There are seemingly endless ways of starting fire. Everything from primitive friction fires to the new aged synthetic powders. They all have their benefits and in the end as long as they do what they were designed to do than who cares.
However, speaking from experience, when you become submerged in the icy bone chilling water after a fall through the weak spring ice the game changes.
Many water proof matches, strike anywhere matches, lighters, strikers, torches, chemical or synthetic tinders are suddenly rendered useless. It is amazing what cold water can do to expensive, results guaranteed products.
Let's be honest. When you fall through the ice and self rescue, the task of getting off the ice and out of the wind becomes extremely fatiguing. Then, with every part of you frozen and dexterity escaping you, try to gather materials and start a fire.
Starting that fire is a life or death task. Therefor the ignition source you choose must be tested and trusted by you. Not the manufacturer selling it to you.
Recently I went back to my favourite manufacturer of go-anywhere fire starters. Ultimate Survival Technologies. I have previously posted about their StrikeForce fire starter. I have purchased 4 of them because I will never go anywhere without one. They are that good. I have submerged them in icy water, been submerged with them in icy water and hung them in a tree through a wild Canadian snow storm. I wipe them off and strike away receiving the same sparks as when I first got them.
So, it wasn't a hard decision to purchase the BlastMatch fire starter. A one-handed, all weather fire starter. The whole process from start to finish can be operator with one hand which is extremely useful if you become involved in a winter survival emergency.
I have tested this piece of equipment extensively over the last week since its purchase and could not be happier. But the true test came today when my 8 year old son decided that he wanted to give it a try. Often young people have a hard time with strikers due to the precision type pressure that must be used to scrape the flint to generate sparks.
He was determined though and talked me into giving him a quick lesson. So I did. It took 4 attempts for him before he was producing the sparks necessary to ignite is tinder. This was truly amazing considering it is a one handed device that requires some pressure and proper placement of your tinder.
The greatest advantage is that the flint rod acts like a piston. The housing and striking bar slide up and down over the flint rod. The rod can be placed, with pressure, on your tinder pile. So when you strike down the rod does not move and the sparks spray out the bottom right onto your tinder. With regular flint rods you utilize two hands and scrape the rod with a blade approx. 1-2 inches above your pile and therefor run the risk of knocking your tinder pile all over the place.
Again, these products have become a must have for me. $25-$30 is a small price to pay for durability, reliability and guarantee. It may save your life.