For me and my family, campfires are almost a year-round thing. Of course we do those when we’re camping, but we’ve also got a few firepits in the backyard (including one from Biolite which we reviewed here). By now, we’ve got the fire build (kindling, newspaper, and so on) down, but sometimes you want a simpler setup, or you’re dealing with damp wood. In those scenarios, the PullStartFire firestarter is what the doctor ordered.
If you watch camping and outdoors gear, you’ll know that there are no shortage of products out there that fall far short of what they promise. I can safely say that PullStartFire does exactly what it says on the tin (or wrapper, in this case). While it couldn’t be simpler to use, it still is something that generates a tremendous amount of heat (and flame) so this is something definitely just for the adults to use.
Using the PullStartFire is an exercise in putting aside what you have learned about building a fire. In that, I mean you do not need any kindling, nor to ramp up from smaller sticks up to your split logs. I mean, you certainly could, but you don’t need to. Basically, you just look the green string around a log, and build your structure (say, a simple log cabin style fire). Once that’s set, you run the red string out, and you pull it.
Once you pull that red string on the PullStartFire, you’ll hear a pop, and then you’ll see smoke coming from the firestarter. Pretty quickly after that you’ll see flames coming from the packet, and soon enough you’ve got your campfire going. Again, this was the simplest and quickest fire I’ve ever built, and I could see this being quite handy in an emergency, or if your log pile while camping got caught in an unexpected rain storm.
I will note, the PullStartFire is something that should only be used outdoors, and NOT in an indoor fireplace. For one, you’ve got that smoke signal it does to let you know it’s lighting. Secondly, there’s an odor that comes off of it while it’s burning. I won’t say it’s like a gunpowder odor, but it is very reminiscent of the scent that comes along after a lot of fireworks have been set off. So, for both of those reasons, keep this to outside use for sure.
For us, I think we’ll still do our campfires the “old” way, but having a few of these for backup in difficult situations will definitely be smart, so I’ll keep a couple in our camping box. You can get it starting at $19.99 for a 3-pack (there are larger pack sizes that reduce the per-unit cost) from Amazon, or direct from pullstartfire.com