How to use the EXOTAC nanoSPARK Fire Starter

exotac nanospark
black exotac nanospark
The EXOTAC nanoSPARK is only 2.7″ tall and 0.5″ in diameter.

EXOTAC released their new nanoSPARK in the summer of 2017 on Kickstarter, having no problems meeting their goal. Once we got the nanoSPARK in our hands, it was easy to see why. Designed and manufactured in the USA, the nanoSPARK is a small, compact fire-starter that gets the job done. 

Its features include:

  • Easy one-handed use
  • The oversize and exposed flint wheel allows it to be used with gloves
  • Has a built-in, waterproof tinder storage capsule, so you always have emergency dry tinder
  • Works even if it gets wet. A few strong blows to the flint wheel is all you need to get it working
  • The flint is completely replaceable, so you can maintain your nanoSPARK for many years

When it comes to fire-starters, the options are almost endless and for the sake of this article, we aren’t going to get into the specifics of the nanoSPARK. We are simply going to stick to the use of it.

Now, as simple as it is to use this 0.6 oz self-contained fire-starter, it’s good to get an idea of how things work before you make a purchase (hey, we are the same way). So, let’s take a few minutes for a quick overview.

I’ve also created a short video if you prefer.

Step 1: Get your tinder and prep your wood

exotac nanospark with tinder
The nanoSPARK stores quickLIGHT tinder tabs, or any other small tinder in its waterproof handle.

Screw the body off to detach the tinder capsule from the “head” of the fire-starter. Remove one of the tinder tabs and reattach the body to the head. The nanoSPARK is designed to be used with high surface-area tinders and works great with the included quickLIGHT tinder tabs. Coincidentally, the nanoSPARK has a built-in, waterproof tinder capsule that can house a single quickLIGHT tinder tab. Most cotton-based tinders will work great for this fire-starter and a cotton ball with a little petroleum jelly catches sparks really well.

Make sure your smaller kindling and fuelwood are near you and prepped so you’re ready once the tinder is lit.

Step 2: Fluff the tinder

At this point, simply use the flint wheel to fluff the tinder. You will basically use a combing motion to maximize the surface area to facilitate an easy light.

Step 3: Let the sparks fly

EXOTAC nanoSPARK with spark in hands
The nanoSPARK has a large flint wheel, making it easy to use for people with large hands or if you have gloves on.

Put the nanoSPARK in your hand and make sure to orient the nanoSPARK in a way that allows your thumb to advance the flint wheel in the proper direction. EXOTAC made this user-friendly by the downward arrow on the side of this tool.

EXOTAC nanoSPARK lighting a cotton ball
EXOTAC nanoSPARK lighting a cotton ball

Give the flint wheel a good stroke and let the sparks fly. We have rarely had to strike it more than once to get a flame with the quickLIGHT tinder tabs or a petroleum jelly covered cotton ball. 

nanospark lighting camping stove
The nanoSPARK makes a great back-up fire starting tool.

Now, if you are building a fire you want to make sure to have everything ready to go ahead of time, but you’ll find that it’s a quick way to get a fire going.

You will find this tool super easy to use and very user-friendly. We hope this article highlights the simplicity of the nanoSPARK and takes the edge off of buying something new you haven’t tested.

nanospark color choices

What type of fire-starter do you typically carry? What made you decide on the one you picked?

Cody Martin

With over 18 years of federal law enforcement, training, and physical security experience, Cody focuses his time nowadays on both consulting and training. He regularly advises individuals, groups, multinational corporations, schools, houses of worship, and NGOs on security threats while conducting customized training as needed.

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