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).
How to Use A Ferro Rod
It’s important to use the proper technique when starting a fire with a ferro rod:
- Hold the ferro rod close to the tinder at about a 45-degree angle.
- Place the scraper near the top of the rod (so it makes solid contact with the rod).
- 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!
11 Best Ferro Rods
Here are the 10 best ferro rods that have been battle-tested, reviewed and highly-rated by thousands of outdoor enthusiasts and survivalists alike (I may earn a referral commission on qualified purchases).
1. überleben Zünden Ferro Rod Fire Starter
When things go wrong in the outdoors, your best chances of making it out are the survival tools. This is precisely why you can count on überleben firecraft to get you out of the trouble quickly, and überleben Zünden Ferro Rod Fire Starter is no exception.
Inspired by tradition, this fire rod can generate an amazing 5,500-degree spark in any weather condition. It means you can easily light up tinder, kindling and other fire-starting materials with ease. Unlike some of the other products in the market, it does not require repeated scraping because the trademark Sanft-Korr ferrocerium produces a shower of sparks with a single strike.
The Ferro Rod itself is more than 2.75 inches long. Depending on individual requirements, there are three different thickness levels that correspond to the number of strikes each level can generate over a lifetime.
Trad 5/16 is the basic level and is expected to last for nearly 12,000 strikes. For long-lasting results, you can also choose Pro or the Fatty version that can provide 15,000 and 20,000 strikes, respectively.
Each of these sticks comes with a handcrafted wooden handle that is designed for natural grip. The grip makes it easier to use the Ferro rod with either hand. In fact, the seasoned finish offers a very strong grip for oily, greased or bare hands even in the coldest weather.
The überleben Zünden Ferro Rod Fire Starter is a very popular choice among survivalists, preppers and outdoor adventurers looking for a ferro rod with the perfect balance of softness and durability. It consistently outperforms the other leading fire starters by quickly and easily throwing off a shower of white-hot fire-starting sparks, even in most demanding weather conditions.
Click here for the best available price for the überleben Zünden Ferro Rod Fire Starter on Amazon.
2. Fire-Fast Trekker Ferro Rod + Magnesium Fire Starter
The Fire-Fast Trekker Fire Starter is a combination Ferro Rod and Military Grade Magnesium Rod of massive proportions that’s designed to provide you with years of hassle-free fire starting. It’s the perfect fire-starting tool for hiking, hunting, backpacking, bushcraft, camping and survival.
The Ferro Rod is made in Austria and combines over a century of old-world craftsmanship with high tech know-how. It’s designed to produce a massive shower of white-hot sparks and thousands of one-strike fire starts.
The built-in Military Grade Magnesium Fire Starter can be shaved off and used as a source of waterproof tinder that bursts into intensely hot flames when ignited by the Ferro Rod.
The Fire-Fast Trekker has a hardwood handle that provides for the surest of grips, even under the most extreme weather conditions including freezing cold temperatures, snow flurries and even pouring rain. An added bonus is that the hardwood handle can be shaved-off and used for tinder in an emergency situation.
The included striker/scraper is made from hardened steel and is sharp enough to create a shower of sparks to light your fire with ease, but not sharp enough to cut your hand.
The paracord strap has a tensile strength rating of 550lbs and is made in the United States by a certified U.S. government contractor, so it shouldn’t rot or break even under the most adverse conditions.
The Fire-First Trekker hardwood handle and the striker/scraper both come with pre-dilled holes that allow them to be attached to the paracord strap, so you’ll never have to worry about losing one the most important pieces of your fire-starting kit (try that with those chintzy little steel-ball straps that other lower-quality fire starter tools come with).
The Fire-Fast Trekker Ferro Rod is durable, reliable, waterproof, and designed to light thousands of fires, even when wet. It’s one of the toughest fire-starting tools around, and it’s built to stand-up to years of use and abuse.
Click here for the best price for the Fire-Fast Trekker Ferro Rod on Amazon.
3. Arcadia Gear Fat Boy 3/4″ x 6″ Large Diameter Ferro Rod
This super-sized Ferro rod is designed for long-lasting use in extremely rugged conditions. Dubbed as “Fat Boy”, the rod is twice as thick as other large-size fire sticks. The added thickness offers improved performance for up to 35,000 strikes.
Arcadia brand distinguishes itself for offering the highest-quality products, which is reflected in the high magnesium content of the Rod that enables it to keep ablaze in wet conditions. To ensure smooth operations, manufacturers have also added a high-quality suregrip wooden handle. This wooden grip is critical for wet conditions when it often becomes impossible to grip the stick with bare hands.
For added security, the exposed part of the rod is nearly 5.75-inch. Such exposure definitely comes handy when you’re lightening up in dark conditions. It is also super helpful for amateurs and first-timers to learn the art of firecraft.
As a long-term survival tool, the “Fat Boy” is designed to last a lifetime. The quality of this Ferro stick is guaranteed by Arcadia, which means you can return it if you don’t like it – no questions asked.
Search for the best price for the Arcadia Gear Fat Boy.
4. Schrade SCHFS1 4 in 1 Ferro Rod Fire Striker
The Schrade SCHFS1 ferro rod is a no-frills product and an extremely affordable price.
The ferro rod itself is relatively short and thin, so you need to be extra careful about making a solid contact and using a smooth stroke with the included metal striker.
However, it has an easy-grip handle, a steel striker, and a handy lanyard that holds them altogether. Plus, it’s extremely lightweight at 1.1 ounces with a space saving of 4 inch length, so it’s perfect for anyone looking for an extremely compact and portable fire-starting tool.
Not to mention, it’s also one of the least expensive all-in-one ferro rod fire-starters you’ll find.
Check out the best prices for the Schrade SCHFS1 on Amazon.
5. The Friendly Swede Ferro Rod Fire Starter 2-Pack
The Friendly Swede Ferro Rod fire starter is an extremely durable fire starter that works under the most extreme weather conditions, including torrential downpours and blinding snow storms.
The rust-free ferroceriums rod are durable, lightweight and are designed to last for thousands of fire-starting strikes.
This Friendly Swede Ferro Rod Fire Starter kit includes 2 5-inch ferro rods with easy-grip handles, 2 2 ½ inch steel striker and 2 steel ball chains.
Click here for the best prices on Amazon for The Friendly Swede Ferro Rod Fire Starter 2 pack.
6. EricX Light Ferro Rod
Fire sticks don’t come any better than EricX Light Ferro Rod as this rod includes all the classic elements of style, durability, and function associated with exceptional products. The original pack comes with 2 ferrocerium rods that are each 6-inches in length and almost ½ inch thick.
The Ericx ferro rod is weather resistant and water-proof making it suitable for the most extreme outdoor environments. For improved results, it is highly recommended that you scrape the protective coating off the outer surface of the rod before using.
Each stick comes with a lanyard hole that can be used to create your own survival kit. For outdoors, the super-size stick will fit in a pocket-sized bag. Survival instructors find the length convenient for teaching fire skills to amateurs as new learners like the added space to scrub the striker.
The original pack does not come with a striker, but these sticks are made to be used with a variety of striking materials. It can be scraped with a knife, saw blade or a scissor. Some users have reported that the high-quality ferrocerium works with natural strikers such as glass and sea shells.
Due to the durability of the material, it’s not uncommon for experts to build wooden handles on the stick when required. Overall, it’s an exceptional product considering that the company offers these rods at unbeatable factory rates on Amazon.
Click here for the lowest prices on Amazon for the EricX Light Ferrocerium Rod
7. Bayite 1/2 x 6 Inch Survival Drilled Flint Steel Fire Starter
If you ever dreamed of a perfect fire starter kit, then bayite Survival Flint Steel Fire Starter is as close to perfection as it can get. This all-in-one solution consists of a long rod, a striker, and a high-quality paracord, which works in all weather conditions.
The six-inch-long rod offers a lot of extra lengths to use, which allows survival guides and drill instructors to train their students, safely. The rod produces huge sparks on scrapping the underlying silver metal. The build-up of energy during the process is almost 5,500 degrees Fahrenheit.
If used appropriately, a single rod is capable of lasting nearly 12,000 strikes. You can easily use any sharp object as a scrapper; however, low-quality knives are unable to produce the high-amount of heat energy that this rod is able to generate. For maximum performance, scrap the black coating to reveal a shiny layer underneath before use.
This kit also comes with 6 striking edges striker-pro, which is an industry leading striker that can easily get the job done even when used by an amateur. The multi-edged TOOL GRADE HSS STEEL can be used with either the left or the right hand. In addition, you also get a complimentary 9-feet of paracord included in the kit ensuring that you don’t lose it during emergency situations. Overall, it is among the best survival kits that you can own for an extremely low price.
Click here for the best prices available for the Bayite 1/2 x 6 Inch Flint Steel Fire Starter.
8. Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel
If you’re tired of using the typical fire stick, try the military-grade fire starter that is also used by the Swedish Department of Defense. Developed by survival expert, Lars Falt, it uses the hardened aluminum alloy for maximum durability and results. Instead of using ferrocerium, the alloy provides consistency at higher altitudes, freezing temperatures, and wet conditions.
Since its development, the Ferro rod has stood the test of time by offering a reliable solution to survival professionals around the world. Weighing only 50 grams, it can also be easily used to light up barbeque grill and stoves. It is an ideal companion for camping, hiking, and outdoors.
Just like the Ferro rod, the striker is also built from high-end precision-ground stainless-steel material. Designed for maximum effectiveness, the striker can easily generate sparks of up to 3000 Celsius, with a single swipe. The rod and the starter are tied to a built-in emergency whistle offering a comprehensive survival kit.
The entire kit has been tested in the harshest of conditions, which is a testament to its design and durability. It is an essential tool for mountain survival where low temperatures can make it difficult to ignite a fire using traditional fire sticks. Your Ferro rod will not be affected by dampness and low oxygen when you need it the most. In fact, its bright sparks can be used as rescue signals, if required.
Click here for the lowest prices for the Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel.
9. 4DB 1/2″x5″ Ferrocerium Rod Firestarter
This is a soft Ferro rod that can theoretically last 400,000 strikes due to its hard cerium and soft metal core. Scrubbing a sharp object on ferrocerium will yield multiple hot burning globes that are visible from a large distance. In fact, its unique quality to produce fire globes makes it a great source of emergency signals.
Another distinguishing feature of Rod Firestarter is a 34 cm long snake braid that also doubles as tinder, whenever you need it. There are eight inner strains of jute twine tinder on paracord. Offering all-in-one solution, you can easily start a fire anywhere using the fire stick and tinder without searching for a source.
For hiking enthusiasts, the kit comes with a 4DB camouflage carabiner. It is not rated for climbing, but you can also use it to easily clip to handbag, emergency kit, or hiking gear. For young scouts, Rod Firestarter is purposefully built to be soft. The extended length and softness of the stick ensures that it can be used by small children under the supervision of adults.
While similar fire sticks can be expensive, this 4DB 1/2″x5″ Ferrocerium Rod Firestarter is significantly more affordable. It will work with any kind of striker that has a 90-degree edge. You can either buy a stand-along striker in stores such as Amazon or use household objects including glass, knife or sharp metal.
10. Exotac fireROD Ferrocerium Fire Starter
The Exotac fireROD stick is an “Amazon’s Choice” for a reason. It is one of the few sticks that have a custom handle (there are 4 custom colors to choose from), which can be used to replace the ferrocerium rod whenever your old stick gets out-dated. The replacement rod can be ordered on Amazon or directly from the manufacturer.
The Exotac fireROD has over 4 inches of exposed material that can be easily scraped using a striker. When needed, just use the spine of a knife at 90-degree angle to easily ignite a fire. A single stick will last over 5000 strikes under normal conditions. It can produce intense sparks in adverse weather conditions including torrential rain.
You can use this ferrocerium rod for every imaginable activity including hiking, survival training, and Bushcraft . Designed to carry with a knife, the waterproof storage capsule on top of the handle can store a variety of tinder. The storage is also used to carry water purification tablets and other useful emergency accessories.
Put it in a Ferro rod loop that often comes with survival knife sheath. When needed, just use the spine of a knife at 90-degree angle to easily ignite a fire. A single stick will last over 5000 strikes under normal conditions. It can produce intense sparks in adverse weather conditions including torrential rain.
Overall, the Exotac fireROD is a versatile fire stick that has one of the most unique designs of any Ferro rods in the market.
Click here for the lowest prices available on Amazon for the Exotac fireROD Ferrocerium Fire Starter
11. Everstryke Match
The Everstryke Match is a combination waterproof permanent match and Ferro Rod.
You can use the Everstryke Perma-match just like a traditional permanent match because it uses ligher fluid and a wick.
Or, you can use the built-in Ferro Rod and striker to produce a shower of white-hot fire-starting sparks without lighter fluid. It’s your choice.
Here’s the best part… You can get the Everstryke Match for Free… Good while supplies last!
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, cold or hungry and you don’t have a waterproof survival lighter handy like the Life Strike Lighter.
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.
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 fire starter 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.
Check out our comprehensive Magnesium Fire Starter FAQ for more info.
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…