A long while ago we reviewed a couple of brilliant, dangerous and tantalising products from the US called Wetfire and Blastmatch. Well, Lifesystems have gotten hold of the baby brother to the Blastmatch and paired it up in a little package with a chunk of Wetfire. The result is truly finger burning (well, you try firing this and taking photos at the same time) and impressively easy to use.
The Fire Starter, which is a rebadged Ultimate Survival Technologies Sparkie, is extremely lightweight and small enough to fit inside a matchbox, should you wish to observe such an anachronism. It uses a striker which is deployed using a single thumb squeeze, and in combination with a downward thrust a crescendo of hot sparks falls out hopefully on to your tinder.
The spark bar is just over an inch long and the packaging suggests that you’d get 5000 strikes from it. I don’t have evidence to the contrary, but my sample has visibly worn away after a handful of strikes, so I’m not convinced that 5000 is a real-world figure. However, having said that, the amount of sparks and the length of time they burn for (especially when stuck to your finger) is impressive for its size.
The Wetfire tinder is a previous top-mark winner from GearWeAre. It’s simply astonishing at catching light and continuing to burn even in rain or on water. It doesn’t smell or leach fluid and if you are able to extinguish it, can be reused until it’s all gone.
The Lifesystems pack contains one lump of Wetfire and the Sparkie, which together weigh little little more than a couple of keys. They’re ideal for popping in to a pack, and can be safely carried because the spark stick retracts and locks in to the body of the Sparkie until it’s ready to be used.
The only drawback to using the Sparkie over a traditional spark stick is the same as with the Blastmatch – you need to push it down on to something, and that’s not always going to be possible where hard ground isn’t available.
SUMMARY: The combination of awesome Wetfire and handy little one-handed fire starter is a winner and very, very easy to start a fire with. It’s like ‘My First Firestarter’. The only drawback is difficulty in using the Fire Starter on soft ground since it needs to be pushed into the ground to ignite.