A camper starting a fire.
Getty Images: Thomas Zsebok

Fire Starters for Camping: 8 Essential Choices


These are the best fire starters for camping on the market today.

One of the most vital pieces of outdoor gear for sportsmen and women is a fire starter. They are an essential tool needed to start a fire in the backcountry or in an emergency. Even if you aren't a camper, it's a good idea to have one in a survival kit in case you have to spend the night in the wilderness. A fire could save your life in many dicey scenarios.

It's also not a bad idea to keep one in your camping gear in case you ever forget waterproof matches or a lighter.

Fire making skills are an essential part of bushcraft that everyone should learn. It's just a good life skill to have, and a fire starter is the item you need to get started.

While there are some DIY-style solutions out there, we're going to highlight some of the best commercial campfire starters on the market today. Many of these are designed to work in a variety of weather conditions and can be used to help you strike up a flame when you need it the most, either on your next camping trip or in an emergency. We are going to focus on a variety of styles that will fit different skill levels and needs in the field.


The nice thing about a fire starter is they are one of the cheapest survival items you can buy. There's no good excuse to not have one with you on your next adventure into the wilds. You never know, one of these products may just save your life one day.

Products featured on Wide Open Spaces are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Bayite Survival Ferrocerium Drilled Flint Fire Starter

Simple and to the point, this ferro rod fire starter is one of the highest-rated striker-style fire starters on Amazon and comes in at just $14. It also includes five feet of paracord. It has a nice grip to hold on to as you spark out 5,300-degree sparks, sure to help light up whatever tinder you're using. This kit is small enough to easily slip into the pocket of your hiking clothes or a back pocket of a backpack or hunting bag until you need it.

AOFAR Magnesium Fire Starter

The nice thing about this fire starter kit is you get two for the price of one. That way you can put one in your hiking pack and another in a camping bag. Simply scrape the magnesium off and use the striker to spark it. This design takes some practice, but once you have it down, you'll acquire an excellent survival skill that could save your life. It's convenient to have the magnesium included to help spark your tinder.


Swiss Safe 5-in-1 Fire Starter

Here's another magnesium fire starter two pack, but the difference with this one is you get a few extra features. There's an emergency whistle and a compass, two handy tools no one should head into the wilderness without. Swiss Safe offers these fire starters in eight different color options to suit your style. Each of these starters are built to withstand up to 16,000 strikes, making them a long-lasting addition to your camping supplies.

UCO Stormproof Survival and Emergency Matches

Some people may prefer something that's a little easier to use than a magnesium fire starter, and that's where these stormproof matches play a role. They're waterproof, windproof, and have a 15-second burn time to help you light up a roaring fire quickly without a lot of excess wasted movement and energy. Every second counts in an emergency, and these matches help with that. There's plenty of online videos out there demonstrating how these matches can be lit, submerged in water, and still re-light themselves when taken out. It's some impressive stuff. UCO also includes three strikers and a cotton ball for tinder in the plastic case, solid additions to any camping kit.

Zippo Typhoon Match Kit

Zippo sells these matches on their own, but it's worth paying a little extra for the kit so you can get the waterproof case that seals with a O ring to keep moisture out. All the same, a little water isn't a problem for these extreme matches. They'll re-light again even if submerged and they give up to 30 seconds of burn time, which is more than enough for novice fire builders to get things going. We should note they are not strike-anywhere matches, and you will need the strike pads included in the kit. These get excellent reviews and are claimed to be an easy way to get a fire going, especially in an emergency.

UCO Stormproof Sweetfire Strikeable Firestarters

These firestarters are perfect for anyone who has had problems lighting a fire in the past with a flint or matches. These unique starters use a type of sugarcane byproduct as a fuel, and the flame they produce is huge. If these accidentally get wet they will still light, making your odds of getting a fire going much better. They will burn for up to seven minutes.


Weyland Fire Starter Kit

This best seller kit is perfect for anyone who wants to be prepared for nearly every scenario. You get the usual ferrocerium rod, but you also get some fatwood fire starter sticks, a fat rope stick starter, tumbleweed fire starters, paraffin wax, tinder wicks, and more. There's even a small bellows to help you get the flames going and a reusable hemp match, which helps you carry and transport an already established flame to another location. All the equipment packs into a small MOLLE bag that is also water resistant. Throw it into your vehicle, hunting, or hiking pack and you'll be covered in an emergency.

Morakniv Kansbol Survival Kit

Fire Starters For Camping

Travis Smola

This knife and fire starter kit is a great option for anyone who wants a good survival blade to add to their collection. Don't let the bargain price fool you into thinking it's cheap; Morakniv makes excellent blades for incredible prices. This blade features a ground spine for use with the ferro rod that they attached to the polymer sheath, so you can have two vital survival tools for the price of one. We really love the handle on this unassuming knife, because it's way more ergonomic than one would expect out of a $33 blade. Read our full review for more thoughts on this kit.

For more outdoor content from Travis Smola, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Instagram For original videos, check out his Geocaching and Outdoors with Travis YouTube channels


Related Videos