Here’s another winter camping story for you. A few weeks ago, when my buddy camped out on my land, the temperature dropped to 5° Fahrenheit. I helped him set up camp, but after that I went back inside to sleep. He was on a mission to test out his new cold weather camping gear (hammock) and I wasn’t about to get in the way. Plus, I didn’t have any cold weather gear myself, so I wouldn’t have been able to stay with him anyway. Again though, I didn’t want to get in his way. I knew he was trying to see if he could make it alone.
One thing I did do though was help him gather firewood. I know all about that and I’m pretty good at dealing with preparing for and maintaining camp fires, if I don’t say so myself. When it came time to light it up though, I didn’t know if he was going to use some newspaper and a lighter or if he was going to go the bushcraft route. He went the bushcraft route. He pulled out his ferro (ferrocerium) rod and striker and after not too long, he got a small fire lit. I watched the entire time and I thought the ferro rod idea was pretty good. Especially for survival situations.
As for material to start the fire, I think my friend used birch bark and small dry pine twigs. Once the flame got larger, he started adding bigger pieces of wood. Pine, maple, whatever we could find. We had a good time dealing with that fire until I went into the house to sleep. The camping area was only about five acres back in the woods, so it wasn’t too far of a walk.
Seeing him use the ferro rod led me to the conclusion that I needed one myself. Since I didn’t exactly know what I was looking for, I decided to find a decent looking one on Amazon.com and just buy it. I did know that I wanted a large one though and that’s why I bought this six inch model.
The ferro rod I purchased was made by Bayite and it’s six inches long and a half inch thick. Take a look.
Since I had never used a ferro rod to start a fire before, I didn’t know what to expect. But since I own a nice Schrade survival knife that’s constructed with a high-carbon steel blade, it didn’t take long to find out what would happen. I held the ferro rod firmly in my hand and slide the back of the knife down it a few times. The first two times, nothing happened because the knife merely scraped the paint off the rod, but the third time I struck the rod, sparks flew all over the place. I was very pleased with this and decided to stop before I burned something down. In the photo below, you can see where I scraped the paint off the rod with my knife. Knives with high-carbon steel blades are awesome to use with ferro rods.
Before I tried the rod out, I tied some paracord to it. The rod came with a small hole drilled in its end. I just threaded the paracord through the hole and tied a Two-Stranded Overhand Knot to secure it. It’s a very tight knot, so I don’t think it’s coming out.
Overall, I like this ferro rod a lot. I don’t think I would ever buy one of the small models that are sold all over the place. This big one isn’t very heavy and it’s a lot easier to handle than the small ones. It’ll also last a lot longer. Let me know what you think. Thanks for reading!