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MSR Strike Igniter

rated 4.0 of 5 stars
photo: MSR Strike Igniter fire starter

The MSR Strike Igniter is a reliable fire starter that is not affected by wet conditions or high altitudes. Although it requires two hands to operate and weighs an ounce more than a Bic lighter, there are enough strikes in this unit to light a thru-hiker's stove and campfire as he/she conquers all three of the U.S. long trails. With this in your pack, you'll never fear of lighter failure.


  • Reliable
  • Usable after being completely soaked
  • Not affected by elevation
  • 3,000-12,000 strikes


  • Two-handed operation
  • Heavier than other options
  • Poorly designed bottle opener
  • Priced higher than competing brands

When Trailspace assigned me the MSR Strike Igniter for Review Corps testing, they requested that I use it multiple time in a variety of settings, including cold and wet weather. In the month that I've had it, there has been nothing but cold, wet weather to test it in! I have used this in the flatlands of Illinois a few times, and I played around with it at 9,600' while snowshoeing in the Rocky Mountains (though I did not attempt an actual fire). In each and every attempt, the unit has functioned as it was designed to.

Trailspace also asked that I shoot at least one video, “demonstrating the use and performance of this product.” Following is footage of the MSR Strike being used to light an alcohol stove (my preferred form of cooking), a canister stove, and a campfire. I also demonstrate the performance of the bottle opener, with some amusing results.

 PLEASE NOTE: In the following video Trailspace reviewer Bill S. cautioned that my catfood can stove may have been too close to my Pocket Rocket when I turned it on. I felt I had moved the lit stove far enough away, but I see his point and will be mindful of it in the future.

As you will note, the bottle opener did not perform to acceptable standards. The “tooth” that fits under the cap is too shallow to grab the cap. Also, the "tooth" on my unit is different from the one currently pictured in the product description. However, I don't see the bottle opener being a big selling point for this unit. The main thing is that it produces a spark (of about 5500°F) when you need it, whatever the conditions.

The cons I mentioned—two-handed and heavier—are offset by the reliability of this item. I rarely go out on a multi-day trip without replacing my mini-Bic. I don't want to run out of fuel in the lighter. Even if the Strike only produces the minimum 3,000 strikes, I could still use it four times a day for a full two years. Plus it will strike when it has been soaked in a stream. Try that with a lighter!

Yeah, it's a full ounce heavier than a mini-Bic (1.25oz. on my scale), but on a long hike, that ounce “strikes” me as worth it (Sorry for the bad pun.).

Summary: I raise my [empty] glass to the MSR Strike and heartily recommend it for non-beverage use.

Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (Sample provided by MSR for testing and review)

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Price MSRP: $15.95
Current Retail: $17.95
Historic Range: $11.95-$17.95
Weight 39 g / 1.4 oz
Product Details from MSR »