The Fire Piston represents a remarkable combination of primitive yet sophisticated technology. Similar to the modern diesel engine, its operating principle is compression.
When molecules of air are forcefully compressed, they become hot. As the shaft of the fire piston is thrust into the cylinder, the air inside is compressed and raised to a temperature in excess of 800 degrees Fahrenheit (800F!) in a brief burst of energy.
The palm-sized device, constructed of metal or wood, is capable of instantly creating a burning ember with a single push of the piston. Because it creates ignition by compression, the fire piston is unaffected by water and will light dry tinder even after total submersion.
A glowing ember is more lasting and reliable than an isolated spark, like the ones created from fire steel or magnesium, and unlike a flame it is made stronger by moving air.
Open flames can easily be achieved with a fire piston in just a few second and with little more effort than lighting a match. Unlike other primitive methods, the fire piston can be used one-handed, requires minimal physical effort and it performs reliably even when soaking wet. The Fire Piston is simply one of the best fire making tools out there, especially in windy conditions.
Modern survivalists often carry fire steel or magnesium in their kits as a means for making fire. However, if you’re injured using these tools with one hand can be difficult if not impossible. Not to mention how fragile a spark or an isolated flame can be, as anyone who has attempted to light a campfire on a wet and windy day knows. Using a Fire Piston eliminates all of this.