The Firefly fire starter is a handy upgrade for the iconic Swiss army knife

It is tough to improve on an outdoor product as revered and iconic as the Swiss army knife. After all, those multitools have been around for more than 120 years and have achieved legendary status due to their utilitarian design and function. But a new product called the Firefly recently launched on Kickstarter and it delivers a handy new feature that many hikers and backpackers are going to want to add to their knives.

The Firefly comes our way courtesy of Tortoise Gear, a company best known for its Solar water bags that can purify water using only heat from the sun. But while those products are focused on keeping hikers hydrated on the trail, the Firefly is designed to help achieve another basic need – fire.

Made from a custom sparking material developed by Tortoise Gear, the Firefly is a fire-starting tool that has had a lot of thought put into its design. For starters, it was specifically made to integrate nicely with many Swiss army knives by sliding into the slot that typically holds the toothpick. Yep, that’s right, quite a few of these knives include a toothpick amongst their menagerie of onboard tools, but since virtually no one actually uses the toothpick with any regularity, few outdoor enthusiasts would miss it if it went away. Thanks to its design, however, the Firefly can occupy the same space currently used to carry the toothpick, bringing much more useful functionality along with it.

Typically a fire starter of this kind is made from a blend of steel and ferrocerium, an alloy created specifically to generate sparks. But the designers behind the Firefly say they came up with their own material that has several advantages over traditional starters. For instance, it is reportedly twice as easy to ignite a flame using the Firefly, which can set tinder and other fuels ablaze from the sparks created by quickly running a sharp edge along its length. The material used to create the Firefly is also said to be stronger and more durable than a regular fire starter, which not only helps it to spark easier but prevents it from breaking in the backcountry too.

Tortoise Gear is hoping to raise $28,000 to get the Firefly into production, and just a few days into the crowdfunding campaign, it is already well on its way to reaching that goal. That means the product should go into production within a few months and begin shipping in January. At that time, it will be available in two sizes – regular and mini – and priced at $14 for a three-pack.

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