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The ability to make a fire is one of the most important things to have when out in the wilderness. With fire, you’ll be able to cook your food (or, at least, heat up your MRE), purify water, keep some bugs and wild animals away, and stay warm.

In ideal conditions where the sky is clear and the weather’s dry, a match or lighter and some tinder are enough to start a fire. But in less than ideal conditions, a fire starter can be your literal light in the darkness.

Most fire starters are pocket-sized and reasonably-priced, and there’s no reason any camper shouldn’t have one or more in their kit. Here are five of our top choices for fire starters.

DOAN MAGNESIUM FIRESTARTER

Tried and tested by campers for decades, Doan’s fire starter is simple and reasonably-priced. It’s also very compact, and can be used as a key chain that you can bring with you all the time.

CORE SURVIVAL FIRE STARTER AND MULTITOOL

Apart from its magnesium flint rod and striker, Core Survival’s fire starter kit also includes tinder, a tinder compartment, and a glass breaker in one pen-sized package. The knurled body helps provide ample grip and prevents slipping when striking.

ZIPPO EMERGENCY FIRE STARTER

The more rugged outdoor cousin of Zippo’s famous lighters, the Zippo Emergency Fire Starter provides a more reliable way of starting a fire in a familiar shape. It operates like a lighter and can be used with one hand, making it very easy to use, and even comes with waxed tinder sticks.

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ÜBERLEBEN KRÄFTIG XL FIRE STARTER

With its 5 x ½ inch rod made of solid ferrocerium, the Kräftig is quite beefy compared to the others in the list and rated for up to 20,000 strikes. It’s made to ignite in any weather and any altitude, and includes a multi-purpose scraper that that can double as a ruler, bottle opener, or hex driver.

INSIDE N BEYOND MAGNESIUM FIRE STARTER

Much like Core Survival’s, the fire starter kit from Inside N Beyond comes with tinder in its own compartment and a pen-type body made of aluminum. The body is knurled, providing a secure grip, however, instead of a glass breaker, Inside N Beyond’s kit includes a small compass on one end of the body, which is handy as a back-up navigation aid.

With its compact size, a fire starter is a must-have camping equipment. With the cold and wet winter season, when lighting a fire in the boonies may prove to be a challenge, an all-weather tool that can reliably provide you with a crucial element in camping is essential.

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