Exotac Fire-Starting Gear For When You Must Have Fire
I have Exotac fire-starting gear in every outdoor kit. Look at the contents of my pocket kits, fanny packs, day packs, backpacks, duffle bags, bugout bags, camping bins. You’ll find American-made Exotac products in all of them.
I mentioned it in my first installment on fire-starting gear, but I’ll say it again. I won’t be without more than one way to make fire if there’s even the slightest chance I might have to spend a night in the woods. It’s that important.
After using, abusing and tossing other products aside, I’ve settled on several Exotac fire-makers that I’ve determined to be absolutely dependable and durable. Let’s look at some of them.
Exotac Gear Includes Several Ferro Rods
Ferrocerium rods, ferro rods for short, create sparks to light tinder when you scrape a metal striker or back of a knife blade against them. They have several advantages. They don’t mind getting wet. You can start hundreds, possibly thousands of fires with a single ferro rod. That’s assuming you don’t scrape away the entire rod trying to light inferior tinder. For their size and weight, they can start more fires than anything else out there.
Exotac’s lineup of fire-starting gear includes several ferro rods, namely the NanoSTRIKER XL, FireROD, PolySTRIKER and PolySTRIKER XL.
I’ve used the NanoSTRIKER XL the most. It’s small enough to fit in a pocket-sized survival kit. It’s completely enclosed: the ferro rod and striker screw in to a protective aluminum tube cover.
You can screw that protective cover to the opposite end during use to extend the tool’s length so that it’s easier to hold. It’s 3.65 inches long and weighs less than an ounce. The ferro rod itself is ¼-inch in diameter and its replaceable.
Exotac recently updated its FireROD. This beefy ferro rod is 5/16-inch in diameter and is 3.1 inches long. That rod element is replaceable. Overall, it’s 4.7 inches long and weighs 1.2 ounces.
A nice feature is the waterproof storage compartment in the handle that can hold one piece of the company’s QuickLIGHT tinder. Two QuickLIGHT treated cotton tinder pieces are included.
A Fire Cord lanyard with an inner layer of tinder material is included too. The suggested price is $29.95.
The PolySTRIKER and larger PolySTRIKER XL each features a polymer handles with a place to snap in and store the sharp tungsten carbide striker. They sell for a suggested $13.95 and $19.95, respectively.
NanoSPARK Lights Fires With A Quick Flick
I love my Exotac NanoSPARK. It’s a flint sparker with metal striking wheel that sits atop a textured aluminum housing. That housing features a waterproof compartment for tinder, such as Exotac’s QuickLIGHT (holds 1, but 5 are included) and extra flints. This is another small, but dependable fire-starter at just 2.7 inches long. I include one in most of my pocket kits. One nice thing about it is that it can be operated easily with one hand.
I usually keep the tinder in the waterproof compartment for emergency use and prefer to use tinder that I find along my journey.
I’ve carefully separated layers of birch bark into super-thin sheets, which I’ve lit easily with the NanoSPARK.
Because it really throws the sparks, I use one of these regularly to light my homemade alcohol stoves too. The flint is replaceable. The MSRP is $26.95.
TitanLIGHT Is A Lighter On Steroids
The downside of conventional lighters is that the fluid evaporates before too long. Not so with the TitanLIGHT. This piece of Exotac fire-starting gear uses readily available lighter fluid. But this fluid is contained in an O-ring-sealed waterproof compartment. It might evaporate eventually if you keep removing the screw-on cap that protects the flint and striker wheel from getting wet. But I have an on-going experiment with one where the fluid still has not evaporated after sitting for more than a year so far. The flint and wick are replaceable. This is an expensive lighter at a suggested $49.95, but it’s a beast of a fire-starter.
I Use Other Exotac Products Too
Exotac has more products related to fire-starting that I use regularly on my outdoor adventures. For instance, there’s the FireSLEEVE, a waterproof soft plastic housing for a large Bic disposable lighter. This protects the flint and wheel from getting wet. And the sleeve has a stretchable portion at the top that you can loop over the lighter’s gas valve lever, so that you can use the lighter momentarily without having to hold your thumb over the lever. The sleeve has attachment points for lanyards too.
If you want to stick with matches, Exotac has its MatchCAP and MatchCAP XL: sturdy aluminum containers that are sized to hold the reliable UCO Stormproof Matches. These match containers have a water-resistant striker pad on the bottom as well as inside where it’s protected by the screw-on cap with O-ring. Replacement strike pads are available.
To keep your fire going, Exotac also offers tins of tinder and others with candles. Their CandleTin 3-pack features three small tins with beeswax candles that each burn for four hours. The tins are reusable.
Steven Paul Barlow is a retired sergeant/station commander and former firearms instructor with the New York State Police. He is an avid hunter, fisherman, and enthusiast with all things related to firearms, knives, and survival. He has been writing on outdoor topics for more than 35 years. His collections of outdoor humor stories are available at www.BriarHillBooks.com.