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Magnesium Fire Starter Fun

firestarter2Never leave home without a magnesium fire starter (or toilet paper).

OK, I know I probably watched too many Bear Grylls survival shows, but I was recently at the Coleman tent sale and picked up a magnesium fire starter. I know it’s because I saw many people on that tv show trying to start fires with flints, often failing miserably. I just had to try.

This weekend we were climbing in Rifle, CO and the conditions were great for climbing but not much fun for hanging around camp. It was cold! We decided to have a fire to keep warm and, while digging around for the lighter, I came across the fire starter that I had purchased so I figured it was a good time to give it a try. This was going to be fun!

So, I set to work scraping bits of magnesium into the fire ring. Then I found some twigs and started to scrape the flint edge of the starter and was amazed to see that, with the right amount of speed and pressure I was able to elicit sparks from the darn thing. Problem was that it never caught fire. My husband remembered that they would use dry grasses to get the fire started on tv. But we didn’t have dry grasses around. We scraped and scraped and scraped, but to no avail. At this point it wasn’t much fun anymore and I had a sore on the side of my thumb. Ready to pack it in and call myself a failure, super hubby grabbed some toilet paper from his pack, scraped the magnesium into it, got a spark to ignite it and we had a flame, soon to become a nice warm fire with the kindling and firewood that we had. Wow, too cool! What a feeling of accomplishment and joy at this feat (although I really would have liked to be the one to make that fateful spark).

Yes, we did use the fire to keep warm, but for those of you who use coals or cook over your campfire grate this works the same. Sure do wish we had some marshmallows!

These fire starters are so lightweight and I can’t believe they actually work. I will always carry one with me when camping, just in case. It’s a lot of work when all you can really just grab your lighter, some paper and kindling.  But, you never know when your lighter will give out or if your matches will get wet. Just make sure to carry some tp!

I’ve since noticed a number of other fire starting products on the market. If you have any feedback on these products I would like to hear from you. Just leave a comment on the blog.

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