Substratum hiking boots incorporate emergency fire-starting kit


February 12, 2013

The Substratum boots include leather construction

The Substratum boots include leather construction

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Recently launched outdoor line Rocky S2V is more determined than the Discovery Channel to ensure that you're prepared to survive. For backcountry skiers and other winter explorers, it offers a jacket with an integrated survival kit. For hikers, it offers the Substratum boots, which can start a fire as well as pull you out of other jams.

Built into the inside sole of each Substratum boot is a small storage cubby. Owners could theoretically store all kinds of small items inside this pouch, but Rocky S2V designed it specifically for fire-starting equipment. One boot holds an Ultimate Survival Technologies Sparkie flint firestarter and the other boot holds two UST WetFire tinder cubes.

The Sparkie is a small, one-ounce emergency firestarter with a retractable flint bar. It is designed to be operated with one hand. Simply release the flint bar, press down with a little force and the bar rubs against the innards, creating a barrage of sparks. As its name implies, WetFire tinder is designed to be used in even the dampest conditions.

Like other Rocky S2V gear, the Substratum boots also come with the Survival Grenade (hanging in the background of the picture above). This little survival bundle wraps provisions like a small knife blade, needle and fishing equipment (hooks, swivels and weights) in 10 feet (3 m) of wound 550 paracord. You won't necessarily want to keep this on a boot, but it will fit easily into a pocket or attach to a jacket with the included carabiner.

Outside of their unique emergency-oriented design, the Substratums are just a burly pair of boots that should hold up to all kinds of day and multi-day adventures. They stand atop Vibram trek rubber outsoles, include AEROTHERM zoned insulation and PrimaLoft insulation, use Rocky's Hydro IQ waterproofing, and have waterproof leather and ripstop construction. The laces are 550 paracord.

Pricing for the Substratums starts at US$279.99.

Back in the summer of 2011, a pair of survival boots from Zapps Global, Inc. made a little noise in the media. Purportedly under development at the time, the boots claimed all kinds of survival advantages, including integrated strobe lights and an electronic fire-starting system. They sounded like fanciful vaporware at the time, and there hasn't been much word about them since – Zapp's website doesn't even appear to have been updated since that time. So up until those boots, or something like them, come to fruition, the Substratums appear to be the best option for starting fire with your feet.

Source: Rocky S2V

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

I wonder how the fire lighting kit will survive being dunked in water and sweat? These boots not to be worn on aircraft or while baggage being checked.


ah, yes...that's JUST what I want to do when I'm cold and wet in an emergency: remove my boots in order to start a fire! Idiots. Go watch some more episodes of Get Smart. One of those ideas is BOUND to be good! Really!

Bryan Paschke

actually Bryan, that may indeed be the first thing you do, if you want to live. If you fall through ice into water, the water will chill you so quickly you can die in a hurry. You need to get out of the wet clothes, because they are dropping your core temperature. Even after you have that small fire going, You may need to stand over it, naked as the day you were born, as you try to increase the fire, and dry out your clothes enough to block the wind. You will definitely need to pour the water out of your boots, and wring out your socks. And you will not care at all, that you look funny doing it. That kind of cold hurts.


When hiking weight is a big issue so I don't get it why it is such a great idea to make the boots heavier. You would have to lift those thingies with every step. Personally I would put a matchbox or a lighter and a couple of tampons in a ziplockbag and wear that in a pocket in my pants. But I suppose, for those inclined, it's an excellent place to have your stash...

Conny Söre
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