How do you use a ferro rod? How To Guide

by Elvis Jai Closs on July 13, 2021

How do you use a ferro rod?

Ferro rods, also known as fire-steels are one of the most popular method of fire lighting by outdoor enthusiasts. They are one of the most influential innovations in outdoor gear. They are extremely reliable as unlike matches they do not break and require no fuel. They are 100% water and windproof and will light fires in all altitudes and temperatures. You can check out our Fire Starters collection here. 

Using a ferro rod does require some technique. Don't worry though, with a few quick tips it is easy to get started! 

1) Proper preparation is essential. Preparation is everything when starting fires. Before using your ferro rod it is important you have properly prepared tinder and fuel. 

How do I prepare my tinder?

1) It is important to insulate your tinder bundle from the ground. I heard a Native American saying somewhere once that went something like "If you take care of a fire when it is young, it will take care of you when it is big". This can't be more accurate. A small pile of sticks, or a large piece of dry bark will help insulate the fire from the absorption of moisture from the cold, often wet ground. 

2) As much tinder as possible! It is important to have a sufficient amount of tinder to produce a strong enough flame that will ignite your kindling. If your tinder is more 'fluffy' compacting it into smaller bunches will ensure it burns slower. 

3) Some tinders might require further processing. When processing any tinder, the general rule is that you want to increase the surface area as much as possible. You can do this to dry grass for example by rubbing it between your hands, making it more 'fluffy'. 

Our Stealth Fire Starter is a complete fire-lighting tool that incorporates tinder into the design. The custom tinder is 100% natural and completely water resistant. You can view our Stealth Fire Starter here. 

Different striking methods

Different striking methods are better suited to varying tinder types

Technique One: Example: Maya Dust Tinder

This method aims to localise the sparks created. First, place the end of the ferro rod at the base of your pile of shavings. Then, strike downwards, adjusting your striking angle for optimal success. Finding the sweet spot comes with practise, but a good starting point is to angle your striker at 45°. When your knuckles touch the floor, stop the striking motion or you risk reducing the piles access to oxygen. 

Positioning of technique one

Technique Two: Example: Kapok Tinder

For more 'fluffy' tinders, like Kapok it is often best to shower down the sparks from above. Technique one also works, but these types of tinders tend to be very flammable and will produce a sudden flame so it's worth being a bit further back, just for safety! 

David Canterbury on YouTube has a great how-you video where he shows the same techniques. You can find this here

We believe our Forest Fundamentals Ferrocerium™ blend is an industry leader. Our ferrocerium rods produce large showers of molten sparks. We believe we have developed the perfect balance between softness and durability. You can view our Fire Starters Collection here. 

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