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  • C.C. Weiss

Tiny 2-ounce fire multitool brings dual survival to your adventures


Overland Expo's focus may be largely on earth-exploring giants and burly, overbuilt hardware, but the show does highlight its fair share of light, ultra-portable outdoor gadgets. One of our favorite finds this year was the Fire Flute from Outdoor Element. Despite not even pushing the scale needle to 50 grams, the tool packs a fire starter rod, watertight cache and emergency whistle in a sleek body about the size of a Sharpie.


In the interest of full disclosure, we didn't actually see the Fire Flute – or Outdoor Element – at Overland Expo West this year. However, what we saw in the show's materials was a description of a company that "sparks confident outdoor adventure through innovative gear." Consider our interest piqued.


Upon pulling up the company's website, we found a host of simple but clever survival gadgets and tools, including a dual-purpose pot-gripper/gas canister poker we covered a few years back. The most interesting of the bunch, we'd say, was the Fire Flute. First, because ...what the shit's a "fire flute." And, second, because it immediately lives up to its curious, compelling name.


Also, we're suckers for fire-starting tools in general.



The Fire Flute looks like any other ferro rod at first glance, complete with a grippy handle at the end of a 3/8-in-long (9.5-mm) stick of ferrocerium. That aluminum handle is a bit longer than those on many other ferro rods, giving it the extra space to house an empty tubular cache and an emergency whistle.

The end of the handle keeps the whistle, good for 120 decibels, readily accessible for use while the entire handle body unscrews to reveal a tiny watertight storage capsule designed for holding tinder. Outdoor Element includes three of its own wax-coated cotton tabs for the purpose, and the cache is sized to hold one of them.


While it includes a hole for adding a small lanyard, the Fire Flute lacks the lanyard with metal striker often lashed to ferro rods, perhaps to avoid getting in the way of the whistle. It does, however, pack a striker to complete its fire-starting capabilities – the small, rectangular plate sitting behind the pocket clip mounting. You don't have to undo the tiny screws to access it, simply striking the ferro with the edge of the plate to send sparks flying into the fire tab or alternative tinder. Outdoor Element estimates a burn time of four to five minutes for each tab.



So if and when the wilderness has beaten you down into an all-out survival situation, you can get through the night with a warming fire and whistle for help in the morning (or throughout the night and day, depending on how dire the situation is). The Fire Flute's 1.7-oz (48-g) weight helps it earn its place on even a pared-down ultralight packing list.


Products associated with Overland Expo tend to come at a premium, sometimes rising into the seven-figure range, but the Fire Flute is at the very opposite end of the spectrum at a reasonable US$24.95, a price that's quite competitive with similar products like the $32.95 tinder-stowing Exotac Nanostriker (no whistle).

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