7 Best Ferro Rods For Wilderness Survival and Preparedness

By Just In Case Jack | Last Updated: May 2, 2018

Best Ferro RodsThe Complete Guide To Finding And Using A Ferro Rod

A spark is an insanely powerful thing to carry in your pocket.

For most of human history, starting a fire was an epic and important challenge.

It was no laughing matter. It was serious for survival.

To combat this challenge, ancient travelers would carry embers around because it was far easier to start a fire with a smoldering ember than create a new one.

After all, using stones to knock out a spark IS NOT EASY.

Nor is using a stick to pop an ember out of a wood plank.

Besides, our ancestors could never be certain there would be enough dry fuel (or the right stones) at their next stop off.

It was better to carry a smoldering ember along.

So what would ancient people think about a spark-generating device today?

  • One that fits in a pocket.
  • One that throws off sparks hot enough to melt steel.
  • A device that works with the flick of a wrist (even when soaking wet)

I bet they would have killed for such power!

That would have been life-changing tech back then. And anyone with access to it would have felt like a survival wizard.

Today we have a variety of fire-starting tools:

But only one type of fire starter works under almost any conditions.

A device that can get a damp bundle of sticks burning like a grease-soaked towel in seconds flat.

Ferro rods.

But what exactly are they? How do they generate fire? How does one use a Ferro rod?

And what are the best Ferro rods to buy?

Those are precisely the questions this article will address. The ins, outs, ups, downs, and all the nitty-gritty details of Ferro rods:

**Note: If you want our top recommendations, feel free to SKIP AHEAD HERE.

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uberleben ferro rod fire starter

What Is A Ferrocerium Rod Anyway?

To understand what a Ferro rod is, you need to understand what it is made of. So, allow me to introduce you to Ferrocerium.

Ferrocerium is like flint – but it’s not like flint at all.

Chemically, ferrocerium, the metal used in Ferrocerium rods, is entirely dissimilar to natural flint rock. But they do the same thing: generate sparks.

The main feature of ferrocerium vs. flint is it produces sparks that burn at around 5500 degrees F!

And can even result in molten globs of metal from the steel striker.

You can strike it using all sorts of dense materials, such as:

  • glass shards
  • knife spines
  • or even flint

Whereas flint is stingy with giving up sparks without steel.

Ferro Rod

Ferro Rod / Striker / String

A typical survival Ferrocerium rod consists of three components:

  1. The Ferro rod itself
  2. A striker
  3. A small length of string to bind them together

The Ferro rod was invented by the German scientist Carl Auer around 1903. Since then, they’ve been widely adopted and used throughout the world.

They’ve been used in every modern war, and they’ve become embedded in survival culture.

Why? Because they are ideal for the outdoors as a staple survival tool in any scenario.

Ferro rods are a specific tool with a specific purpose. However, they’re not like survival multi-tools that can function to serve a variety of purposes.

They do one thing and do it damn well; they conjure fire.

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Black Ferro Rod

Why Ferro Rods Are Awesome

Let’s cover all the reasons why you should own and carry a Ferro rod.

Extremely Hot Sparks

As mentioned, when you strike one, you create a spark that burns upwards of 5000 degrees F.

At those temps, anything in its way is libel to melt or ignite without difficulty. They can even produce these hot sparks when they are soaking wet.

Making them a lot easier to use than the conventional steel-and-flint striker.

Size and Weight

Their size and weight play a lot in their usefulness.

Some Ferro rods are not much bigger than the size of a zipper. They are lightweight and fit comfortably into a pocket or compartment.

You can even attach one to a keychain, so you’ve always got a method for starting fires.

The bottom line is they are a useful tool for fire starting and a perfect addition to your:

Easy To Use

We touched on this earlier, but Ferro rods are dead simple to use.

Even without much practice, you can quickly figure out how to use a Ferro rod without much guidance.

It’s a surefire way to bear flames even in the darkest, coldest circumstances.

It’s easy to take fire for granted in a world full of gas-powered stovetops, Bic lighters, and blowtorches.

Other Uses

Ferro rods are useful for more than just starting fires.

They also make decent signaling tools in the dark. The sparks they produce are so hot and so bright they are like a firecracker or a small flare.

So if you find yourself lost in the dark, and people are looking for you, use it as a backup signaling device. They can help people locate you in the dark.

The Ferro rod may be simple technology. But the purpose it serves is essential to civilization.

I can’t think of a single instance when having one on hand wouldn’t be useful.

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How To Use A Ferro Rod

The first order of business (as with any fire) is to get your tinder in order. Make sure you have a small pile of dry twigs, bark, grass, or cotton.

Now situate your tinder so there’s plenty of air underneath and throughout. That way, when the sparks touch the tinder, there’s enough oxygen to produce a flame.

Once your tinder bundle is ready, hold the Ferro rod in one hand and the striker in the other.

Next, place the end of the Ferro rod right underneath (or against) your tinder pile. Angle the striker at 45 degrees and drag it forcefully and quickly along the Ferro rod’s length.

Great, bright sparks will erupt from the friction between the two pieces of metal.

Direct the hot sparks straight into your tinder pile. The more sparks land within the tinder, the hotter it will get, and the faster a flame will manifest.

When you notice smoke coming from your tinder pile, STOP, bend and blow gently into your tinder bundle.

The air from your lungs should nurture the spark burning within the tinder into a growing flame. Be careful not to blow too hard because you can accidentally blow out your hard-earned flame!

Once the fire has a life of its own, start piling larger sticks and logs on top until you have a roaring bonfire.

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Best Ferro Rods On The Market Today

These days, the choices are overwhelming no matter the survival gadget you’re researching.

There are hundreds (sometimes thousands) of producers. All claim to be the “best” option for you.

It can be almost impossible to cut through the noise.

Which ones are good? And which ones are trash? Which ones are too much, and which are just right?

That’s why I’ve included a list of the highest-rated, most widely acclaimed list of Ferro rods. That way, you don’t have to sift through the ocean of cheap, crappy Ferro rods that exist.

1. Holtzman’s Wood Handle Ferro Rod

Let’s start off with this beautiful large wood handle Ferro rod.

What I like most about this one is the finger grooves in the wood handle allow for an insanely strong grip.

If you’ve ever tried to use a Ferro rod with a small handle, it’s extremely frustrating. Small handles will slip repeatedly and will quickly cause soreness and fatigue in your hand muscles.

Not so with this gem of a Ferro rod!

Plus, it’s designed to start over 12,000 fires – so it very well could be the last Ferro rod you’ll ever need to buy.

2. Schrade SCHFS1 4in Ferro Rod Fire Striker

The Schrade SCHFS1 Ferro Rod comes in at only 4 inches long and only 1.1 ounces.

It’s the perfect example of practical simplicity.

It includes the Ferro rod and a striker connected by a simple black lanyard.

Schrade uses only the highest quality materials, so this Ferro rod will perform when needed.

3. überleben Zünden Thick Bushcraft Fire Steel with Wood Handle

Consider the überleben Zünder the luxury edition Ferro rod.

It includes a wooden handle and a high-quality Ferro rod. This survival rod is advertised as having between 12,000-20,000 strikes.

That’s 12,000-20,000 times this small piece of survival equipment can save your life.

The striker on this Ferro rod even comes with a built-in can/bottle opener. It’s also embossed with a 50mm measuring stick.

4. Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel Fire Starter with Emergency Whistle

Simple and versatile, the Light My Fire Ferro rod is several tools built into one. Sort of like a firestarter multitool.

The grips on this Ferro rod are made of high-durability plastic, and the rod is good for around 12,000 strikes.

Plus, the striker can double as an emergency whistle as well. So, if you are stuck in a tight spot, you can always use your fire starter to call out for help.

5. Swiss Safe 5-in-1 Fire Starter Survival Pack

This Swiss Safe survival package includes a whole host of useful items, including two Ferro rods.

Each Ferro rod acts as a multi-tool with a whistle and a compass on top of being a fire-starting tool.

One of the best parts about this item is its money-back guarantee.

So if you’re not satisfied with your Fire Starter Survival Pack, return it for a full refund.

6. Bayite Survival Ferrocerium Drilled Flint Fire Starter Ferro Rod Kit

This option is very basic, but it’s a proven, highly durable, highly rated Ferro rod.

The rod itself is connected to the striker by a braided length of paracord.

This comes out to 9 ft worth of cordage.

Paracord you can unravel and use for hundreds of survival purposes. Making this a great option for your survival kits.

7. HOODDEAL 10PCS  Pure Magnesium Ferrocerium Fire Starter

If you end up using your Ferro rod thousands of times, eventually, you’ll wear it down to a nub of its former self. That’s when it’s time to invest in a new rod.

Luckily, you do not have to buy a new Ferro rod setup every time you wear one out.

You can buy these replacement rods and use them to refresh your trusty Ferro rod setup time and again.

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How To Make A Ferro Rod Multi-Tool

I have good news for those creative souls out there who want to take Ferro rods into their own hands.

Homemade Ferro rods can often function better than those commercially available.

Because you can add whatever you want to it:

  • Add a compass to your setup. Sure.
  • Stick a little ruler on it? You bet.
  • Add a bundle of fishing supplies. Why not!
  • Attach it to a knife or a walking staff? Cool.
  • Tie on a container full of cotton tinder? Smart.
  • Attach a flashlight, a signal mirror, a small folding knife, or whatever else you might think of. Hell yes!

Making your own Ferro rod setup allows you to customize and personalize your survival gear.

First, buy yourself a plain Ferro rod (like those in the HOODDEAL Ferrocerium Rod pack). Then make your own Ferro rod handle.

Then braid a length of paracord to use to attach the striker to the rod.

Finally, attach the striker and other tools you want, seal it off, and pack it away with the rest of your survival gear.

They also make great gifts for friends and family.

Few things say “I love you” like a tool that can help someone survive a shit storm!

Final Thoughts

A fire has not always been such an accessible resource to come by.

Ferro rods offer survivalists a confident way to start a fire. They generate sparks hot enough to melt steel.

They are good for tens of thousands of strikes. And they’re lightweight and packable, and some of them act as multi-tools.

So keep one in your bug-out bag, with your camping gear and survival gear to boost your survival chances.

Granting you the ability to start a fire wherever, whenever, no matter if it is soaking wet and miserable out.

Plus, it has near-mystical power. Our ancestors would have been utterly blown away by the ability to conjure flames with a rod.

Ferro rods are just freaking useful. And once you start using one, you won’t understand how you ever felt confident without one.

Will Brendza

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