The Tinder HOT Box Solar Fire Starter is a unique and functional product in that it is both a fire starter and a water-tight tinder box with a rubber O-ring seal. The puck-shaped box offers generous storage space, and its seal proved to be waterproof during the cold March showers experienced during testing. When the sun popped back out, we clipped the tinder bracket onto the parabolic mirror piece and had instant tinder ignition once we achieved the right angle to the sun. We easily lit the char cloth that was provided in the kit, as well as cattail fluff and tulip poplar bark tinder.
The great thing about this fire starter is that there are no moving parts, no superfluous elements, and nothing to break or wear out. The polished mirror will keep making fire as long as you have fluffy tinder and shining sun.
The top of the Tinder HOT Box Solar Fire Starter was also serviceable as a signal mirror, which is a great side benefit and one more reason to have this in your survival kit. This solar fire starter is 2.625 inches in diameter, .725 inches thick, and it weighs 4 ounces. It is made from rugged aircraft aluminum, and it’s easy to handle with its knurled grip. The only difficulty in using this device is finding the right zenith and azimuth to hold the mirror. Just a moment of trial and error will get you lined up, though, and you’ll know it’s right when the smoke starts rolling off the tinder. The HOT Box retails for $39.95, and it is both fun and effective to use.