EXOTAC nanoSTRIKER and MATCHCAP Firestarter Review

Our family does a fair amount of camping during the year, nothing steep and deep, but out in the sticks none the less. Camping,  my Air Force survival training, being a diehard MythBuster fan, etc., I try to be prepared for nearly any circumstance. That being said, EXOTAC has several products that not only adds to one’s preparedness but your inner pyromaniac as well. EXOTAC has created the MATCHCAP and nanoSTRIKER tools engineered to enable you to create fire when and where you need it.

Both the MATCHCAP and nanoSTRIKER are made of aircraft aluminum, very well machined, and waterproof. These tools are definitely rugged, designed to withstand the rigors of tough travels.

EXOTAC nanoSTRIKER Firestarter

The nanoSTRIKER is a collapsible, self-contained ferrocerium fire-starter. At under 3.5 inches long and less than a quarter of an inch in diameter, the nanoSTRIKER is easily taken with you on your keychain, bag or pack.

Features:

  • Patent Pending Collapsible self-contained fire starter
  • Ultra-portable for keyring and pocket carry
  • Ferrocerium rod works when wet
  • Lightweight 6061 aircraft aluminum body
  • Stainless steel 440C striker hardened to >50HRC
  • Replaceable ferrocerium rod
  • More than 1000 fire-starting strikes!

Included in box:

  • Split ring for keyring carry
  • nanoSTRIKERtm with ferrocerium rod
  • Extra set of o-rings
  • Instruction Manual

Specifications:

  • Length: 85mm
  • Diameter: 9.7mm
  • Weight: 14.5g

The nanoSTRIKER is comprised of three parts; handle, ferrocerium rod/holder, and stainless steel striker. There is an o-ring on the handle and striker to keep the interior dry. In less than ideal conditions, the nanoSTRIKER works when wet as well.

The ferrocerium rod/holder screws into the handle in both directions, for both storage and use. According to EXOTAC the ferrocerium rod is good for more than 1000 strikes.

While being a very well made tool, the nanoSTRIKER is a relatively simple device. Of course, we (the Gadgeteer Kid & I) had to see whether or not it would actually work.

Well, it was surprisingly easy. The GK & I set up our Christmas tree from the Holidays (it needed to be burned anyways), placed a few dry twigs and a bit of cedar under the dead tree and away we went. The nanoSTRIKER produced a good amount of sparks, enough to light the twigs.

Which, as you can see, eventually lit the entire tree on fire (actually, insanely fast. I can not image a dry tree catching fire in a house). Here at the-gadgeteer, we do not promote lighting things on fire (while admittedly fun), but the nanoSTRIKER is a great device/tool/gadget to have around if you are in a tight spot and need to light a fire.

EXOTAC MATCHCAP Firestarter

Instead of creating fire like the nanoSTRIKER, the EXOTAC MATCHCAP is an aluminum, waterproof container engineered to keep your matches dry and safe. Because let’s face it, lighting a match is definitely easier than starting a fire with a spark.

The cylinder provides several different types of striking surfaces enabling you to ignite various types of matches.

Features:

  • Patent pending waterproof, safe and redundant match striker design
  • Works with both safety and strike anywhere matches
  • Holds matches up to 72mm in length
  • Square threaded cap for maximum durability
  • Unique lanyard attachment allows for two 550 paracord loops
  • Waterproof to depths >5 meters
  • Lightweight aircraft grade 6061 aluminum construction Anodized and laser engraved for durability
  • Unique knurl for grip and use with strike anywhere matches

Package Includes:

  • Match case
  • Extra O-rings
  • Extra match strikers
  • Instruction Manual

Specifications:

  • Length: 80mm
  • External Diameter: 23mm
  • Internal Diameter: 15mm throat tapers to 20mm at base
  • Weight: 26g
  • Capacity:
    • REI Stormproof Matches: 12
    • NATO / Lifeboat Matches: 16
    • Kitchen Matches: 20

The MATCHCAP is nicely sized to take with you most anywhere, keep in your day-pack, or in the glove box of your vehicle. The lanyard loop on the cap is a great way to attach the match holder where ever you want it or attach a cord as well.

The base of the MATCHCAP is where the abrasive, sandpaper-like material is for igniting strike-anywhere matches.

In this picture I have 11 REI stormproof matches jammed in there, 7 facing out and 4 facing inward. I might have gotten 12 crammed in there but it would have been a pain and difficult to get them out when needed….not a big deal. The o-ring protects the matches and the replaceable phosphorus striker pad within from moisture and/or liquids.

Overall, both the nanoSTRIKER and MATCHCAP are great tools that do just what they promise, enable you to start a fire when and where you need it. At under $30 each, these well made gadgets are reasonably priced for the quality, size, and function they serve.

 

Product Information

Price:nanoSTRIKER: $26.95 MATCHCAP: $24.95
Manufacturer:EXOTAC
Pros:
  • Great construction design
  • Well machined/made
  • Waterproof
  • Nicely sized, transportable
Cons:
  • None
Posted in: Outdoor Gear, Reviews

6 comments… add one

  • Sam March 15, 2010, 12:50 pm

    Both of these cost more than twice as much as a Spark-Lite one handed firestarter with a supply of Tinder-Quick Fire Tab tinders (http://www.fourseasonssurvival.com/Spark-Lite-Outdoor-Survival-Firestarter-40Hunter-Orange41_p_109.html); doug Ritter evaluated it here (http://www.equipped.org/firestrt.htm).

    Also, the Sparkie Fire Starter (http://www.ultimatesurvival.com/camping-hiking/SparkieFireStarter.php) is also one-handed and available for significantly less, it’s a much smaller version of the BlastMatch evaluated in Ritter’s review above.

    Ritter subsequently designed the Aeromedix Pocket Survival Pack (http://www.aeromedix.com/product-exec/parent_id/14/category_id/15/product_id/1070/nm/Pocket_Survival_Pak_Doug_Ritter) which includes the Spark-Lite and Fire Tabs, and costs less than 50% more.

    1
  • Maik March 15, 2010, 1:13 pm

    I really like them, though the swedish firesteel still does it’s job and has some more in it… I do have that one and what I don’t like is the amount of packaging for this little thing

    2
  • Todd March 15, 2010, 2:30 pm

    Why do the people on Survivor never have one of these?

    3
  • BaldSpot March 15, 2010, 10:23 pm

    I went on a 1-month, semi-survival trip with a group out in the deserts and mountains. I brought a steel / magnesium thing I got from the Boy Scouts store. It was like the “Emergency Fire Starter” at Amazon currently selling for $4.19. Really small, totally effective. I started fires instantly while everyone else beat their knives on rocks with no results. I was the hero.

    4
  • Fred March 19, 2010, 5:12 am

    I hope that TSA knows about the nanoSTRIKER and things like it or some idiot will set his shoes on fire at 30,000 feet.

    Like BaldSpot, I love the $4 fire starter I got years ago – where you shave off some magnesium then light it by striking the steel on the other side. It’s cool because it’s cheap and it works. On the other hand (as a gadget guy) I really like these EXOTAC things too. Bottom line with either technology is that if you don’t know how to start a fire – with tinder, kindling, and fuel, devices probably won’t help you too much. Practice your technique before you embarrass yourself in front of your friends :)

    5
  • Dan L November 5, 2011, 9:48 am

    I got one after reading reviews and its smaller than it looks in pictures. always with me on my keychain and works great. only negative is price. Yes, its expensive, but will last a long time (with replacement rods). i got it here http://www.summit-lite.co.uk The titanium model is ridiculously priced to save a few grams though.

    6

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