Nov 20, 2006
So I have one of these Spark Lites like this:


The other day, on a hike, I decided to try out my fire starting skills. I spent 20 minutes attempting to light some nice flameable tinder with that little thing. Couldn't get it to work.

Last night I soaked up some cotton balls with vaseline and tried lighting that. I had no luck with that either. In fact, I tried a crapload of different types of tinder and I couldn't get those little sparks coming out of that Spark Lite to light anything. I stopped myself from using lighter fluid for the bbq.

So, is it just a crappy piece of equipment or am I somehow doing something wrong?
I think that firestarter is something that works well in theory only. I've tried those with the same results that you've gotten. I have a tough time using something in the field that doesn't work under ideal conditions in the home. I'd recommend getting a standard flint bar similar to this one. It has fewer parts that can break and will provide a consistent shower of sparks.

Good luck in your search!! :thumbup:

(BTW, flint bars like that are available in MANY online stores. I have no affiliation or endorsement for that particular's just the first that popped up in my search. ;) )
Also, since that one rolls, it tends to spread the sparks around and they will cool down too quick. The trick with that type of firestarter is that you need to find a way to funnel the sparks to a concentrated area in your tinder, which can be difficult. Good luck! :D
I just poof up the tinder (or cotton + vaseline). Haven't had any trouble getting it to light after a few sparks
There have been a few defective Sparklites out there. I had a green one that was a dud. A new one should be a little difficult to flick the first few times.
The Sparklite is really designed to be used with a prepared tinder like the Quick Tinder or homemade "cotton balls". I have gotten a few other tinders to light but the "firesteel" type starters work better for natural tinder like wood shavings and curls. In theory it should be able to light any tinder as long as it is super fine and dry. The sparks from a true flint and steel are pretty weak but they have worked for centuries.

The Sparklite shines in that once you get the hang of it and most do pretty quickly; it is really fast, easy and onehanded.

It sounds like yours might be a dud.
I guess I just need more practice then. Sounds like something good to do this weekend. :D

BTW billym, you've probably hit the nail on the head. Last time I tried one of those I was using wood shavings not cotton tinder.