The means to reliably start a fire is one of the key elements to any survival kit. A fire will keep you warm, cook your food, purify your water through boiling, and it is one hell of a morale boost if you’re finding yourself having to spend the night outdoors unexpectedly.
There are many tools available for lighting fires, of course. Matches and butane lighters both probably top the list for many of us. But, lighters can run out of fuel or leak and matches could get wet, rendering them almost worthless. Remember Ragnar Benson’s Rule of Threes — strive to have at least three different ways to accomplish a goal.
A ferro rod will send a stream of sparks into your tinder, lighting it immediately. It is small and weighs next to nothing, yet it will be priceless when lost in the field. It will work after being wet and you’ll be at it for decades before it will run out of “fuel.”
Sure, I carry matches and lighters in my various survival kits. But I also have several of these ferro rods as backups.