The magnesium fire starter has been around for hundreds of years. A typical fire starter made from magnesium will consist of a block with two useable sides.
The first side is used for scraping of magnesium into a pile which will ignite with a spark. The other side of the block has a small rod inserted into it (usually a ferro rod). The rod is used to create a spark which in turn lights the magnesium.
Is this the best type of fire starter on the market today?
Well....it really just depends on personal preference.
As with pretty much all fire starting methods you need to start with a small, dry tinder bundle.
Collect some dry grass, leaves or use a pre-constructed fire starter like a cotton ball smeared with petroleum jelly.
Form the tinder bundle into a shape similar to a birds nest. The loosely compacted "birds nest" fits easily into your hand (if necessary) and allows you to add sufficient air flow to create the combustion process.
Its also a good idea to have a collection of small kindling next to you to feed the tinder bundle and build the fire. Have a variety of different sized kindling to gradually increase the size of the wood, building the fire bigger and bigger.
Once you have your tinder bundle and kindling ready, scrape off tiny shavings of magnesium from the block into a pile. Create a small pile of shaved magnesium in the tinder bundle.
The magnesium is very soft and it can easily be scrapped using the blade of a knife. Create a pile that's roughly the size of a quarter.
Now, hold the magnesium block in your hand with the flint or ferro rod side exposed. Hold it directly above the pile of magnesium shavings and strike the flint with the striker.
When the striker slides across the flint it will create a spark that lights the pile of magnesium which in turn lights the tinder bundle.
Once the tinder bundle is lit you can gradually add your kindling to build the fire.
As with any fire starting tool, a magnesium fire starter has both positive and negative factors that you should consider.
One of the biggest advantages of using magnesium is that it works even when wet. In fact, you can submerge the block of magnesium in water and the shavings will still ignite.
However, one major disadvantage of using magnesium is the wind. The small shavings are easily blown away by the wind making it difficult to use in windy conditions.
Magnesium is relatively cheep fire starter that can be found almost anywhere you can purchase camping or outdoor supplies.
It's a good investment and a great tool to add to your survival kit if your a camping or outdoor enthusiast.