GEAR REVIEW: Coghlan’s Magnesium Fire Starter 7870

GEAR REVIEW: Coghlan’s Magnesium Fire Starter 7870

Magnesium Fires Starter 7870-smallAs a kid, I always had a fascination with starting fire with different methods. I think the one that I still need to perfect is the bow-drill. Growing up, one of the most inexpensive methods, other than matches, was the Magnesium Fire Starter. I had one in my bag for many years before actually using it.

Yes, I bought it and kept it in my bag but never used it. That is until this weekend.

This was a low-key weekend in the woods with my family that allowed me several opportunities to teach my children various survival skills. My oldest daughter chastised me when I returned from the store with Coleman Strike-A-Fire Fire Starters, stating that she thought I was going to use the Magnesium Fire Starter this weekend. I was taken aback a little and said, “I will show you how to use it if you want to”. Her and my son both shook their head in agreement.

The Product:

Coghlan’s Magnesium Fire Starter #7870

Cost: Less than $5.00 (I think I paid $1.99)

Description from their website: A must for every field trip. The fire starter uses magnesium, a flame source of 5400°F (2982°C) One fire starter should provide sufficient shavings to start hundreds of fires.

Dimensions: 1/2″x2″x4″ – great for pockets or key chains

Features: Double edged (one for striking and one magnesium); a hole with a beaded chain for attaching to bag, key chain or other areas.

What to do:

Take the Magnesium Fire Starter and notice there are two different edges. One edge is the striker (ferrous) rod and the other is the actual magnesium. The good news is there is printing on the block that directs you to the correct edge to use for what.

With the back edge of your knife scrape off a small pile of shavings into the middle of your bird nest (tinder bundle). Once you have a nice pile of shavings, turn the starter around to the striker rod.

Firmly pull the starter across the back of your knife in an upward motion to produce sparks. You pull upward from the knife as opposed to downward to prevent you from knocking or scattering your tinder bundle into a huge mess which requires you to start over. Usually you won’t need to do this more than twice but sometimes it does require more depending on weather, etc.

Once the shavings have ignited, gently blow on the bundle to produce a fire and transfer to your waiting fire pit. Start feeding your bundle with small sticks then add your logs.

If you are more visual, the instructions are here and a video to perform this is located here.


You can use this in severe weather because it doesn’t matter if it is wet or dry.

CAUTION: The temperature magnesium burns at 5400. If shavings ignite on your shoes, clothes or skin it will produce a severe burn.

Quick and easy. I really hope you enjoy this review and realize this is an inexpensive resource for your EveryDay Carry, BugOut Bag, Car Tool bag and Survival Kit. More than one is always beneficial.

I only wish I hadn’t waited so long to actually use it.

Until then,

Use your instincts to survive

Sources for video and pdf: Coghlans.com

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