Trail Walker thanks Jeff Senterman, senior program coordinator for the Trail Conference, for this review of a small fire starter that hikers and campers may find useful.
Looking for a lightweight, easy to pack and easy to use way to make sure you are always ready to start your campfire? If so, FireStarters from Grate Chef might be what you are looking for. These small, sealed packets make quick work of starting a fire in just about any condition.
Having a handy way to start a fire can be very useful for an emergency or after a long hike in the rain when you do not want to be fighting the elements. The individual FireStarters packets are small, about two and half inches square and only weigh a few ounces. They are thin and easy to pack into the emergency kit that I keep in my backpack.
To use the packet, simply place it where you are going to start your fire and light the package with a match or a lighter. The non-toxic contents ignite as the packaging burns. The fire starter burns steadily for about eight to ten minutes, which is more than enough time to get a fire going in just about any condition.
The FireStarters were designed to be used to start charcoal fires for grilling and they do also work quite well there. You can start your charcoal fire without the smell and taste on your grilled food that lighter fluid will sometimes leave.
I have used the FireStarters on several different occasions and even though I am fairly adept at starting a campfire with just a match or two, I have to admit that these little packets make fire starting a lot faster and saves on some of the prep time getting ready. I now carry them with me in the emergency kit that I keep in my backpack. I probably would not use them to always start fires, but having a foolproof fire starter so small and so lightweight with me is something that deserves a place in my emergency kit.