Food, water, shelter. These are the necessities of life. And when you’re stranded in the wild, a fire can help in all of those categories. You can cook food, sanitize water for safe drinking and heat up your shelter to prevent frostbite or hypothermia. As you can see, being able to build a fire is absolutely critical.

RELATED STORY: Dave Canterbury’s 10 Sure-Fire Fuel Sources

To this end, many survivalists and outdoorsmen carry ferrocerium (or simply “ferro”) rods, which are made of several fire-starting metals, including magnesium. In this video, wilderness survival expert Dave Canterbury of the Pathfinder School and Self-Reliance Outfitters explains how to use ferro rods and what makes them work.

RELATED STORY: Emergency-Ready Essentials to Build a Fire In Any Environment

As Dave explains, many ferro rods come with tungsten striking rods that make it easy to start a fire. If you’re looking to buy a ferro rod, make sure you pick up one that is both thick and long for more surface area to strike. But if you don’t have a tungsten striker, you can use a number of items to ignite a fire with a ferro rod. In the video, Dave demonstrates how to light a fire with just a ferro rod and a piece of broken glass!

RELATED STORY: 6 Backwoods Safety Tips Before You Build A Fire

Check out the video to learn more about ferro rods, and for more of Dave Canterbury’s expert training, check out

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