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vargo ultimate fire starter
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Survival / February 12, 2017

This tool is like a lighter, only badass

Written by: Kevin Linderman

Editor’s note: The product featured in this review is for sale in the Shoulders of Giants shop. We review all our gear before we sell it, not the other way around.

The guys at Vargo didn’t have to think hard to come up with a name for their latest Firestarter. It really is the Vargo Ultimate Firestarter (VUF).

The VUF looks kind of like one of those old tire pressure gauges the guy at the gas station carries around in his front pocket. You know… the attendant at a full service gas station. There are still a few of those around, right? 

In any case, it looks like a tire gauge. But it isn’t, of course.


Just unscrew the top of the VUM to reveal a small ferrocerium rod. Flick this rod over a jagged-edged striker affixed to the device’s side, and it’ll generate a 5,000-degree spark sure to ignite any tinder.

Once your tinder is smoldering, you can telescope the VUM into an 18″ bellows. This allows you to keep your face, hair, and clothing away from the flames while blowing air onto your coals.

The Ultimate Firestarter bellows, used with a full set of Vargos gear. Photo by Kevin Linderman.

The bellows as most people will use it: in a fire pit. Photo by Kevin Linderman.

Firestarters all serve the same purpose—they get a hot spark onto a fuel source. Some you push down, some your roll, some you rake… but they’re all strive for one result.

The stainless steel VUF looks better than most (we dig the aesthetic of Vargo’s gear in general), and its telescoping design takes things one step farther.

It’s one hell of a firestarter. But is it the ultimate? We think so… but there’s always the opportunity for some new technology to snatch that title.

The Vargo Firestarter sells in the Shoulders of Giants store for $24.95.

about the author

Kevin Linderman

Kevin Linderman is the founder and Chief Adventure Officer for Shoulders of Giants. Kevin has spent his entire professional career in and around the field of information technology, but has always been an avid outdoor enthusiast and a seeker of knowledge.

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