Ultimate Survival Technologies' Sparkie is a decent…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $8
Ultimate Survival Technologies' Sparkie is a decent flint-steel emergency backup for starting a fire. At 1 ounce and $8, it's an easy addition to your emergency kit.
- One-handed operation
- Usable after becoming wet
- 1 ounce
- Compact size
- Heavier than a Bic
- Requires knowledgable firebuilding skills (see below)
The Sparkie provides an inexpensive, lightweight backup for starting fires.
I use to always carry a small Bic lighter, along with a book of waterproof matches as backup. But "waterproof" is not "Denatured Alcohol-proof," as I recently discovered from a very minor spill. My matches were ruined. So for $8, I picked up the Sparkie and have been satisfied with it.
I have found this to be a pretty good product. The Sparkie does require knowledge for building a fire from tinder (or a product like "Wet Fire"). Flint & Steel produces a spark, and not a flame, like a lighter or matches will. Anyone relying on this for an emergency fire should practice with it first.
The Sparkie is optimal with a hard surface to push on. Mud or soft ground offers less chance of producing a spark. However, the above video demonstrates a way around that for stove lighting.
My kids' homeschool coop taught a survival class last fall. Among other things they learned how to build fires using various techniques. My 11yo daughter rated the Sparkie as harder than matches, but easier than traditional Flint 'n Steel.
Decent product. Reasonably priced. Light enough and small enough to justify carrying it as a backup.
I keep one of these in my cook kits instead of a lighter…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $7.50
I keep one of these in my cook kits instead of a lighter or matches and am never without fire.
- One handed use
- Long lasting
- Doesn't stay closed
- Small platform
I have two of these that I have been using for 2+ years now and found that they are the perfect pack-size for a stove kit. Sparkie puts out a good spark which can burn for a second or two. It has always worked for me when wet from rain or snow, but I haven't had to use it after being submersed it in water yet.
I have an original Light-My-Fire steel which is now obsolete compared to this because it's quite bulky and much more difficult to strike a good spark.
- Sparkie doesn't stay closed — ever. This doesn't really bother me because it stays in a confined kit. The steel still works.
- You really need a hard surface to push down on to get a good spark, soft ground and pine needles don't work at all, so I throw a stick or rock in with my tinder to give Sparkie some purchase. Unfortunately the end of the steel is rather small and slips off of things easily. When lighting a stove, it can be tricky to push it into the burner or pot support, but with some practice it beats having to remember to bring matches or a lighter.