OK, so sure this is controversial, it’s a big decision, you know eliminating all the other fire starters as backups and options. But hey, I need to slim things down a bit, so I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, and I’ve decided to make the leap. Actually it’s not such a big deal really, but it is a change.

The Doan Magnesium Fire Starting Tool has been my weapon of choice since about 1982 when it comes to fire starting. But it’s not like I haven’t used anything else either, I don’t think there is much out there that I do not presently own or have owned in the past. I love to try new things anyway, so I’ve wound up with a cupboard full of devices. I just have always carried the Doan Mag Stick, for years in fact it was part of my EDC (Every Day Carry). I had found a leather knife sheath just the right size for the Mag Bar, so I had it on me whenever I had clothes on.

I was talking the other day to a friend about my impending change to Mag Stick only, and started listing what I had in my small pack. Let’s see, a fire piston, 2 lighters, matches, Blastmatch, Doan Magnesium fire starter, steel wool, flint and steel… Perhaps that’s overdoing it a bit, well, yeah it is, for sure. Over time the stuff just winds up in there, and I don’t take it out. Mostly the other items are in my pack just for some variety in fire starting, it’s fun to try other tools.

What I’m going to do is take all the other devices out of my pack. I think I’ll just use our ORSK Bag to put them all in, then when I want to bring alternate fire starters with me, I can just grab that bag and I’ll have quite a selection, but I won’t be cumbering up my pack with them. By the way the pack I’m talking about goes with me everywhere. It’s a small day pack, equipped to keep me for about a week.

So what’s the risk involved in using only one type of fire starter? With some of the other devices there is a chance of breakage, or needing something different because of conditions. The Doan Mag is virtually unbreakable, water doesn’t hurt it, if you need more ‘umph to start a fire, just scrape an extra amount of shavings, they burn at 5400 ° F – vs- a hot coal at about 800°F.

Most people don’t use a Mag Stick properly and so don’t see how great they are. When just a few shavings are used, although the Mag is still better I contend, it’s little more than lots of the other sticks and rods that just shower hot sparks into your tinder, which is fine unless conditions are tough. If however you take a moment and scrape a quarter size pile of magnesium, which is easy to do with the soft Doan Mag, then send sparks into it, an interesting thing happens, the whole pile becomes a large glowing ember, white hot not just red hot, that can be placed in tinder and easily blown into flame. That large super hot ember makes all the difference, you just don’t get that with anything else.

So anyway that’s it, I’ve made the change, no risk. Now the Doan Magnesium Fire Starting Tool is “my one and only.” Now you ask, what about  back-up, so what this Doan Mag stick doesn’t break, what if you lose it? Ah ha, I already thought of that. Since I already have one in my Off-Road Survival Kit, I just throw a second in the bottom of my pack…bing, problem solved!

Oh, one more thing, if you already have a Mag Stick that is not Doan, check out our investigation video, and a previous blog, some brands do not work at all, some others poorly.

Till next time, Perry Peacock, “Simplifying Survival”

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2 Responses to The Doan Magnesium Fire Starter-Now my One and Only

  1. Ken says:

    I like your article. I’ve tried the mag bars several times and have had a really difficult time favoring them. I’ve heard great things about them from outdoorsmen I respect. My point is that the catch must be in the method used and the level of skill with the method. I’d love to see a youtube video or any type of visual tutorial of how a skilled mag bar user scrapes his mag bar; how he arranges his tinder; where he places the mag shavings on/in the tinder, ect…

    Again, I love the article. Please let me know if you ever make a tutorial on mag bar use methodology. Thanks!


  2. pdpeacock says:


    Here is a playlist of some of our videos on using the Magnesium Fire Starters http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL244051F4BA8DE2AB
    Actually there are more that for some reason are not in the FSK playlist, like one handed Magnesium bar fire starting. I’ve been thinking of doing a new one as these are several years old.

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