I always look forward to trying out a new piece of gear, especially if it has anything to do with starting a fire. What can I say? Starting outdoor fires is fun but it is also an important skill that everyone needs to be able to do.
We all know the reasons why being able to make a fire in a survival situation is important, so I won’t bore you with those details. However, creating an outdoor fire can be tricky and there are a lot of different tools to choose from to get the job done.
One of my favorite fire-starting tools is a Ferro rod and I recently received the Survival Torch, which is made by PREPARED4X, that is a Ferro rod but with a little bit of twist.
In the article below I will be discussing my thoughts on the Survival Torch as well as some hands-on testing to see if this product will get the job done.
SURVIVAL TORCH SPECIFICATIONS AND FEATURES
6 ½ inch long ferrocerium rod that is housed in an aluminum frame.
36” long wax-infused hemp rope that can be used as a fire starting aid.
The 6 ½ inch long metal scraper is attached to the hemp cord by a small metal clasp. It features a serrated end that is used to fray the hemp cord and in the middle of the scraper is a can/bottle opener.
The whole product which includes the hemp rope, curved striker, ferrocerium rod, and housing weighs in at approximately 9.74 ounces. (This number was independently obtained by the reviewer)
The ferrocerium rod is resistant to water, wind, and all types of weather.
The only color option available right now is orange.
I always like to start a product review from the beginning which means letting you in on the unboxing. The Survival Torch came tightly wrapped in bubble wrap and was placed inside a drawstring bag that reminds me of burlap. The bag doesn’t appear to be heavy-duty, but it is nice to have to keep everything contained and organized.
After unwrapping everything, I immediately liked how the Survival Torch felt in my hand. At 9.74 ounces this fire-starter has some weight to it, and it feels solid.
The ferrocerium rod and the aluminum housing are smooth and there is no presence of any grip.
The Aluminum housing is orange-colored which I like a lot because it makes the tool highly visible if you are searching for it in a bag or if it becomes misplaced on the ground.
TESTING IT OUT
I took the Survival Torch outside and quickly began familiarizing myself with it. As with most Ferro rods, the first thing that needed to be done was to remove some of the protective black paint. This is easily done by using the edge of the striker to scrape the paint away.
Now, the Torch can be used in one of two ways. The first way is to use it like you would any other Ferro rod to scrape sparks into a tinder bundle.
The second way though is a bit more interesting and fun to do. The Ferro rod sits in an aluminum frame that has a hole drilled through the bottom of it and this hole is where the hemp cord is pushed through. The end of the hemp cord can then be lit with the sparks from the Ferro rod. Once the end of the cord is lit, it can be used just like a match or a torch.
One end of the metal striker is serrated and this is what I used to fray the end of the hemp cord. Separating the fibers as much as possible is an important first step.
After prepping the cord, I placed the end of the orange frame firmly against the ground so that the cord bent upwards towards the Ferro rod. I then used the striker to scrape the rod, which only took two attempts before the hemp cord ignited.
Once the wax-infused hemp cord was ignited, I played around with adjusting the size of the flame. To make the flame larger, push the cord out and expose more of the cord. To make the flame smaller, pull it backward and reduce the amount of cord that is exposed. When I was done and ready to extinguish the flame, I simply pulled the cord back into the frame of the Survival Torch. Double-check and make sure all the embers are extinguished before putting the torch away.
The one thing that I noticed while using the Torch is that the scraper has a bit of a flat edge to it. If this part of the scraper is used, little to no sparks will be produced. To get the most sparks possible, I had to be sure to rotate the striker so that the “sharp” edge was used.
Ferrocerium rods are not too bothered by rain or even being dropped and submerged into the depths of a puddle of water. Tinder and fire-starting aides on the other hand may be susceptible to moisture. In this case, I am talking about the hemp cord. Now, it is waxed infused hemp which should make it resistant to water and I of course had to test this out.
To begin, I simply dipped the end of the cord into a container of water and held it submerged for five seconds. This was to simulate briefly dropping it into a puddle or exposing it to some moderate rain.
After holding the cord under the water for ten seconds I took it out and scrapped the wet end with the serrated end of the metal striker. This helps to separate the fibers and to remove excess water. Once the end was properly frayed, it only took two strikes from the Ferro rod to ignite the cord.
The second test involved a bit more exposure to water. For this, I took the end of the cord and left it submerged in water for ten minutes, that was my plan anyway. In actuality, it was closer to fifteen minutes because I lost track of time.
After fifteen minutes, I removed the cord and again used the striker to fray the cord and remove excess water. This time around I could tell a lot more water made its way into the hemp, which made lighting it a little more difficult. Instead of two strikes on the Ferro rod, it took nine strikes before the frayed ends ignited. Since the cord was damp it didn’t burn like it did when it was dry but after about one minute the cord started to try out and it began to burn better.
I would also like to note that after the cord dried out and was still burning, the wind picked up quite a bit. I was half expecting it to be blown out immediately, but the flame continued to dance around, and the hemp cord stayed lit.
SURVIVAL TORCH PROS
This is a personal preference, but I like the large size of the Torch, and this is not because I am a large guy. Using a small Ferro rod is frustrating and difficult when wearing gloves, your hands are shaking, or if an arm or hand is injured. This is not a problem with the Survival Torch as there is plenty of room to work with.
The second thing that I like is the color choice for the Aluminum frame. When it comes to outdoor and survival gear, I am a big fan of the color orange and other bright colors. These colors are much more visible which makes a tool easier to see if it is misplaced or if the tool is being used as a signal device.
Another interesting aspect of the Survival Torch is that it is reversible. Many Ferro rods that come with handles are only meant to be used in one way which leads to uneven wear. But with the Survival Torch, the hemp cord can be fed into the frame from either side allowing the full length of the Ferro rod to be used.
Lastly, I like that this product is an all-in-one package. Yes, the hemp cord can be taken out from the frame, resulting in two separate pieces, but having a fire tinder that is a part of the fire starter is very helpful because fire tinder can be difficult to find at times. But by having a wax-infused hemp cord that feeds into the frame and can be wrapped around the torch, starting a fire becomes easier and quicker.
SURVIVAL TORCH CONS
I am not a fan of the bottle opener on the striker. To be fair, I am not a big fan of bottle openers in general simply because I do not use them very often. However, the placement of the opener is what caught my attention. It is located in the middle of the striker piece and when I used it bare-handed, the opener made it a bit uncomfortable to use. This can be avoided by wearing gloves, adjusting your grip, or choking your grip up towards the tip of the striker.
The other thing that I would keep an eye on is the clasp at the end of the hemp cord that attaches to the metal striker. After using and moving the Survival Torch around for a while, I noticed that a part of the clasp had bent slightly to one side. It is still holding on to the striker just fine but down the road, I may swap out the clasp for something a little heavier duty.
PROS AND CONS OVERVIEW
- The bright orange color makes the tool easy to see and find
- Easy to use
- Comes with a source of tinder
- Hemp rope tinder burns for approximately three hours
- Large size makes it easier to use
- Survival Torch Aluminum housing is reversible
- Location of the bottle opener
- Feels slick
- The clasp is a bit weak
As I stated at the beginning of this article, I have an affinity for fire-starting gear. A large part of this has to do with the importance of creating fire in a survival situation. So, would I pack the Survival Torch in my bag, will it get the job done?
While there are a few small things I pointed out that I would have changed, I would still pack this tool in my bag because I think it will get the job done. It is affordable, easy to use, and most importantly it is effective.
I like the design of incorporating hemp cordage into the frame so that once lit, the flame can easily be adjusted and used just like a lit match. And since the hemp cord is wax-infused, it makes it much more resistant to water and allows it to burn better. I think that the Survival Torch by PREPARED4X would make a good addition to anyone’s pack, vehicle, or survival toolbox. Thanks for reading and stay prepared.
About the Author
Bryan grew up in the Midwest and spent every waking moment outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, read the land, and be self-reliant was part of everyday life. Eventually, he combined his passions for the outdoors, emergency preparedness, and writing.
Bryan is a published author with Fox Chapel Publishing. In 2019, Bryan authored the book, Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide. In March 2021, he released his second book, Paracord Projects For Camping and Outdoor Survival.