Use Sparky To Add Another Fire-Starting Option To Your Camping Gear


Do you really need another way to start fires? Probably not. Would you like one if it looked as slick as Sparky? Probably yes.

If you’re a frequent camper or an experienced outdoorsman, you’re probably also familiar with the process of starting a fire using batteries and fine steel wool. Simply bridge the battery terminals with the steel wool, wait a few seconds, and, congratulations, you’ve got the start of a fire going. Sparky is, basically, just that, except it replaces the ugly battery with an elegant-looking apparatus that you lay onto the wool to get sparks going.

Designed to look like a writing instrument, Sparky consists of a tube-shaped metal with a copper tip and a screw-on cap. It comes in two types of bodies, aluminum and copper, each one weighing 3.1 ounces and 6 ounces, respectively, with a look that resembles a premium pen, rather than a handy camping tool. Inside, the body holds a pair of AAA batteries, with the copper tip connected to the positive terminal and the body connected to the negative one. To light up a small bunch of steel wool, simply remove the cap from the device, touch both the tip and the body to the wool, and wait a few seconds until you have big enough sparks going to tinder an actual fire.


Features include a clip on the cap for securing on a pocket rim, knurled grips, O-ring to prevent dirt, and a 6.5-inch length. If you don’t have steel wool available, by the way, it can also work with aluminum foil, such as those you can in gum wrappers.

A Kickstarter campaign is currently running for Sparky. Pledges to reserve a unit starts at $30.

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2 Responses

  1. Dave

    Or just use a small 6-Volt battery that has both terminals on one side. Touch both terminals to the steel wool and it will do the same thing, but is smaller and cheaper..

    • Bobby Davis

      Yes, no secret. The project even says as much: “If you’ve been camping, hiking or just enjoy incorporating a little science into your pyrotechnics, you probably already know how to start a campfire with batteries and steel wool. The ‘Sparky’ Fire Starter, takes this concept and puts it in a sleek, rugged, easy to use and carry, fire starter!”


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