Firestarter as stove lighter?

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    Mark Watson


    Locale: Northwest

    What do you light alcohol stoves with?

    I’ve never used an alcohol stove. But I’ve seen others do it (pepsi-can-type), with a Bic-lighter. And they almost burned their hand from turning the lighter upside-down & when the primer-pan lit.

    I was thinking of using a Firesteel or Spark-Lite to light it. Would this work? What are the potential problems?

    Thanks in advance,

    Laurie Ann March


    Locale: Ontario, Canada

    we use a firesteel and priming tray – according to my hubby it lets him keep the hair on his knuckles

    D T
    BPL Member


    Locale: Mt Hood

    I’ve used several differant alcohol stoves- home made pepsi, Vargo Triad XE, and currently use a Brasslite Turbo F. I’ve used lighters before but never again. Lighters usually place your hand too close to the fuel. The best that I’ve found is a plain old wooden match. Not as fancy or as cool as a Firesteel or Spark-Lite but just as effective and there’s no need to aim the spark anywhere. Just touch the lit match to the alcohol and you’re off and running.

    Douglas Frick
    BPL Member


    Locale: Wyoming

    > What do you light alcohol stoves with?

    I don’t like using up my matches, so I generally use my Spark-Lite (0.2 oz), which I carry along with the rest of the Spark-Lite Kit (+0.5 oz). It works well, requiring only one or two flicks to light my stove. I use it with both primed and center-lighting stoves. The Firesteel (1.1 oz) makes more sparks than the Spark-Lite, and will probably last longer.

    I also have a refillable Solo Extend-A-Flame Lighter (1.4 oz) which can be extended about two inches. I usually only bring it when hiking with a group, when somebody else might need to borrow it to light a gas stove.

    Pamela Wyant


    I usually just use matches.
    I've also had good luck dipping a small twig into the alcohol in the stove reservoir, lighting the twig with a lighter, and then using the burning twig to light the stove.

    G Cowen


    I use a firesteel to light my stove no problem. I ditched the steel striker and use my knife…

    Joe Kuster
    BPL Member


    Locale: Flatirons

    I have only used matches & bics but what about a trimmed down piezo starter with a small bit of wire to the primer pan? Anyone used this method? They aren't very heavy, but it would be more single use than most other methods.

    Joshua Mitchell


    Locale: Kansas

    yeah, running the wires to the al stove could work… if you take apart one of those long-stem fireplace lighters, the've got a little piezo in them… it makes a nice shock stick too…

    James Pitts


    Locale: Midwest US

    Sparklite. Works really well. I still carry a mini Bic lighter but I save that for if I must make a fire.

    Vick Hines


    Locale: Central Texas

    When I first started using alky stoves, I made a piezo lighter by vandalizing a fireplace lighter and making an extension to the piezo unit from an aluminum arrow shaft with a vented and wind-protected wicking tip . It worked great in the house. Unfortunately, and to my lasting disappointment, it did not work at temps below 50 degrees. The electric spark needs a fuel-laden atmosphere. It cannot ignite liquid alcohol. Even with a wick to encourage vaporization, it wouldn't work.

    Eric Eaton


    Hey Mark,

    I use a Spark-Lite. I keep a second Spark-Lite in my fire kit as a backup to my stove-dedicated one and also as a…well, a fire starter for my fire kit.

    Never have had a problem with burned fingers, but then again, as a cat owner, I'm quick. (Although the thought has occassionally occured to me that if my cats were large enough, they'd probably eat me…Hmmm).


    Terry Boldt


    "Never have had a problem with burned fingers, but then again, as a cat owner, I'm quick."

    Hmmm – from my experience I've always thought it the other way around – cats are human owners.

    Eric Eaton


    Yep, true enough.

    Some days I feel lucky they let me live here.

    Other times, I wish I could die and come back as a cat in my house – with two servants named "Can-Opener" and plenty of nice furniture to sharpen my claws on, and nice sunny spots to nap in…


    Brett .


    Locale: CA

    I use pepsi, Trangia, and a Brasslite Turbo F. I dip my eating utensil in the alcohol, light it, and use the flame to start the stove. Sparklite is good, but I conserve those "1000" available sparks and use a mini-bic if I have it.

    Frank Deland


    Locale: On the AT in VA

    Matches work fine. The spark igniter sold at this website works, too, but matches work best.

    BPL Member


    Locale: NorCal - South Bay

    I know I a bit late on this but I use fire steel all of the time. It lights every type of stove I have, from alcohol to canister. The life of the fire steel is what I like best. I have had bics get stuck open in my pack. I pack them in a case now… if I bring them at all.

    Dale Wambaugh
    BPL Member


    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    Jason, a Bic will still light a butane stove when out of gas– the spark wheel still does it. Some brands of lighters (Cricket is one) come with childproof locks that also keep them from dumping fuel. An o-ring added to the fuel lever on the Bic will lock it and prevent fuel leaks.

    I agree, a firesteel throws a good shower of sparks. To light an Esbit, I put it right down on the fuel tab and spark away. Add a little alcohol gel hand cleaner and you can get the Esbit going with one stroke on the firesteel.

    Dan Yeruski
    BPL Member



    The last 1/4 inch of your ferrocerium rod is where your hottest spark will come from. I made my own ferro rod holder using the replacement flints for welding torch ignitors. I now carry with me a small ferro rod on my keychain and a single edge razor blade in my wallet. I always have my keys and wallet with me 24/7. Always prepared. The razor blade is wha I use to Flick-off a good spark right where I want it.

    Here is some good information pertaining to Sparks

    Here is a photo of my keyring ferro rod. The day that the photo was taken is the day I replaced the well worn/used one on my keyring.

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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