The best fire starter for camping

Camp Cooking

Never leave a campfire unattended. All fires and embers should always be completely extinguished and drowned with water before leaving a campsite.

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Top camping fire starters 

Sitting around a campfire, toasting s’mores and relaxing after a long day in the outdoors have become synonymous with the camping experience. Starting a campfire may seem like an easy task, but without the right tools you might literally find yourself left in the dark. 

To ensure that you can achieve the comfort of a roaring fire without the hassle, check out some of our top picks for the best campfire starters. From strikers to flammable fire squares, the best method ultimately comes down to preference. 

What are fire starters?

The term “fire starter” covers a wide variety of tools and accessories that aid in the creation or building of a fire. Flint has been used in one form or another for thousands of years, while easily ignitable fire starting bricks are a relatively recent concept. Other types of fire starters include magnesium bars, tinder kits, matches and lighters. 

Types of fire starters 

Ferro rods  

While ferrocerium has made fire starting easier, becoming more popular than simple flint and steel, the basic process of using a fire striker remains the same. Ferrocerium rods, also known as ferro rods, utilize a steel striker to produce incredibly hot sparks when scraped against the rod itself, which will quickly set your tinder ablaze. 

berleben Z nden Traditional Bushcraft Fire Steel

überleben Zünden Fire Starter

This long-lasting option comes equipped with a sturdy wooden handle, and even includes a small ruler, hex wrench and bottle opener on the striker. With three different sizes available, you can expect a lifespan of 12,000 to 20,000 strikes. 

Available at Amazon 

Swiss Safe 5-in-1 Fire Starter

Swiss Safe 5-in-1 Fire Starter

Another lightweight multi-purpose ferro rod, the Swiss Safe 5-in-1 Fire Starter gets the job done no matter the weather conditions. Rain, snow, wind or altitude won’t cause ferro rods to lose their effectiveness. This particular model also features a conveniently placed compass, whistle and paracord lanyard. 

Available at Amazon 

Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel Scout

Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel Scout

Most fire strikers are small and light enough to store in your pack or pocket, but the FireSteel Scout is the most compact on our list, weighing less than one ounce and measuring just 3 inches long. Its small size doesn’t mean it’s any less efficient, lasting for approximately 3,000 strikes.  

Available at Amazon

Magnesium blocks

Some magnesium fire starters are similar to ferro rods, considering they too require a striker to generate a spark. However, these types of fire starters allow you to scrape off tiny pieces of magnesium which can aptly light your kindling, serving as a form of tinder themselves. 

The Friendly Swede Magnesium Fire Starter

The Friendly Swede Magnesium Fire Starter

Sold in a pack of three, you can take one camping and add another to your emergency kit. These magnesium fire starters can also help you create a fire in windy and wet conditions, seeing as magnesium burns much hotter than butane. 

Available at Amazon

HTS 222B0 Magnesium Block Fire Starter

HTS 222B0 Magnesium Block Fire Starter

The HTS 222B0 provides a solid waterproof block of magnesium with an attached flint rod and included striker. As with other magnesium options, the shavings from this fire starter burn at temperatures near 5,400 degrees. 

Available at Amazon

Doan Magnesium Fire Starter Tool

Doan Magnesium Fire Starter Tool

For those who are looking for a simple yet dependable magnesium block, look no further than the Doan Magnesium Fire Starter Tool. This tool doesn’t include a steel striker, so you’ll be required to use the blade of a knife or similar object in order to generate shavings and ignite a spark. 

Available at Amazon 

Fire starting brick

Depending on where you’re camping, not all locations have readily available kindling and tinder, making it difficult to start a fire. In those situations, choosing a fire-starting brick is a great alternative. 

Rutland 50B Safe Lite Fire Starter Squares

Rutland 50B Safe Lite Fire Starter Squares

These small non-toxic squares, constructed from wax and recycled wood chips, are easy to light and burn long enough to ensure a healthy campfire. Each box contains 144 squares, so you’ll be able use them for multiple campouts. 

Available at Amazon

Coghlan’s Waterproof Fire Sticks

Coghlan’s Waterproof Fire Sticks

If you’re looking for a low-cost option, Coghlan’s Fire Sticks offer a waterproof and odor-free way to start a campfire without much effort. After you return from your camping trip, these fire sticks still come in handy when lighting a backyard barbeque or indoor fireplace. 

Available at Amazon 

UCO Stormproof Sweetfire Strikeable Fire Starter

UCO Stormproof Sweetfire Strikeable Fire Starter

Some fire starters require the use of either a lighter or match to ignite. Stormproof Sweetfire Fire Starter features a strikable tip, which when lit, allows the renewable biofuel body to burn for up to seven minutes, more than enough time for your logs to catch. 

Available at Amazon

Tinder 

In many cases, natural tinder can be found scattered around campgrounds. Things like small sticks, dried grass, pine needles, cattails and certain tree barks are all great options when starting a campfire. If conditions aren’t ideal, you might want to invest in a store-bought option. 

5col Survival Supply TinderQuik Fire Starting Tabs

5col Survival Supply TinderQuik Fire Starting Tabs

These compressed cotton fire-starting tabs are designed to quickly ignite when exposed to a spark or flame. Trying to start a fire with wet components usually doesn’t end well, so having confidence that your tinder will work when wet is a major plus. 

Available at Amazon

Light My Fire Tinder On A Rope

Light My Fire Tinder On A Rope

If you’re looking for an all-natural fire starter, Tinder On A Rope is a fun way to produce your own tinder by shaving off pieces of the resin-rich fatwood pine. Using reclaimed and responsibly sourced materials and with no added chemicals, this is an eco-friendly fire starting method. 

Available at Amazon

CHENCY Natural Firelighters

CHENCY Natural Firelighters

This fire starter is another 100 percent natural tinder, which utilizes a similar concept but saves you the time and energy of having to shave off the wood chips yourself. With multiple functions, you’ll be able to light more than just a campfire. 

Available at Amazon

Matches and lighters

As long as you have dry tinder, matches and classic lighters can normally be used to get a campfire going. However, when wind or rain are causing issues, you sometimes need a heavy-duty option.

UCO Stormproof Match Kit

UCO Stormproof Match Kit

UCO waterproof matches will burn even after being submerged in water. For further protection, they come in a watertight case, making them perfect for camping and backpacking. 

Available at Amazon

Zippo Emergency Fire Kit

Zippo Emergency Fire Kit

If you’re looking for a water-resistant lighter that includes its own tinder, the Zippo Emergency Fire Kit has just that. The five pieces of waxed cotton tinder fit neatly inside the lighter’s interior, keeping them dry and accessible for your next camping trip. 

Available at Amazon

RONXS Candle lighter

RONXS Candle lighter

An upgrade from your standard lighter, this butane-free lighter was designed with safety in mind. The extendable neck makes it easy to light tinder tucked under logs, while the wind-resistant head won’t go out from strong gusts. Unlike ordinary lighters that run out of fuel, this model needs only a quick recharge and it’s ready to go. 

Available at Amazon

Matthew Young is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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