How to use a Magnesium Fire Starter

My son wanted to learn how to use a magnesium fire starter so I figured what a great idea for the blog!

When going camping, it is important to start a fire for safety purposes and recreation. A fire is always your best bet for warmth and for cooking food. But, don’t forget that no camping trip is perfect without a campfire anyways. Heck, it’s why we decided to call our site Explore Camping Life!

There are many ways to start a campfire, but one of the best, cheapest, and most popular choices is the Magnesium Fire Starter. The Magnesium Fire Starter is known to be better than matches, but we’re still dealing with fire, so it’s better to know exactly what to do with it to get a fire going safely. We’ve been there, and the worst way to start a camping trip is with an accidental fire burn!

Here are the steps to using a magnesium fire starter.

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#1. Get your foundation ready

Starting a fire will always come with risks, and it will be no different with the magnesium fire starter. After reading this article, it would be smart to practice this skill in a controlled environment to ensure you don’t burn yourself or others with a spreading fire. The last thing you want to do is try to start a fire for the first time when you are out at the campsite.

When it’s time to go outside and really try this out, make sure to check the weather. It shouldn’t be too rainy or windy outside.  These factors can make getting the fire started an unneeded hassle. If you do find yourself in this situation, you need some shelter to protect your fled from the

It would be best if you also had a knife to shave the magnesium off, so be sure to bring one but not any old knife. You want a knife made for campsites, one that can cut wood because that would help not just in this situation but also in the entire camping experience.

#2: Start to collect kindling or bring a fire starter

Once you’re at your chosen site, it is time to get something to burn. Use the knife you got to cut some dead wood, tinder, or grass. If you don’t want to get those, you could bring a torn newspaper or regular paper, anything you might be okay with burning. Alternatively, you can use some fire starters built for camping. Set your supplies on the ground in a pile, and you will be ready to proceed to the next step.

Extra tip- Have small rocks surrounding the pile to prevent the fire from spreading out of control. You definitely should do this when practicing as extra insurance, but you don’t have to do it forever. Once you have enough experience, you can stop using the rocks but maybe still do it if there are kids around.

#3: Strike the Magnesium

Now we come to striking the bar of magnesium. Depending on the area you picked, you might not have to worry about the wind, but it’s something to keeping in mind. When you strike the magnesium, small bits come off like fine powder. It is important to keep these tiny bits of magnesium close and not let the wind carry them off. Stray magnesium could increase fire chances where you don’t want it or increase the odds of a forest fire.

To strike the magnesium, first angle the bar down towards the pile of leaves and kindling that you just set up together. Next, scrape the magnesium off the bar onto somewhere sheltered, somewhere you can easily and safely gather the small bits of magnesium. You can skip this step in the future and shave directly onto the pile but save that when you experienced it.

If you didn’t shave directly into the pile, then carry the magnesium bits and gently put them in a pile. That’s all there is to it, be sensible with the knife, and there should be no problems.

#4: Spark and Make the Fire

Now it’s time to make fire. There should be a Ferro Rod or flint that came with the purchase, which will help make the fire. Use the back of your knife (not all knives can do this, if you don’t have one, then use a small blade or other metallic objects you think can make a spark) to strike the flint until it makes sparks carefully.

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This is definitely the part where you need to practice because you have to do this until you land a spark on the pile. If the spark does not light the pile on fire, then keep at it till it does.

Eventually, a small fire should be present in a pile, ready to become larger. Periodically throw loose grass and small sticks into the fire, or fire starters, to make the flame bigger. Make sure that you keep in mind the size of the flame and don’t let it get too crazy.

Once you got it to a level you want, you’re pretty much done.

Quick overview of this step before the greater overview.

Use a Knife on a Ferro rod or flint to create sparks, land a spark on the pile starting a small fire and then use loose grass and small sticks to increase the fire until it’s the way you want it.

How to use a magnesium fire starter image


How to use a Magnesium Fire Starter: An Overview

We all know the importance of fire when camping or in a survival situation. It keeps us warm and can cook food, so it’s vital to know many ways to start one. You just learned an easy and popular one to make sure you got it; here is an overview of the entire process.

  1. Set your foundation by picking a suitable location for a fire.
  2. Bring a Knife and some torn newspaper if you want.
  3. Cut some dead branches, find small sticks and loose grass. Put them in a pile. This is your tinder.
  4. Shave the magnesium bar until you have bits and pieces of magnesium. Put the pieces of magnesium in a pile.
  5. Use the knife on a flint to create sparks. Land spark on pile which will start a fire.
  6. Get more loose grass, small sticks to add to the pile, which will increase the fire’s size.
  7. Increase the size of the fire until satisfied.

Now you know how to use a magnesium fire starter. Fire starters made of magnesium are a quick, simple way to get your campfire blazing, so you can spend more quality time outside with those who mean the most. Don’t forget to pack one on your next camping trip – it will make all the difference! Go forth and have an amazing adventure.

Happy Camping!


Article Author
Sean's an avid camper, kayaker, and RVer. He loves spending time finding new trails and campsites to take his family and friends.