Holiday Gift Guide: Ninth Day of Christmas
Tony Sculimbrene 12.19.17
On the Ninth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me a striker to get a fire running.
The Choice: Light My Fire Firesteel Scout 2.0
Not all firesteels are created equal. I have run through a dozen or so over the years and time and again it was the Light My Fire firesteel that threw sparks consistently and effectively. A good firesteel can go a long way in getting you warm when it is cold outside, and consistency, not the size of the spark shower has proven to be important over the years.
One of my family members is an ultralight backpacker. She too has gone on the hunt for a good firesteel and at first, she had one that out-sparked the Light My Fire by a huge margin. It was a spring loaded model that you could use one handed. It cost about four times as much as the humble Light My Fire. And at the beginning of its life it threw out a shower of sparks like lightsabers clashing. But after a few months, it slowed down considerably and the shower became a puff until it stopped working completely.
In contrast, my tiny, simple two handed number has continued to work with the exact same spark shower for years now. As I am coming to the end of the life of the firesteel (I have almost worn through the ferro rod), I can’t imagine going for a different set up. The Light My Fire is incredibly consistent, small, simple, and unlikely to break (I guess you could snap the ferro rod off, but that is about it).
The Scout 2.0 is a bit smaller than the original Light My Fire, but I found that the striker is much more effective, with a small burr at the end instead of a corrugated shape.
Scrooge Before Ghost Visits: A Bic Lighter
Jim Nowka, a noted outdoorsman and generally funny guy, hosts the too infrequently released Knife Journal Podcast. In one episode he was recounting how bushcrafters, one of the podcast’s frequent lampooning targets, fetishize firestarting skills.
At a particular gathering, all of the bushcrafters sat around with their bow drills and fluff tinder when an ex-Navy Seal comes up to the gathering. He tells the moccasin wearers: “This is how we started a fire…” and flicks his Bic sending flames into the tinder in a second. The point was made—starting a fire is a task, not a hobby. There is no cheaper way than a Bic, even if, unlike a firesteel, it can run out of lighter fluid.
Scrooge After Ghost Visits: Mora Fireknife
This knife incorporates a Light My Fire into the handle of a Mora. It is a Swedish symphony worthy of Sibelius (oh damn you Wikipedia, Sibelius is Finnish…you killed my alliteration). The funny thing is that the firesteel will probably outlast the Mora. I am not a huge fan of Moras for the exact reason I like the Light My Fire over its competitors—Moras start out working phenomenally well, but after time and sharpening they don’t perform anywhere near as well as they used to. The steel and the grind, along with budget construction methods, make the Mora a temporary rental more than a keeper (but you can buy 5 Moras for the cost of a single Bark River, the people will say….)