10 Best Fire Starter Kits You Can Rely On

Take these fire starter kits on your next camping trip to make lighting the campfire a breeze.

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Guide to Fire Starter Kits

Building a campfire is one of the most essential and invaluable camping skills. A roaring campfire is vital for cooking, evening entertainment and even emergency survival.

Newspaper and matches are a simple, time-tested method. But if you’ll be roughing it in the woods, it’s best to have a fire starter kit. Here are some of the best fire starter kits for all kinds of camping.

Before starting a campfire, review the Leave No Trace principles for minimizing campfire impacts and check for fire restrictions in your area.

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Best Ferro Rod and Striker Kit

This basic ferro rod and steel striker kit is a reliable camping tool to have on hand when you need to start a fire. Ferrocerium is a popular material in fire starter kits, and this one is engineered to last for 20,000 strikes.

A paracord strap makes this kit easy to carry, but it serves another purpose too — a jute cord embedded in the center can be used as tinder when there’s none around.

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Best Friction Fire Starter Kit

Go the traditional route with a friction fire starter kit. Bow drill fire starters aren’t the best option for backpacking — they’re larger and less reliable than other kits — but they’re tons of fun to try with kids on a family camping trip. Best to bring another way to start a fire in case this sparkless method fails.

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Best Shredded Tinder Kit

It’s no surprise that Zippo, one of the biggest names in fire starting, made our list. The Zippo FireFast kit includes five tinder bundles and a collapsible steel bellows. When you finish the tinder, you can make your own fire starters or purchase Zippo’s tinder replacements. These are great for starting the fire beneath your camp grill.

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Best Tinder Wick Rope

Jute rope is another type of tinder to pack for a camping trip. The Bushcraft ferro rod fire starter kit includes a jumbo jute rope for fire starting ease. Simply unbraid a section of the rope, then fray it between your fingers to create a fluffy bundle of tinder. They’ve thought of everything — the striker even has a bottle opener built into its side.

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Best Magnesium Fire Starter Kit

This magnesium fire starter kit includes a ferro rod and a magnesium rod. The striker doubles as a scraper to shave off bits of magnesium, which are then ignited by sparks from the ferro rod. The kit’s hardwood handle is another tinder source in an outdoor emergency. Amazon reviewers say this fire starter kit is long lasting and works in the rain.

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Best Fire Piston

Fire pistons, also called slam rod fire starters, use compression to create a spark. They’re not as common as ferro rods, but they’re worth a try if you’re interested in different types of fire starters. This hickory fire piston comes with a bag of char cloth as tinder.

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Best Survival Kit with Fire Starter

Some home emergency kits include fire starters. This emergency survival kit includes a compass, fire starter, flashlight, knife, whistle, pen, paracord bracelet, wire saw, emergency blanket and multi-tool. And it comes in a sturdy, airtight storage case.

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Best Stormproof Matches

Stormproof matches are a must-have part of any emergency fire starter kit. They’re easy to light, and the longer burn time is great for lighting tinder or any DIY fire starter you’ve created. The UCO Titan Stormproof Match Kit includes 12 four-inch matches, three strikers, a waterproof case and a lanyard.

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Best Emergency Fire Starter Kit

Zippo’s emergency fire starter kit is compact and easy to take on the go. It features the familiar flint wheel of a typical lighter, plus five pieces of cotton tinder. It’s all housed in a waterproof compartment that’s roughly the size of a pill bottle.

The main benefit is its size. Stick one in your car’s winter survival kit, your camping backpack and anywhere else you might need it.

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Most Packable Tinder

It never hurts to bring extra tinder, so this is a useful addition to any fire starter kit. The Tinder-on-a-Rope works with any of the ignition methods on this list. Just scrape off some wood with a camping knife or sharp striker, then light it like any other tinder.

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Mikayla Borchert
Mikayla is an assistant editor for Family Handyman, specializing in indoor and outdoor gardening, organization and décor. She has one cat and holds a B.A. in English from the University of Minnesota. Outside of work, she likes running, skiing, hiking and tending her balcony garden.