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how to use a ferro rod

How to Use a Ferro Rod (The Right Way) To Start A Fire

Learning how to use a Ferro rod, also known as a Ferrocerium rod, to start a fire is like learning to use any other survival gear. It’s better to learn the process now than wait until you actually need it to save your bacon (or cook it).

What Is A Ferro Rod?

A Ferro Rod (Ferrocerium Rod) is a fire starter tool used by campers, survivalists and other outdoor enthusiasts to quickly start a fire. A Ferro rod looks like a small steel rod, which is probably why some people refer to them as “fire steel”. Ferrocerium is a man-made metallic alloy that produces sparks of 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit (or hotter) when scraped with a rough edge like a rock, or a sharp edge like a knife. Ferro rods work without lighter fluid, and can start a fire even when wet.

What Is A Ferro Rod Made Of?

Ferro rods are made of ferrocerium, a man-made alloy and are basically waterproof matches. The formula varies, but usually includes iron, cerium and magnesium.

The combination creates sparks when the ferrocerium rod (firesteel) is scraped with a rough surface or a sharp edge. And it works under cold, wet, windy conditions that would defeat matches or a lighter.

Some Ferro rods come with strikers. Almost any sharp-edged item will do, even a rock. But you’ll get the most consistent sparks from a hard steel object, like the spine of a knife blade.

(Because Ferro rods contain iron, they’re often coated to prevent oxidation. You’ll need to scrape away the coating to expose shiny metal before first use.)

The process of starting a ferro rod fire is like using flint and steel, but with an important difference. Flint and steel produce a spark of about 800 degrees F.

Better quality Ferro rods can produce a spark of 3000 degrees or hotter. That’s roughly 30% hotter than a blast furnace and almost 70% hotter than the hottest molten lava.

A Ferro Rod Expands Your Options

That extra heat can make a big difference when you’re lost or cold and hungry.

When you know how to use a Ferro rod, you gain a wider range of potential tinder, because the rod will ignite material you can’t light with other tools. And the Ferro rod will be more forgiving of bad luck or inexperience, which make them a perfect for everyday carry survival kits.

When you’re ready to build your ferro rod fire, start by clearing enough protected surface area to contain the fire.

Then gather material, starting with tinder to catch the first sparks. This can be anything that will ignite quickly. If you’re collecting on the spot, consider pine needles, plant fibers, bird nests, hair, shredded strips of duct tape, even fine strands of steel wool. In this video I show you how the Everstryke Match with the built in ferro rod is a great cotton ball fire starter with just a little vaseline and a single spark.

Commercial products are also available, from resin-rich fatwood to manufactured firestarters made of compressed sawdust and paraffin. You can also make your own from materials around the house like dryer lint or cotton balls soaked in Vaseline.

Whatever your tinder and kindling, you should also collect pieces of wood of various sizes from fairly fine, dry twigs to larger pieces that will burn longer. You’ll add these to the fire gradually as it becomes more stable.

How to Use A Ferro Rod

It’s important to use the proper technique when starting a fire with a ferro rod:

  1. Hold the ferro rod close to the tinder at about a 45-degree angle.
  2. Place the scraper near the top of the rod (so it makes solid contact with the rod).
  3. Pull the rod back (away from the tinder) with a slow and steady motion.

Tip: Many people will hold the ferro rod next to the tinder and rub the scraper toward the tinder. By pulling the rod back (instead of rubbing the scraper forward) you’ll create a spark at the same place. But you’ll do it without risking bumping the scraper into your pile of tinder and scattering it all over the place.

Learning how to master the use of a ferro rod as a survival fire starter technique is a survival skill that can save your life in an emergency situation, even if your matches are wet… or your lighter runs out of fluid… which is why a ferro rod is a must-have survival tool!

What is a magnesium rod used for?

Magnesium rods are best used for starting a fire when the material to be lit is damp or wet. Scraping shavings from these soft metal rods and then applying a spark or a flame will create a fire that burns at more than 4000 degrees Fahrenheit. Magnesium rods have a natural resistance to water making them a perfect fire lighting source for all types of environments.

How are Ferro Rods Made?

A Ferro rod looks like a small steel rod that is made from Ferrocerium, which is a man-made metallic alloy that produces sparks in excess of 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit when it’s scraped with a rough edge like a rock, or a sharp edge like a knife.

The exact chemical composition of a ferro rod varies from one manufacturer to the next, but a typical rod consists of 50% cerium, 25% lanthanum and 19% iron. There are also trace amounts of praseodymium, neodymium, and magnesium. These rods are a great choice for outdoor lighting due to the fact that withstand a variety of outdoor conditions, including wind and rain.

How Long Does a Ferro Rod Last?

The length of time a ferro rod will last depends on the size of the rod, the quality of the composition and the usage of the rod. A larger rod will generally last much longer than a smaller rod.

A larger rod with a quality composition (at least 20.8% iron and 41.% cerium) and very little usage will typically last much longer than a rod of the same size with poor composition or high-quality composition and high usage.

When choosing a brand one must think about what it will be used for and the durability needed for the job needing to be accomplished. An individual who camps out periodically may not need a high quality or a larger rod because their usage would be low, leading to the rod lasting longer. In contrast, an outdoor enthusiast who frequently needs to start fires will want to opt for a larger, higher quality rod (at least 20.8% iron and 53% cerium) to meet the demands that frequent usage of the rod will bring.

Rods hardened with iron oxide and magnesium oxide tend to create hotter sparks and higher temperature outputs in regards to the fire produced.

Lower quality rods can be identified not only by its lack of iron and cerium but also it’s texture.

High-quality rods tend to be hard in texture making it easy to produce a spark when struck against a rough surface, while low-quality rods are soft and require more strikes to achieve the spark necessary to start a burn.

What’s the Difference Between Ferrocerium and Magnesium?

The primary difference between ferrocerium and magnesium is that ferrocerium is an actual fire starter while magnesium is not.

Ferrocerium is a synthetic material consisting of various elements (typically 50% cerium, 25% lanthanum and 19% iron) that create sparks when scraped across rough surfaces, whereas magnesium ignites when sparks connect with it and create a long-lasting, extremely hot flame.

Another difference between the two is their temperature outputs. While ferrocerium creates sparks that can exceed 3000 degrees Fahrenheit, the flame created by magnesium produces heat that can reach temperatures over 4000 degrees Fahrenheit.

The two can be used together to create a long lasting fire with intense heat output.

Why Does Metal Spark When Struck?

Steel typically has high carbon content and a bit of iron and when the flint is struck by the steel, friction from the collision of both stones shaves off a very thin, very hot, layer of the flint causing it to ignite and cause a spark.

Free Ferro Rod

 The original Everstryke Perma-Match has a built-in Ferro Rod and striker, and it’s free

Free Everstryke Match Get Yours Now!  or Free Everstryke Pro Grab Yours Right Now, while you still can. Good while supplies last.

fire starter kit

Fire Starter Kit – The Ultimate Survival Checklist For Starting A Fire

Whether you are just getting started in the world of survival gear or you are a long-time expert, you should do a quick review of your fire starter kit. Are you sure that you have all the gear that you need?

In this article, we’ll give you a run down of what every survival fire starter kit should include to make sure that you are ready for anything.

Putting Together Your Fire Starter Kit

You should always keep in mind the specific conditions that you are likely to encounter on your trip when you are putting together your fire starter kit.

Will you be likely to encounter wet and windy weather conditions? Do you expect to be able to find fuel easily, or are you going to an area where wood might be a problem?

A smart survivalist always plans for the worst in whatever conditions they can expect. So, the fire starter kit that we are describing here might not have everything you need, depending on where you are going.

However, these are the basics that you will need, no matter where you are.

A High-Quality Survival Lighter

This is probably the most important thing that your fire starter kit can have.

A good survival lighter should be designed to work in even the most sever conditions. They should be waterproof, meaning they will still work perfectly even after being submerged completely in water… which is exactly what the FREE Life strike lighter can do.

It should also be extremely durable. You don’t want to be without a source of flame just because you dropped your lighter onto some rocks.

The EverStryke Match, for example, can survive being run over by a truck.

A Ferro Rod Fire Starter

A Ferro rod is basically a rod made out of a metal called ferrocerium. When you strike ferrocerium with steel, it creates extremely hot sparks. They can be up to 5,430 °F.

At temperatures like these, you can start fires easily, as long as you have dry tinder.

A Ferro rod is a great backup to have in case anything happens to your survival lighter. They are durable and can be used for years.

Waterproof Matches

As another backup to your survival lighter and Ferro rod, it’s a good idea to carry a small pack of waterproof matches.

These matches will work even if they have been soaked in water, meaning you can start a fire even in the rain.

Vaseline Coated Cotton Balls

Keep a sandwich bag of vaseline coated cotton balls in your fire starter kit. These make for great tinder, as they catch fire easily and continue to burn for a while.

They can help you get a fire going even in poor conditions.

Here’s a video I made for you that shows how a cotton ball fire starter with vaseline starts a fire with a single strike from the everstryke match and its built in ferro rod.

Tea Light

A tea light candle is a great way to have consistent flame when you are trying to light wet wood or kindling.

Firestarter Stick

Just like the cotton balls, fire starter sticks burn for a while, giving your kindling enough time to catch, even if weather or wood conditions are wet.

Firestarter sticks are lightweight and easy to store. They are a no-brainer for any fire starter kit.


Starting A Fire Without Matches

The ultimate survival tool for starting a fire is learning how to start a fire without matches. So, here are 8 proven ways to start a fire without matches.

Wrapping Up

These are the must-haves that any fire starter kit should include. Of course, you could easily add more fire starting tools to bulk up your kit, especially to suit the conditions that you will be in.

Happy camping!

how to start a fire in the woods

How to Start A Fire in the Woods For Any Survival Situation

Every survivalist needs to know how to start a fire in the woods. If you’re a little rusty or just never got around to mastering this particular skill, this is the guide for you.

We’ll cover what you’ll need to get a fire going, how to construct a fire, and the mysterious Rule of Three.

1. Gather your things

The first thing you need to do when you’re learning how to start a fire in the woods is gathering your ingredients. Just like a recipe, it pays to be prepared when you’re starting a fire in the woods, so get everything you’re going to need.

How to start a fire in the woods supply list

  • Tinder: No, not the app. You’ll need tinder for the initial flames to get things going. Typically, fire-starting tinder is small, dry, extremely flammable materials like pine needles, dry grass, or bark. Really, anything small, dead, and dry that will catch quickly. However, you can also use vaseline or petroleum jelly soaked cotton ball fire starters like the one I demonstrate in this video. Regardless of the type of tinder you choose, it will provide the initial fuel that will create enough heat to light the bigger pieces on fire.
  • Kindling: The next tier up from tinder. If you’ve spent anytime car camping, you’ll have seen this for sale in orange bags as a tidy bundle of smallish sticks. But when you’re out in the woods, your kindling will simply be larger pieces of your tinder. Bigger bits of bark, larger twigs, and small pieces of wood will all work. Like your tinder, kindling works best when it’s small and dry.
  • Logs: this is the final tier of fuel. You’ll need bigger logs that will catch and provide a sustained fire. The best wood is old, dry, dead hardwood that will catch quickly and burn hot for a long time. But when you’re in the woods and you’re cold, any old log will do (especially if you have infinite matches!)

2. Build your fire

Equally important to putting the right stuff in when you’re wondering how to start a fire in the woods is to get your construction right. You want to build it so that there’s plenty of airflow (since oxygen is essential to a fire) in and around your logs, but in such a way that your tinder rests on your kindling and your kindling on your logs.

The general idea is to build your structure before you start lighting it so that you don’t use your precious kindling and tinder up too quickly.

As a general rule, for the most success rely on the Rules of Three. Basically, if you want to burn a three-inch stick, you need three one in sticks burning first. That ratio holds true for everything in your fire.

The rule of three has a second part as well which can help your when you’re first learning how to start a fire in the woods – namely, the first getting going… and then promptly going out.

The second part of the Rule of Three is that to have a sustainable fire, you must ALWAYS have three sticks burning at a time.

With this rule and its two parts in mind, you can’t go wrong when you’re learning how to start a fire in the woods.

3. Your fire source

Finally, you need a fire source. Waterproof Matches can run out and something like a magnifying glass requires the sun (a problem if it’s cloudy – when you need a fire most). That’s why one of the best options is a Ferro Rod – it lasts virtually forever, it’s self-contained, and it’s very low-tech so it’ll never, ever break.

You should also check out our How To Start A Fire Without Matches blog post for 8 proven and reliable ways for starting a fire without matches.

There you have it – the three principals to starting a fire in the woods. Now the next step is to get out there and do it! Just make sure you’re kitted up before you head out there.

Ferro Rod Fire Starter

Even if you run out of lighter fuel for your EverStryke Match, the built in Ferro Rod is a great emergency or survival fire starter.

Check out how easily one strike of the EverStryke Perma-Match Ferro Rod (Ferrocium Rod) starts a fire with these Vaseline soaked cotton balls.

Who needs waterproof matches, or strike anywhere matches in your camping gear when you have the EverStrike Match ferro rod fire starter tool… the best permanent match ferro tool for your bug out bag on the market, and it’s Free!


everstryke match review

EverStryke Match Review Proves It’s The Best Waterproof Match!

Here’s an EverStryke Match Review that proves that even water can’t stop this fire starting tool from lighting under even the most adverse conditions.

I wanted to demonstrate that the EverStryke Match is a handy replacement for waterproof matches in your survival gear “go bag” along with other emergency supplies.

So, I dropped the EverStryke Perma-Match in my backyard fountain, held it under the waterfall and made sure it was completely soaking wet before I pulled it back out.

Then I simply shook it a few times to knock the water off the waterproof match case, just to make sure the ferro rod was dry.

It only took two strikes of the Everstryke Match ferro rod to prove this is one of the best firestarter survival matches out there…. it lights a fire even after it has been dropped in water!

If you’re looking for proven permanent match lighter to toss in with your other outdoor survival gear, emergency survival kit, or in with your camping equipment then check out this keychain ferro rod  called the EverStryke Permanent Matchit’s Free.

Highly Recommended!

Watch this EverStryke Match Review video:

Did I mention…

You can grab your very own Free Everstryke Match – Click Here or Free Everstryke Pro – Click HereGood While Supplies Last!



And just so you know, the Everstryke Match and Everstryke Pro are free but I am an affiliate for Survival Life so if you ever decide to order something from them I may earn a commission. If I’m lucky I may earn enough to buy myself some lighter fluid for my everstryke matches… I own several of them, and I love them!

All they ask is that you pay a very reasonable couple of dollars for S&H. … the EverStryke Match is free, which means it is an absolute bargain!