ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Fire Steels (Firesteels or Ferrocium Rods) For Survival and Camping Fire-Starting

Updated on March 17, 2011

Making fire is always a concern in the outdoors, whether in a camping trip or in a survival situation. Matches are a great option, as are small lighters such as the mini-bic. However, matches are useless if wet. They can be waterproofed, but this is a lot of trouble and most people won’t bother with it. Lighters are excellent when they work, but they can break or run out of fuel. In either case, they obviously won’t be doing anything. Ferrocium rods or fire steels (also firesteels) - both names for the same object - are the answer to emergency fire-starting needs. Ferro rods are reliable survival gear that can be used when wet or under pretty much any circumstances and can start hundreds or thousands of fires.

Attribution: "Now Thats a Fire" from BRAYDAWG
Attribution: "Now Thats a Fire" from BRAYDAWG

There are two main kinds of ferrocium rods, although they work in an identical fashion. Regular firesteels, such as Light My Fire firesteels, are slightly easier to spark for most people, but give smaller sparks. Mischmetal rods, like those from and, are slightly harder to spark, but give huge sparks that light tinder a little better. Both are good choices, and the major difference is personal preference. The best way is to buy one of each and determine which type is best for you. I have both types and like both. Magnesium fire starters are very similar to the other firesteels. The attached ferro rod is not as good, but it comes with a supply of magnesium to use for tinder.


 Ferro rods are the modern version of the old pioneer’s fire-starting method of flint and steel.  When using flint and steel, the steel flint is usually struck against the steel, causing sparks to fly into prepared tinder.  When using a ferrocium rod, a sharp metal object is scraped along the rod, causing sparks to fly off.  These sparks are directed into a tinder nest.  Good choices for tinder include petroleum jelly-soaked cotton balls, very fine steel wool, birch bark, and fatwood (resin-soaked wood which can either be collected outdoors or bought at stores).


Firesteels can be easily put in a pocket or on a keychain and carried everywhere.  Prudence would dictate that matches and lighters should still be carried when camping or in other outdoor activities, since it is always better not to put all of one’s eggs in one basket.  With a little practice, though, firesteels have all the advantages of both in a weatherproof, long-lasting format. 


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Tim_511 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Huntington, WV

      Nice to meet you, too! This definitely is not an everyday item, but people who are interested in outdoor survival and wilderness skills are usually familiar with them.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      8 years ago from England

      Hi Tim, I had never heard of this, well, you learn something new every day! lol great to meet you, cheers nell


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)