I love spark rods. These durable, yet affordable spark throwers will work in any temperature extreme, and even work after being wet. And while a butane lighter may work best in most situations (since an open flame ignites a wider range of tinder than sparks alone), a “Ferro rod” makes a great piece of backup gear. They’ve also been around for over a century. Ferrocerium was invented in 1903 by the chemist Carl Auer von Welsbach in Austria. This alloy produces hot sparks in excess of 3,000F when it’s scraped against a rough surface or sharp edge. The recipe for this alloy varies, but it’s generally 50 percent cerium, 25 percent lanthanum, 19 percent iron, with small amounts of praseodymium, neodymium, and magnesium.