BlastMatch Fire Starter
After a knife, I'd say that having a fire starting tool the most important part of my survival gear. As such, I've tested out a few fire starts one of which is the the BlastMatch made by Ultimate Survival. This company also makes the WetFire tinder that I love and wrote about in a previous article. This fire starter isn't revolutionary, but it does provide some benefits over traditional flint striker.
At its simplest, the BlastMatch is a plastic housing for a cylindrical piece of flint. When not in use, the flint completely surrounded by the plastic. When in use, the plastic flips open to reveal one end of the flint. And with one hand it is possible to easily create several sparks by pressing down on the flint and allowing a small metal plate to scrape across the flint.
In practice, the BlastMatch works as advertised. I found it quite easy to set off numerous sparks repeatedly with little effort and sometimes even got the WetFire tinder I was testing with to light on the first try. The size of the flint pretty much ensures that you won't need to replace it any time soon.
One drawback of the BlastMatch is that it is bulkier than a simple flint and magnesium fire starter. This is due to the large flint stick and the plastic casing. In addition, there is no magnesium tinder included so you'll have to locate tinder on your own. The final issue I had was that the metal striker popped out during some testing and there is no way to put it back in. Fortunately this doesn't render this fire starter completely useless as you can using a knife and probably a stone to generate the sparks, but doing so completely eliminates the one-handed benefit.
My verdict is that the BlastMatch can be a useful addition to your survival gear as long as the bulk doesn't bother you. For those with space issues, I'd suggest sticking to a one-piece and smaller flint / magnesium combo.
My general purpose shows are from Lowa. Not sure of the actual model. They're water-proof (Goretex) and the low-cut since I'm most active in warm weather. The treads are good for hiking and scrambling up rocks.
What shoes do you use? Are they water proof? Also are they more geared for climbing or do you use shoes that are geared for the type of environment you will be in, jungle, desert, frozen tundra etc?