SOLKOA Faststrike and Fastfire Tinders

By Dr. Jim and Mary Clary

SOLKOA Faststrike and Fastfire Tinders
Illustration courtesy of SOLKOA Survival Systems, Inc.

Like most mountain hunters, I have carried and used about every commercial and homemade fire starter out there. Some worked better than others, but they all failed in one or both of the following: Either they did not burn long enough or they did not burn hot enough to get a good fire started under adverse conditions.

I say adverse conditions, as just about anyone can get a decent fire going under optimum conditions. However, after fifty years in the mountains, I rarely faced optimal conditions when it came to getting a fire started. Everything was either too damp, or it was too windy, or I was too cold to give it my best effort. Okay, the latter is a lame excuse, but if you think about it, most of us have been there at one time or another.

When we visited Bart Combs and Jeff Schneider at the 2014 SHOT Show and watched them demonstrate the SOLKOA Fastfire Tinders, all we could think about was, "where were these when we needed them years ago in Colorado and Wyoming?" Although we now live in New Mexico, the Pecos and Gila Wilderness areas are just as rough as anything up north.

That being said, the Fastfire Tinders are now a permanent part of our backpack equipment. Why? There are two reasons. They burn hotter than anything we have ever used, up to 1,300-degrees F. A full marshmallow sized cube will burn for 10-12 minutes, but you rarely need to use the whole thing. When it is dry, cut the cube into eight pieces and use one piece. It will burn very nicely, even in a five MPH, wind for 2-3 minutes. If your kindling is a bit damp, use a 1/4 of the Tinder and you will have your fire going in no time.

The extra added benefit of the Fastfire kit is the striker. It is a piece of hacksaw blade that works fantastically on the striking rod and, if you need it, you have a mini-saw for cutting your kindling.

Faststrike / Fastfire Features and Specifications

  • Kit: 2 Fastfire cubes, 1 Faststrike
  • 2015 MSRP: $16.95


  • Size: 3-1/2 in. x 1/4 in. rod; 3 in. x 1/2 in. hacksaw blade striker
  • Weight: 1 oz.
  • Rod and blade attached by 17 in. type 1 nylon cord
  • Good for 5,000 strikes
  • Rod includes rubber grip

Fastfire cubes

  • Size: 1 in. x 1 in.
  • Weight: 0.2 oz.
  • Generates a sustained flame up to 1300-degrees F
  • Water resistant, burns even when wet
  • Wind resistant
  • Smokeless and odorless
  • Ignites easily from any spark or any flame
  • Low flashpoint of 140-degrees F
  • Individually packaged in heavy-duty foil laminate for long shelf-life and durability
  • Left whole, one cube will burn vigorously for 10-12 minutes
  • Divided into eight pieces each piece will for burn 2-3 minutes
  • Once extinguished, Fastfire material cools to the touch within seconds

We do not often quote lines from manufacturers, but in this case we will make an exception, as it is true and pretty well sums up our feelings on the other SOLKOA products we have used:

"SOLKOA Survival Systems products are derived from SOLKOA Inc. professional line of military contingency tools and kits developed and refined by our principals for nearly three decades. Tested under the harshest conditions by those with the toughest jobs in the most dangerous places, our products blend a no-nonsense focus on function, durability and flexibility while reducing unnecessary weight and bulk."

With an MSRP of $16.95, the kit is a real bargain. We recommend that you also order an additional package of four Fastfire cubes for $7.95. This is one product that we can confidently say: Don't leave home without it. You can checkout all of the SOLKOA products on their website:

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Copyright 2015 by Jim Clary and/or All rights reserved.