My three firestarter reviews...

Joined
Nov 20, 2006
Messages
600
The first one is the Spark Lite
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Second is the Coghlan Magesium Fire Starter
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Third is the Boy Scout Hot Spark Fire Starter
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The Spark Lite, to me, is useless. I may have a bum version, but I couldn't get anything to start with the crappy little sparks this thing was putting out. I tried a bunch of different types of tinder and had no success with it.

The Coghlan Magnesium Fire Starter works just fine. After a while, though, I didn't bother using the magnesium. It took too long to get a nice pile, and the tinder was catching without the magnesium even burning. I can't say that it's useless, as I'm sure it would be a blessing in wet conditions, but if you have decent dry tinder, you don't need the magnesium.

The Boy Scout Hot Spark was a surprise. It's quite small (about the length of the Spark Lite), but it had no problems lighting stuff. It has something like a teflon coating that needs to be scraped off before it starts working. Also, the piece of metal that comes with it is useless.

The Spark Lite is going in the trash. The Coghlan Magnesium fire starter is going into my long trip pack. The winner is the Boy Scout Hot Spark. Its effectiveness and small size means that it will replace my Spark Lite in my Ritter micro survival kit that I carry with me on every hike.
 
Thanks for the input. Last time I tried to buy a boyscout model I was told they were no longer available. Now I use a sweedish fire steel (I cut the plastic handle off to reduce the size), I also use ferro rods from ron hood. I thought about the coughlans just to try the magnesium bar. I may end up just buying powdered magnesium though if I can find it for sale. Powdered mag is wicked for starting fires because it burns around 5K degrees however it dont play nice with water so you have to be careful using it in the rain. As far as the spark lite I just chalk it up to a gimmick and have never even considered it as a real survival tool. Thanks for the inputs and taking time to post the results.
 
Hey GUys...

Pitman..

Basically it's like throwing sparks from a dry zippo...

You spin the wheel and sparks fly off...Not the hottest sparks in the world,, but should be enough to lite the supplied tinder..

You get nearly the same effect from the Zippo...

In this case,, you are throwing the sparks onto a wax/vaseline type tinder bundle...

Very simple concept,, although I haven't heard of one Not working....

ttyle

Eric
O/ST
 
Hey Guys..

Coyote...

The only problems I have seen with the Boy Scout hot Spark is that if you put too much lateral force on them,, the rod seems to get loose and fall out..I've had that happen a couple of times to me already,, as well as the large Swedish Steels..

Most of the time with the Hot sparks I bend the rod out of the handle,, toss it and then epoxy the rod into a small piece of antler tine of some sort.. Looks nice,, but isn't as compact as the OEM handle.

When I buy a new Firesteel,, I always remove the handle,, grind a flat spot on eaither side (That's Fun on a 2X72 belt grinder!!! ) rough up the inside of the handle,, and epoxy them together...

They are not glue in,, but rather press fitted into the handle

ttyle

Eric
O/ST
 
I agree that the sparklite isn't the best for starting natural tinders, but when used in conjunction with the supplied tinder or vaseline impregnated cotton balls i think its a pretty good deal. The benefit of the sparklite is that it can be used one-handed in the event that your survival or combat situation leaves you minus several fingers or a whole hand. The others cannot be implemented as easily in this situation.

I personally would rather pack a bic and the sparklite tinder or treated cotton for when the butane runs out.
 
I agree that the sparklite isn't the best for starting natural tinders, but when used in conjunction with the supplied tinder or vaseline impregnated cotton balls i think its a pretty good deal. The benefit of the sparklite is that it can be used one-handed in the event that your survival or combat situation leaves you minus several fingers or a whole hand. The others cannot be implemented as easily in this situation.

Although I didn't use the supplied tinder with the Spark Lite as I wanted to keep that in my kit, I did try it with cotton balls and vaseline soaked cotton balls among other things. It simply didn't work.

Like I said, I probably have a bad one, but it's still going in the trash.
 
Hey Pit Man..

Not a problem at all...

Wilde...

Instead of tossing it,, send it over to me..
I'll send you something in return..

ttyle
Eric
O/ST
 
I've tried the Spark Lite and I had no difficulty in lighting the supplied tinder. I opened the compress tinder a bit and with one flick of the flint the tinder was flaming. Maybe you got a bum batch...
 
Hi guys,

If you get a chance you may want to check out an article in the current Backwoodsman. In it, he uses a flint from a welding spark lighter as a mini ferro rod attached to the key ring of his SAK.

I tried this, and at first it didn't want to work for me at all, but after awhile (maybe once the coating was off) it worked fine.

Doc
 
One of the advantages to the spark lite is it's one handed operation in case you find yourself injured
 
I suspect you were just unlucky with your SparkLite, I personally find it one of the best & Ive never failed to light tinder quiks, cotton balls, vaseline/cotton, or dry shredded leaf-matter.
 
That particular spark lite coudl be defective?
Does it throw sparks?
If so, are they more or less than a Bic lighter or Zippo?

Mine throws a "ball" of sparks, much larger than either type of lighter.
That would be your first indication.

I would return or exchange it if not satisfied.

Coyote, carry a small chunk of magnesium and you are set, you can make it "dust" with the file in your SAK or Multi-tool.
I can send you a small piece approx. the size of the manufactured Magnesium sparkers. Email me. Magnesium "dust" is tougher to carry around, can spill, etc.
The chunk is always there at the ready, just takes a little grinding or wittling to get a nice little pile.
 
It has been my experience that the Light My Fire brand sparker is the hottest. Mine throws a shower without much effort.
 
Doc,

Interesting idea. We are always scraping metal across our flint, why not scrape the smaller flint across metal?

Those flints last a good long while. You can get packs of 4 or 5 at hardware stores and homecenters. Just found them on AuctionBay, search "striker flints".
 
Hi guys,

If you get a chance you may want to check out an article in the current Backwoodsman. In it, he uses a flint from a welding spark lighter as a mini ferro rod attached to the key ring of his SAK.

I tried this, and at first it didn't want to work for me at all, but after awhile (maybe once the coating was off) it worked fine.

Doc

it was a great article... i've been meaning to try it myself...:D

i have all of the above firestarting methods... i love the BSA hotspark... it's an awesome little piece of gear, especially for the price..... i have them all over the place, in my kits, on my keychain and on a few knives.....:eek:

mike
 
Get a new sparklite; they do work.
I have shown many folks how to use one and the are a few who just can't master its operation. I guess in any crowd there will be some difference in motor abilities and someone will find it ineffective.
The Sparklite is really designed to work with premade tinders; I have had success with the Quick Tinder (supplied w/ SL), Wet Fire, homemade cotton tinder, dry plain cotton, frayed blue jeans and evan t-paper and paper towels. I have not given much effort in trying to ignite natural tinders but they would have to be very fine and very dry. I tried shaved fatwood "fuzz" last night. The Sparlite did not work before my finger ached but the Hot Spark did it on the second spark.
In my experience most people do not prepare their tinder well enough and that is their problem.
The Sparklite and supplied tinder excel in the 72 hour scenario. For longer term or TEOTWAWKI I like the Hotspark in my pocket and a Swedish Fire Steel in my pack.
 
lol, yeah, it's my motor abilities that's keeping mine from working. For years I haven't been able to move my fingers correctly. In fact, it has taken me 20 minutes to type these three lines.
 
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