Exotac – Polystriker XL

When man makes fire it’s a glorious, primeval feeling. Springing life from something inert which is so bright, so tantalising… we’re a little obsessed with making fire at GearWeAre. And frankly, the more dangerous the experience of making the fire, the more we love it. So thanks to US company Exotac for making such a gloriously simple looking stick of plastic and metal which fires off (hah!) an amazing cascade of sparks from its body.

Weighing in at a stated 40g, it feels like holding an expensive pen. It’s made from a solid ABS plastic (same as your TV) and with its slightly textured finished it feels solid and dependable. It’s been moulded with slightly raised detailing on the sides and a curved lip which both help you keep a firm grip on things when it’s cold and wet and your hands would otherwise slip.

The steel/stick is a ferrocerium which when struck with the tungsten carbide striker creates a fountain of sparks which is disproportionate to the size of the stick. It’s very impressive indeed, and whilst I don’t claim to be any kind of expert in these things I’m led to believe that it is, in fact, the design of the striker, a sort of sharpened I-beam design, which does all the hard work.

The striker itself is set into the black part of the Polystriker, which in turn is set into the handle to keep it safe, stop you cutting things with it, and reduce the risk of accidental strikes.

The two parts are connected by the integral lanyard, so it’d be hard to lose the striker unless the end-toggle came off accidentally. And it’s easy enough to separate the two parts when you need to start that fire.

The Polystriker XL works when it’s wet, which is good because I suspect that survivalists are most happy when it’s belting down with rain.

The XL is the big brother to the bog-standard Polystriker, and measures in at 13.5cm long. I’ve just read this on the packaging which made me smile:
“It is superior because it doesn’t produce a spark; it creates molten globulars that burn at over 5500F”

I have NO idea what molten globulars are, but they sound awesome and dangerous and I want to send showers of them all over flammable woodstuffs to see what happens. I may come over all manly and whittle a spiky stick, open beers with my teeth and eat vastly undercooked meatstuffs whilst I marvel at my molten globulars.

SUMMARY: It’s a fire striker which feels great in your hand, is lightweight and kicks out a heck of a shower of sparks. At £15 it’s at the more expensive end of fire steels, but its output is impressive and it should last a long, long time.

 Price: £15
 More: www.wilderness121.co.uk