Gear Review: Ultimate Survival Technology Sparkie Firestarter

A waterproof firestarter that requires only one hand.
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A waterproof firestarter that requires only one hand.

Verdict

This waterproof firestarter is smaller than a pack of gum, but emits a shower of fat, hot sparks. The one-handed operation left my other hand free to secure a windscreen: I just unlocked the spring-loaded strike bar and pushed down on the igniter, which is contained within the shockproof rubberized grip. When I paired it with UST's WetFire, an effective, breath-mint-size tinder ($8 for a pack of eight), I started a fire on the first strike, and in three seconds I had a lively little blaze going. Pro A small, ultralight flint that actually works. Con The combo costs as much as 23 Bic lighters. ultimatesurvival.com

Tester Data

Kelly Bastone

Duration Oct. to April

Locales/conditions CO, UT; snowstorms, thunderstorms, and subfreezing temps

"It's ultralight and effective. The Sparkie has earned a permanent place in my emergency kit."