When it comes to gear selection in preparation of adventures endured far from the trailhead, it’s all too easy to moderately discredit or overlook the fire starter entirely. It’s human nature in our modern world to accept the false security that simply having a BIC lighter from the local gas station or a simple ferro rod with striker is enough, that systems such as these will provide the necessary spark in our time of need. But with time and experience comes wisdom, and having operated in colder climates and inclement weather it would be foolish not to consider our contingency plans with greater scrutiny, if not for the improved preservation of ourselves but also for the sake of our loved ones. So, we ask ourselves, is there a better fire starter alternative worth upgrading to? Frankly yes, and it’s the Lightning Strike Fire Starter Mini.
Design & Innovation
The design and innovation of the self-contained Lightning Strike Fire Starter Mini is unique in that it reliably provides a concentrated spark with every strike of its ferro rod. At first glance, it’s easy to see the differences between it and many other fire starters on the market today. It achieves a concentrated spark by means of sheathing a single ferro rod within a CNC-machined outer housing, one that provides only enough access from which to apply downward pressure on the ferro rod with the striker provided. With the only other exposure being that of a half-inch opening at the end of the CNC-machined outer housing, the end result is a highly concentrated spark that is delivered “on target” despite variables such as high winds, degraded dexterity in one’s hands, shakiness due to exposure, and so on.
Construction & Material
The Lightning Strike Fire Starter Mini is MADE IN THE USA. The tinder provided is of very high-quality, burns hotter AND longer than many other tinder products available today, and is reliably retained within the water-resistant fire starter itself. All CNC-machined surfaces are contoured and polished, lending the fire starter to easy hand-manipulation while preventing unwanted injuries from burrs or other sharp edges. Both the striker and ferro rod are of quality construction as well, as I’ve used my personal unit frequently over several years now, from starting a warming fire in the cold backcountry to instructing my young children how to start a fire themselves. It’s worth noting here that this system works just as efficiently for the inexperienced as it does for the experienced!
Durability & Reliability
The Lightning Strike Fire Starter Mini is obviously more durable than your standard BIC lighter, and marginally more durable that common ferro rod and striker units in my opinion. It excels primarily in its simplicity of design and ease of use. Even when frozen in a block of solid ice during our authentic vetting process, the Lightning Strike Fire Starter Mini produces a reliable, concentrated spark once the ice has been chipped away from the unit by means of a rock or other blunt object. There simply was no lessening in its performance, but merely a delay due to the time needed to relieve the unit from the ice itself. In addition to the reliability that is the quality of the ferro rod and striker is the CNC-machined main housing itself, which lends itself to more positive control in less dexter hands due to its diameter and overall profile…a simple characteristic of its reliability that could prove critical when needing a warming fire in a hurry amongst degrading conditions!
Admittedly, the Lightning Strike Fire Starter Mini isn’t suited for chest-carry by means of your standard binocular harness or similar unit. However, its size lends itself very well to packability within your main backpack, and most anywhere therein. It does bring with it an overall weight “penalty” of approximately 3.2 ounces with full tinder, but that increase of 1-2 ounces over your standard ferro rod with striker should be readily accepted by most any end user when operating remotely in terrain. Honestly, there simply isn’t a logical reason that comes to my mind that warrants the carry of any other survival-related fire starter, in my opinion of course.
If you frequently operate in remote regions, whether alone or as part of a unit, then I highly recommend that you consider upgrading your survival-related fire starter to the Lightning Strike Fire Starter Mini. It’s well-suited for a broad spectrum of carry, from backpack to float plane and everywhere in between. There may be few other situations less dire that are specific to what we enjoy doing than needing a warming fire and not being capable of producing one, either due to degraded dexterity in one’s extremities or because of a lesser-quality, lesser-reliable fire starter. With everything one needs to operate remotely with increased confidence and capability, the Lightning Strike Fire Starter Mini is a solid option for a survival-related fire starter that offers cheap insurance and at an acceptable price point.
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