Source of fire is a key equipment for every outdoor adventure, and a flint is the most reliable one. I searched long for one that would meet my requirements, then I came across the Exotac polyStiker XL.
The handle is long and comfortable, it is possible to hold it with a whole hand. It was made from orange ABS, and the texture on the side ensures a firm grip even when the hand is wet, frozen or in a glove.
The striker has four sharp edges made of tungsten carbide – as a result it is very hard and retains sharpness very well. Its handle is long and comfortable, similarly to the handle it allows for a firm grip. As I mentioned earlier, the striker can be hidden in the handle and is accessed by pulling a string. The whole thing remains together thanks to a set of insets and recesses.
According to the manufacturer, the rod should last for around 10 000 uses depending on the striking technique (in reality it is difficult to achieve such result). It was made from an iron-cerium alloy and has an 8-mm diameter (over three times larger than in a standard model). The rod of the polyStriker is relatively soft – the material rubs off easily, which gives off a lot of sparks, but doesn’t last as long as the harder ones.
The handle of the polyStriker XL ensures a very comfortable grip even in gloves, which is especially valuable in this time of the year. At first you have to get used to the H-shaped striker, but it works very well. It might be also necessary to change the string for a longer one (mine had a string which effectively preventing me from striking). After dealing with these two issues, using the flint is a pleasure.
Overall, I am very satisfied with this model. Its price is quite high, but at least you know what you’re paying for. If you’d be thinking about buying I’d go for the larger version, polyStriker XL, as the small one won’t last long (unless it is treated as a back-up).