This Bear Grylls fire lighter / starter kit I have is great fun to use and serves its purpose well. I have a chiminea which I frequently light to get rid of general garden rubbish such as tree cuttings, leaves etc. and also to burn wood which I seem to accumulate for no apparent reason at all every time I do a simple task like put a shelf up!
Anyway – the point here is that I enjoy a back garden fire, it isn’t like I am going out on survival trips with Bear Grylls in the wilderness, more like I’m a pyromaniac on a small back yard type scale. So typically I shoot down to the garden center and buy some logs to burn, chop them up with an axe and use a box of matches and some newspaper as a kindling to get the fire started. I decided I wanted something a little different – more of a challenge and went out looking for a traditional flint and steel kind of fire lighter and came across this, which is listed actually as a Bear Grylls Ferrocerium Rod and Metal Striker. Now i’d say anything with “ferro” in it means iron, but what am I to know? So long as it gives off loads of sparks when I strike the two together its fine.
So where’s the flint and steel (or Ferrocerium in this case)? Well, the kit is in two parts, the barrel opens up and reveals the two different kinds of substance to be struck together to produce the sparks in order to light the fire. Also on there you can see there is a whistle – so that if you need to be rescued when out in the mountain wilds you can give it a hoot and see who comes (there is also a small image on it showing which sequences to whistle in case of emergency – like you can’t get your fire going and Bear is nowhere to be found!) Lets open it up and take a look inside.
I think i’d better look up flint and ferrocerium – as I know that flint works from my days in the scouts. Anyway – not to worry, there we can see the two strikeable rods exposed. In order to attain a good hot spark from which you could potentially create a burning ember to start a campfire, you strike the two rods together. The rope in between is long enough to allow a good long action all the way down the shaft. So take the left one and place its edge (not the flat of it) against the one on the right, press really really hard (the two together and maintain the pressure) and then move fairly slowly downwards maintaining good solid contact to make it strike. The sparks fly off the end onto your fires kindling. At this point I should say that I have tried tissue, paper, silver birch bark and cotton wool as my starter material, but only had success with cotton wool – which begs the question…… “where are you going to find cotton wool when you are hiking and lost?”. Well, help is at hand – it may not be in the form of Bear Grylls running over to the rescue, but see below and you will understand where I am coming from.
The top unscrews and there is a small area in the barrel which allows you to pack it with your kindling of choice (cotton wool in my case). Thus before embarking on an expedition you could place some in there and with any luck it will stay dry. In actual fact you only need a tiny little piece of cotton to get a fire going so long as you have collected some dry grass or very fine twigs first you should be fine.
So not as easy as matches, but I am sure people who go out on survival trips or camping would be grateful for this if it was the only thing available to light a fire with – it works – and its fun.