New outdoor and survival gear comes to market every day in the preparedness industry. Sometimes it’s new technologies like thermoelectric pots that cook your dinner and charge your phone while other times they are spin offs of previous inventions. Today we take a look at one of the later, the Live Fire emergency fire starter.
The Live Fire emergency fire starter is a similar to many fire starters you have seen in the past with a minor twist. The matchbox size metal tin encompasses a gauze type fabric that is soaked in a variety of oils and petroleum based products. When it is time to start a fire you open the lid, exposing the wet fibers, then light a match or throw a spark.
Once lit you place the firestarter under your kindling and wait for it to catch. Next you retrieve the firestarter and when it cools down you close the lid to extinguish the flame and preserve the remaining unspent firestarter.
Sounds simple enough right? We didn’t think so. Below are a few key points that should be evaluations when conducting any emergency firestarter review. We’ll go through each one and tell you why we wouldn’t recommend the Life Fire emergency fire starter.
The Live Fire fire starter will get the job done. It doesn’t start as easy as we would have liked. The instructions on the back state “scrape and lift to expose microfibers” and that is maybe where we went wrong. We just started lighting the material with a match which took in about longer than we liked but got much faster results following the instructions that say to agitate the material – we did this with a small metal clip (see video).
The flame will reach to a couple of inches if you expose the entire firestarter to the air but we preferred to open it half way and light just that portion. The flame lasted just under the stated 30 minute burn time when we took the lid off. Unlike the company’s marketing, we did not see it “burn extremely hot” just a normal flame like you get from your typical match.
Ease Of Use
Aside from price which we will get to later in the review, the ease of use might be the biggest disappointment. While getting the fire starter going was easy getting it out of the fire so it didn’t continue to burn up once the fire was started was another story. We had to pick at it with a stick until we knocked it away from the fire.
From there we tried to touch the tin to close it but it was too hot (think hot potatoe game). So it didn’t continue to burn while the fire was already going we ended up throwing dirt on it to extinguish. A few minutes later after it had cooled we were able to close the lid and put it back in our pack. Not the best experience.
For a product the retails at $10 for 30 minutes of flame we didn’t want to let it burn unnecessarily. It’s marketed as a repeat use product, not as a 1 time fire starter. We just wish it was easier to put out and handle.
The Live Fire is a very light, to the tune of 24 grams. That’s 1/20th of a lb. Light weight survival items are a must. You can only carry so much weight so seeing such a light item was a welcome when you compare this to some of the other heavier fuels like Insta Fire and Esbit fuel tabs. While those items may not be heavy alone they are in comparison to the Live Fire.
At 3 inches in length and 1.25” in width (1/4 inch thick) this fire starter takes up little space in your bug out bag. With it’s low weight you won’t even really know you are carrying it. A plus in our books. The Sport model is even smaller but we’re not exactly sure the need for a smaller version when this one is so small and light in the first place.
Our biggest complaint and we saved it for last was the price. $10 for a device with this many frustrations and short lifespan is simply not a good deal especially when you get the feeling you are using something that feels like it should have cost them $2 to manufacture (at tops).
To demonstrate this point I took the Live Fire fire starter into work and showed it to come of my coworkers that camp and hike a lot. I showed them videos on it from Youtube, lit it on fire for about 10 seconds, and explained to them how long it lasted.
When I finished demonstrating all of this I asked all of them what they would expect to pay for it. Responses ranged from $3 to $5. When I told them it was $10 I asked them if they would buy it and all of them said no. I guess that makes one of us lol.
During our Live Fire emergency fire starter review there were a few minor frustrations we kept coming across (like trying to extinguish it) but even those things could be dealt with if the product is a good value but at this price it just isn’t. For half the price I’m still not sure I would buy it, I can get InstaFire pouches for much cheaper and have a much easier experience. Those too are waterproof so the differences are minor.