Ever since the dawn of time mankind has been fascinated by fire. Truth be told, camping helps many of us scratch that pyro itch in constructive ways. Think about your fondest memories of camping and some of them probably center on sitting around a campfire. But as society has increasingly made our lives easier, the concept of starting a fire has been watered down to lighter fluid and a match. Where’s the adventure? Where is the drama? Where’s the sense of accomplishment? Well, have no fear because starting fires just got fun again.
Enter the Coghlans’s Magnesium Fire Starter, a small fire starting wiz. First of all it’s about the size of a sick of gum and weighs about the same, too. It’s basically just a block of magnesium with a sparking insert down the side of it. Through the center is a hole with a chain so you can attach it to anything so it’s easily accessible. We love the fact that it is the epitome of simplicity with no moving parts, and it’s very durable.
But how did it work? We followed the instructions on the box and started a fire very quickly. Here’s what you need to do. First when you are using the Coghlan’s Magnesium Fire Starter you’ll need a knife. If you don’t typically have one on you, you should invest in one. A basic Swiss Army Knife is versatile and will do the job in this application.
Find a relatively dry area that has reasonable wind protection. We recommend finding a flat area to work around. Also make sure you collect some dry tinder to toss on the fire. Take your knife and at a 90 degree angle scrap off some magnesium from the back of it. Once you have about a quarter’s size pile of magnesium, flip the fire starter over and take the back of your knife on the sparking insert and strike down towards the pile. Sparks will fly and fire should start instantly. It worked beautifully for us. The fire will not last long so you’ll need to work quickly or the fire will go out, but it’s so fun to use you won’t mind doing it again when it goes out.
Overall we were very impressed with this compact, light, easy, and (I’ll admit it) fun fire starter. For eight bucks (check online – you can find it cheaper) it’s a great value and should last for a long time. We recommend this strongly especially if you are rounding out a survival kit.
Remember to use caution when working with fire. Also make sure you follow the local laws in regards to open fires. When putting out a fire, make sure it is completely out (no smoke). Only you can prevent forest fires!
Gabe Stampone and his family live in Rochester, NY.