Luke: "After reading all about historical issues with people flipping their boat on the Colville, getting swept downriver, and having to start a fire to get warm, I thought it would be good to keep some kind of fire starting material on my person at all times. I mean, we were going to be on the exact same river as Robert Marshall, just many years later. And in smaller boats.
With that in mind, I bought a Swedish Firesteel - basically a fancy magnesium fire-starting setup. And, since I usually carry a whistle with me when I'm in the woods, the whistle built into the handle was an extra bonus. Multi-use!
So, how’d it work? I’d give it 3/5 stars. I think I could start a fire with it, but I'd hate to try to do so without some serious tinder and kindling. The Firesteel readily throws sparks, but produces no flame of its own. Given my potential use scenario of flipping my boat and losing everything, I cannot confidently say that the Firesteel would be easy enough for me to use with cold, wet hands.
That being said, it did end up serving one use supremely well: starting stoves. We had a stove that would burn in the rain, but was extremely difficult to get started in the rain with a Bic or a match. One or two swipes with the Firesteel on the open stove and it lit right up!
I tested the whistle too - it’s loud enough for me. Hopefully I never have to use it."