very resinous hardwood that doesn’t readily absorb water. This makes it very suitable for a firestarter. Not only do you have an additional source of good tinder, even under very wet conditions. This also means the handle can stand up to a lot of moisture pressure when out in the bush.

Different Models

Fire Fast started out with the Trekker but they have added two additional smaller Kamper firestarters to their line up. The smaller one is more comfortable for wearing around your neck or sticking in some bags and gear where you are trying to be more conservative of space.

The photo below is taken so that you can see the difference in size between the Trekker and the Kamper. The Firefly is not pictured but it is even smaller than the Kamper.

Here are the specifications for each model so you can decide which one is best for you. It is possible you might just want to have one of each.

Fire-Fast Trekker

  • 5/16” diameter x 3″ long European Ferrocerium Rod
  • 3/4”diameter x 3 inch long Military Grade 95% Magnesium Rod
  • Hardened and Sharpened Steel Striker and Scraper
  • Paduak Hardwood Handle
  • Lanyard of 550 lb Tensile Strength 7 Strand Paracord

Fire-Fast Kamper

  • 5/16” diameter x 2 1/2” long European Ferrocerium Rod
  • 1/2”diameter x 2 ½ inch long Military Grade 95% Magnesium Rod
  • Hardened and Sharpened Steel Striker and Scraper
  • Paduak Hardwood Handle
  • 40” Lanyard of 550 lb Tensile Strength 7 Strand Paracord. This model is designed for wearing around the neck if desired.

Fire-Fast Firefly

For those that want the lightest weight and smallest option for compact survival kits and bags, the very affordable Firefly is an option to consider.

  • 15/64” diameter x 2” long European Ferrocerium Rod
  • 23/64” diameter x 2-inch long Military Grade 95% Magnesium Rod
  • Hardened and Sharpened Steel Striker and Scraper
  • Paduak Hardwood Handle
  • 18” Lanyard of 550 lb Tensile Strength 7 Strand Paracord

Our Test

We have a lot of wood just lying around so it isn’t too hard to find a pile to test a firestarter. This pile has been lying there for months but we still had to add some tinder to it. In a real survival situation, you may struggle to find wood and tinder to get a fire going so anything that can help the process along is going to be a positive thing.

We have been in a very rainy period and got some snow that is mostly melted so the conditions for fire-starting were not ideal. Matt and I gathered up some dry broom sedge and small sticks to get a good few layers of tinder material. I feathered out a stick a little bit and threw it in there too.

It is good to find a leaf or similar to put your magnesium on so you can put some more tinder on top.

I have actually not used that many ferro rods over the years and they have never been my primary way to start a fire on a camping trip so my technique needs work. The fact that I managed to get this fire going in less than a minute of throwing sparks is a testament to the quality of this ferro rod.

The rod does live up to its claim of throwing more sparks then the Chinese rod. You can also use the scraper to get magnesium shards. This is the first firestarter that I have used where I didn’t have to use a knife and grip it super hard to get even a small amount of shavings.

I also must point out that the scraper is far longer and larger than what I am used to seeing on a ferro rod firestarter. As a person with larger hands, I appreciate that feature a lot. It is also not spiky where it will catch on things despite being sharpened slightly.

Conclusion: I strongly recommend this firestarter for those that want a good firesteel option. Purchasing a quality ferro rod results in better results and less frustration.

I know that I didn’t take ferro rods seriously for a while because I had a few bad experiences with cheap rods that sometimes broke in my hands or were so small they proved cumbersome to even hold correctly.

It makes such a difference to have a sturdy handle to grip, not something is pencil-thin.

When you buy Fire-Fast you are supporting a company that makes all their firestarters in the United States. Vera and Peter are very dedicated and proud to offer a quality product.

Matt got Sadie to look at the camera! I am lucky she didn’t get in my lap. She thinks that if you are on the ground she can just plop down like a lap dog despite weighing 120 lbs.

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Updated Feb 17, 2020

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2 Responses to “A Review of the Fire Fast Ferro Rod Fire Starter”

  1. Great video! But you need finer, fuzzier, tinder. Separated, fluffed-up jute twine works good. Easy to pack with your Ferro rod, weighs nothing, and CHEAP!

    Reply
  2. Have you tried holding the striker still and pulling the rod to you? It’s a different technique but I find it easier to direct the sparks.

    Reply

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