Traveler's Gear Box: Swedish Fireknife Produces Striking Results

The Swedish FireKnife is a handy tool for backcountry travelers that carries a magnesium stick for starting fires when matches fail you. Kurt Repanshek photos.

Outwardly, it looks like just another sheath knife. But the folks at Light My Fire have come up with a unique tool: A knife that doubles as a fire starter!

Is that necessary, you might wonder.

Well, a knife can be a handy tool in the backcountry, if for nothing else than shaving a slice of cheese or cutting summer sausage. Too, a good, sharp knife can come in handy for whittling away a rainy day or creating a fuzz stick to help start a campfire.

And if you're carrying the Swedish FireKnife (MSRP $39.99) with you, once you've created that fuzz stick you can spark a flame with the company's proprietary "Firesteel" fire starter.

The Firesteel is a stick of magnesium that you strike with the back of the knife's stainless steel blade to produce a 5,400-degree Fahrenheit spark that will ignite your kindling. (It will, of course, also spark your gas stove to life if necessary.)

While it might take a little practice to get the hang of this, once you've got it down this is a pretty good backup to start a backcountry fire if your matches are wet or your lighter has died. (It works wet, too, according to the Light My Fire staff.)

When not in use, the Firesteel slips into the top of the knife; a slight turn locks it into the handle so you won't lose it. The 3-ounce knife, which has a hard rubber handle, comes in a colorful, hard-plastic sheath that you can either clip onto your belt or slip into your pack.

If you already have a knife you're happy with, you might consider the company's Swedish FireSteel, a smaller, lighter (1.6 ounces) fire starter minus the knife that also throws a 5,400-degree spark.

Comments

This is valuable information. In fact, if you're going someplace remote, especially by yourself but even with someone else, a knife is more than just handy. There's an old Nordic proverb that "a knifeless man is a lifeless man," and survival teacher Tony Nester endorses this:

http://www.backpacker.com/survival-only-a-knife/skills/14756

I wonder if REI will be selling these.

I looked at the Light My Fire website but it doesn't seem to reveal where one can buy one of these things.

It's available at many of the usual outlets: Amazon.com, Eastern Mountain Sports, even eBay!

Thanks!

This is a very valuable review. If you're gonna carry a knife in the backcountry—and most/many do—why wouldn't you want it to include the ultimate failsafe survival feature? When I was Austria last year I visited a living history site dedicated to "Otzi," the Iceman claimed by Austria's Oztal area of Tirol—and I got a chance to start a fire the OLD fashioned way. This knife sounds like a great idea and a vast improvement,