When I think about Fire and Fire Kits, I look at it from a few different angles as a Survival Instructor as well as a Woodsman. First what is needed for an Emergency as Preparedness is half the battle, and then what makes the most sense for use every day, and then what is the most versatile for carry all the time that will work in any situation best.
It comes down to direct comparisons of ignition sources at that point and you must compare things apples to apples in that sense. To compare a Ferro Rod to a Match is comparing open flame to spark and they are not the same, but compare a match to lighter and things are much different, so lets look at things from a proper perspective to see what we should and should not carry. Now I must throw in a statement that there is legitimate reason for anything if you are trying to practice with a primitive or period correct ignition source.
Lets look at a table and then walk through it together-
|Table of Common Ignition Sources|
So looking at this table we can see that if we are looking to carry something within our daily kit for Ignition the Friction Fire should be the last considered as we will need advanced skill, fair weather, and specifics for bird nest materials. A Magnifying Glass however will create an ember using the sun and is a renewable resource that is a basic skill level and can be used to extend or conserve the life of more effective or easier sources of ignition. Flint and Steel a technique used from the Iron age through the 18th Century is very viable in many ways but when compared to a modern source of Spark based ignition like the Ferrocerium rod, is not near as versatile in that the Ferro rod works when wet, is very easy to use, throws a much hotter spark, and can be used with any tinders that are used with Flint and Steel as well as many that cannot be ignited with a lower temperature spark. Matches while giving the huge advantage of open flame are a one time use and very susceptible to wet or windy conditions. While the BIC Lighter gives the same advantage without the restriction of one use and can be easily made to operate again within seconds even if submerged in water. The BIC lighter also has the distinct advantage of being a self contained flint and steel kit that can still be utilized with char or even the lighter body to start more fires after the fuel is spent.
In reality we should always have 3 sources for ignition within our kit and to me it makes the ,most sense to get the most versatility I can from these 3 items. My choice is always the Bic Lighter (quick Emergency Fire), The Ferros Rod, extends the life of the lighter in a normal situation and works well with many tinder sources, and the Magnification Lens (Renewable and conserves all other ignition sources). Too me this is simple logic. Combine this with a HC Steel Knife that is strapped to my hip and I have a 4th Emergency source if I can find a hard Rock and make char as discussed in my teaching for the next fire in an extreme emergency.
Next Fire Mentality
Ferro Rod Tips
Making Fire with a Spent Lighter