Fire Steel As A Night Navigation Aid


 Fire Steel / Metal Match / Ferro Rod

Most people don’t typically think of a fire steel as a multi-use item.  Starting fire is obviously its most well known and primary use.  However, there are a couple of other ways to use a fire steel that are not so well known.  One additional way is to strike the fire steel (preferably in an open area, with a view of the sky) when rescue aircraft, vehicles, or personnel are seen or heard in the area.  Although the light flashes that come off of a fire steel are brief, they are intensely bright.  So much so, that when the fire steel is struck the reflection of the light can be seen off of the grass and or surrounding trees.  This actually shows up pretty well when viewed from above.  Especially if and when the rescue aircraft personnel are equipped with night vision goggles.  You might think it it as a manual strobe light.

Another way that a fire steel could be used is to assist in warding off critters that are rummaging around in the woods near your shelter site.  Most animals will flee from repeated strikes along with making your presence known with loud low pitched noises.  Be careful though if you don’t have good shelter sanitation practices and you have food in the area, this may not be enough to ward away hungry predators.

Yet another way to use the fire steel is to use it as a night time navigational aid as a light source.  Take a look at this video below to see how it can be used and how to avoid completely loosing your night vision when using this tool for a light source while traveling at night.  Note: Smoky Bear says always take care to avoid starting a forest fire, especially in dry conditions!

Click here to watch on YouTube if you don’t have Flash:


please install flash


Do you know of any other ways to use a Fire Steel / Ferro Rod? If so please share with us in the comments below!


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One thought on “Fire Steel As A Night Navigation Aid

  1. A strobe light is also a great night time signal device. The only down side with these are that there aren’t really a lot of other things you can do with a strobe light, except signal for rescue at night. So those people who are minimalists may not want to carry them in their pack. But they are an excellent recovery aid. Cheers JJ

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