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Reviews > Cook and Food Storage Gear > Fire Starters > Exotac nanoSTRIKER > Owner Review by Ray Estrella

Exotac nanoSTRIKER fire starter
By Raymond Estrella

April 11, 2010


NAME: Raymond Estrella
EMAIL: rayestrellaAThotmailDOTcom
AGE: 49
LOCATION: Orange County, California, USA
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 210 lb (95.30 kg)

I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, plus many western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round in all weather, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I make a point of using lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. Doubting I can ever be truly UL, I try to be as near to it as I can yet still be comfortable. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring/chilling. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I am usually with brother-in-law Dave.

The Product

Manufacturer: Exotac Inc
Web site:
Product: nanoSTRIKER
Year manufactured: 2009
MSRP: (US) $26.95
Weight listed: N/A
Actual weight: 0.5 oz (14 g)
Length listed: N/A
Actual length closed: 3.4 in (86 mm)
Actual length assembled: 4.2 in (107 mm)
Color: Black, also available in Gunmetal


Product Description

The Exotac nanoSTRIKER fire starter is a small compact, collapsible fire starter.

Out of the box the nanoSTRIKER looks like a small machined aluminum rod with a steel lanyard-compatible end. A bit of exploration will show that the nanoSTRIKER unscrews into three pieces as seen below.

Hey, it comes apart. Cool

The steel top becomes the striker for the nanoSTRIKER. The "grip" part is 303 stainless steel that has been polished and bead blasted. The "striker" part is made of dark 440C steel and is finished in a heat-treat oven to bring its hardness to more than 50 Rockwell C.

The 6061 aircraft aluminum body becomes the "handle" of the fire starter. The machined knurling makes for a slip-free grip.

The last item that slid out of the body when taking the nanoSTRIKER apart is the ferrocerium rod. This is the part that makes sparks on modern fire strikers. The ferrocerium rod screws onto the handle to make the assembled fire starter seen below. Exotac says that the rod is rated for over 1000 strikes, and they sell replacement rods for the nanoSTRIKER. The nanoSTRIKER has o-rings at all the screw junctions to keep water out, but the ferrocerium rod will spark while wet too.

Ready for action. Strike!

Field Data

I have been carrying the nanoSTRIKER on every single dayhike and backpacking trip since January 2010. It has been as far south as the California/Mexico border and as far north as Tehachapi Pass. I have had it at elevations from near sea level to 11,500 ft (3505 m) on the peak of Mt San Gorgonio. Temperatures encountered have run from 14 to 70 F (-10 to 21 C).


I was first alerted as to the availability of the nanoSTRIKER after reading of it on a gear forum. When I saw how small the nanoSTRIKER was I knew I had to try it.

My first impression upon getting it was that it is an elegantly and smartly designed fire striker. The construction is flawless. There is not a sharp edge on it anywhere when it is collapsed. It is flat good looking to boot. My old fire starter is downright ugly compared to it.

I keep my fire striker attached to my emergency whistle. They are the two things I want with me all the time in the field and the nanoSTRIKER is much better for carrying in a pocket. The integrated striker lets me ditch the hanging striker of the unit I have been carrying for seven years too, so I have one less thing hanging from my whistle. The 50% weight reduction does not hurt either.

While I do not normally use my fire striker to light my stoves, just carrying it as a back-up to my lighter, I figured I better use this some to make sure that it works.

Well, it works quite well. I have just started playing with alcohol stoves and the nanoSTRIKER lights them easily. In fact the 324 F (180 C) sparks are melting little spots on the aluminum stoves! Here is a picture using the nanoSTRIKER at Lake Morena County Park as I get ready to boil water for dinner with my Trail Designs Caldera ULC. Notice the smoke curling up.

Come on baby light my fire

My brother-in-law Dave and I played with it at our office lighting Kleenex and lint balls on fire. We big boys never do lose our pyromaniac tendencies. We just start calling it "testing". Now where are some ants…?

I am completely happy with the nanoSTRIKER and plan to be carrying it for many years to come. I see that the company makes a match carrier, something I use more for camping in Minnesota than backpacking. I may get one of them to see if it has the same quality and thought put into it as the nanoSTRIKER does. If I do I shall get a review in here so check back often. ;-)

Disclaimer: no insects were hurt in the writing of this review.

Ray Estrella
"I measure happiness with an altimeter"

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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