man demonstrates how to use a pencil sharpener in a survival kit

Why You Should Bring a Pencil Sharpener on Every Outdoor Adventure

This tiny tool could save your life.

If you spend time in the backcountry hiking, hunting, or fishing, you should be carrying a survival kit along with your first aid kit. While you always hope that things will go smoothly on your adventure and you'll be back home when you say you'll be, nothing is ever certain when it comes to the remote outdoors. Weather can roll in unexpectedly, accidents happen, and you can find yourself off-course. If you get lost or caught outside overnight, a survival kit can help keep you warm, fed, and watered until you are able to self-rescue or a rescue team reaches you.

The most important survival tools include a fire starter, a multi-tool, a knife, a hatchet, water purification tools, duct tape, a satellite communication device, a map—and a pencil sharpener. At least, that's according to a recent video posted by @woodsboundoutdoors, who shares survival tips on both TikTok and YouTube.


A few great survival uses for a pencil sharpener #fyp #foryou #survival #bushcraft #survivaltips #outdoors #bushcraft #lifehack

? original sound - woodsboundoutdoors

The tool in question is a small portable sharpener made of magnesium. This material in particular is extremely important. Using the back of his knife, he shaves flakes of magnesium from the side of the pencil sharpener, explaining that magnesium burns at over 4,000 degrees, making it an excellent fire starter.

He then grabs some dry sticks and sharpens them, just as you would a pencil. He's left with a pile of fine wood flakes, which makes fantastic tinder. Finally, using a ferro rod, @woodsboundoutdoors sparks his magnesium flakes, which then ignites the tinder from the sharpened sticks. The sharpened stick, he explains, can be used as a spear for small animals.

Now you may be wondering, as a few users commented, "Why not just carry a lighter?"

@Woodsboundoutdoors explains that while he also carries a lighter, they're not nearly as reliable as a fire steel. They can break, run out of fluid, and don't work well in cold temperatures or if they get wet—two weather predicaments you could likely find yourself experiencing in a survival situation. He makes a good, er, point!

READ MORE: How to Plan and Prepare for Your First Backpacking Trip