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Optimus Sparky

photo: Optimus Sparky fire starter


Price MSRP: $12.95
Current Retail: $12.95
Historic Range: $7.96-$12.95
Reviewers Paid: $10.00-$12.00
Weight 0.49 oz / 14 g
Dimensions 2.7 x 0.98 in / 70x 25 mm


2 reviews
5-star:   1
4-star:   0
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   1

This little igniter works great to light my alcohol stoves. The recommended approach is to dip it in the alcohol, lift about six inches while holding it down, and click. You then have a match in which to light your alcohol stove. (Tilting the igniter upright after dipping it in the alcohol is not recommended and could lead to injury.)

This igniter works even when wet. You can drop it in the river and then pick it up, shake it off, and then light your stove. It makes carrying lighters, waterproof matches, flint & steel, and other forms of ignition unnecessary although a back up plan is always recommended when out in a remote wilderness.

I highly recommend this product to light your alcohol stove.


  • The igniter has air slots in the tip which promote quick alcohol match starting.
  • The Optimus igniter has insulation all the way to the tip making the spark accessible. Other igniters work, but not as well due to this advantage.
  • It works every time, even while wet.
  • It never needs refilling because there is no fuel to add. It does not require maintenance.
  • It will work for at least 100,000 times without a problem.


  • In case you lose it, one always needs to carry a backup source of ignition for their stove or an emergency fire.
  • Would be difficult to use to light a campfire unless you are a very skilled woodsman.

Have used this and the MSR igniter now on 12 backpacking trips and fully recommend this product. I prefer the Optimus Sparky over the MSR igniter, which is very similar in design, works OK, but the the Optimus Sparky works the first time every time. (The MSR igniter tends to spark internally and requires several clicks to make it work. It still works, but just not every time.)

Please remember that you can not see alcohol burning in the direct sunlight and to always make sure your stove is cold and out before you add alcohol. The best approach is to gingerly dip the igniter, lift about six inches while holding it down, and click. One then has an alcohol match in which to light their stove. Be sure the flame is out before placing it back in your pocket or placing it next to your fuel bottle. To prevent injury do not turn the igniter upside down after dipping the tip.

This technology makes it quick and easy to light your alcohol stove. It is a great product.

It is not recommended for lighting campfires.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: About 10 dollars on Amazon


Actually I have th MSR igniter and it will work every time, you just have to learn the "trick" (at least with gas stoves). I've found you have to hold the igniter over the stove for about 2 - 3 seconds, allowing the firing tube to fill with gas. Once that happens, it lights just fine.

7 years ago
Lewis Bagwell

DonP, I agree with you that the MSR igniter is a fairly good one. I have six of them and use them regularly. One of the six tends to spark down internally compared to the others that spark at the tip. It takes four or five clicks to get it to work, but it still works. For that reason I gave the MSR a somewhat less rating that the Optimus.

7 years ago

This is the worst lighter. Don't waste your money. I purchased one for Philmont trek in New Mexico and it didn't work at ALL!! I was able to go to the store and they exchanged it and got a new one. Figure OK, this happens and I was again totally disappointed and the second one was just as worthless as the first one.

I didn't return it for a third time because I want to keep it to remind me NOT to buy these products!! Total waste of money. Get a lighter for $2 will do the job. You won't need the flame just the REAL SPARK that this product doesn't provide.


  • Light and compact


  • Doesn't work

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $12


Welcome to Trailspace, Carlos. Too bad about your Sparky not working. What happens when you try to use yours? Do you have any pictures you could share in your review to show others your issues?

5 years ago

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