• Leon Pantenburg | Survival Common Sense


Video review: We check out the Lightning-Strike mini survival firemaking kit

300 235 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

A good, reliable firestarting product just got better – and smaller.

by Leon Pantenburg

Disclaimer: Lightning-Strike firestarters are a SurvivalCommonSense.com sponsor. Before advertising was accepted, the products were extensively field tested and reviewed. I won’t help someone sell a product I wouldn’t use myself.

I don’t have much use for firemaking gadgets, and no patience whatsoever for survival gear that doesn’t work. So when I field tested one of the Lightning-Strike prototypes when they first came out about two years ago, the product was shown no mercy.

both lightning strikes edited

The original Lightning-Strike, top, and the new, improved Mini are rugged, reliable survival firestarting tools.

I stomped it into a snow bank, cleaned it off and started a piece of firestarter. Then I dunked it in the Deschutes River one cold morning, knocked off the ice and started a fire. I dropped it on a wet, sandy-mud beach and stepped on it. Once the sand was cleaned off it worked fine. I used it to light my gas grill and propane fish cooker. Most recently, I left a Lightning-Strike Mini outside in an all-night rain. The next morning, with the 8 a.m. temperature at 34 degrees, I wiped it off and started a fire.

This is the kind of reliability I demand from my survival gear, and that’s why the Lightning-Strike has gone on several hunts, campouts and hikes with me.

The new, improve incarnation is just like the prototype, only smaller. It weighs in at about six ounces, about two ounces less than the full-sized version, and is 1-1/2 inches shorter. As far a function goes, I can’t tell any difference between the larger and smaller versions.

Using a Lightning-Strike is easy: Just take some firestarter out of the sealed, hollow handle, fluff it up, and place where you plan on lighting the fire. Pin the firestarter with the end of the tube, and scrape the ferro road to ignite the firestarter. (Or you can check out these videos that demonstrate how the Lightning-Strike works.)

Here are the advantages of the Lightning-Strike, according to inventor Darrell Holland:

mini edited

The Lightning-Strike Mini is a more compact version of the original.

  • Completely self-contained: A Lightning-Strike is light,compact and easy to pack. It provides everything you need to start an emergency fire.
  • Waterproof: The Lightning-Strike Tinder is kept in a waterproof container that also serves as the handle.
  • Hotter sparks:  The sparks produced by the ferrocerium rod in the unit are between 4,000 and 5,000 degrees, according to the company, and the focused stream makes for better and faster ignition.
  • Works in any environmental situation.

The Lightning-Strike goes for about $60. As firestarting systems go, it isn’t cheap.

Do you need one?

Well, that’s your decision. But the ability to start a fire might someday save your life. And the inability to start a fire could cost your life.

As for me, the Mini has replaced the original Lightning-Strike that lived in my daypack and went on every trip. I can depend on the system.

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