When you’re in the wild, it’s clear that you need to do everything you can to stay alive even if you’re just on a routine camping trip. You might not assume you’ll be in a survival situation like this but it’s possible. It is likely that you assume you’ll just pull out a normal lighter or some matches to get a fire going, right? This is clearly a good option if you have them around. However, it could be that you lose them when you get caught in a survival situation. This is why knowing how to start a fire without matches is a must.
If these issues arise, you need to know numerous different ways to start a fire. If you don’t, it could mean your life. Is that something you’re willing to risk? If not, learning fire-starting methods is a must.
We know these might be difficult to just know, so we wanted to help you out as best we could by telling you of a few. The options we give you to choose from are the most efficient ways you can start a fire. All will be using either completely outdoor materials or small stuff you can find around the home. Perhaps, even both.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
5.) Battery & Steel Wool
While you’ll likely not find these in the wild, it’s possible that you might find them left behind by a camper. Perhaps, they’ll be scattered in two different places. Of course, you may have brought steel wool with you and randomly got into your survival situation.
Meanwhile, batteries, especially the kind best used for this…could be found in numerous different items. You can find them in flashlights, lanterns, and even small radios among other things. The beauty is that you’re not burning the battery, so it can always be reused.
When you rub a battery (especially a 9-volt battery and up) against steel wool, you’ll notice something interesting. You’ll want the pointed crome end to be used when rubbing it into the steel wool. This is what will hopefully create the chemical reaction we’re looking for.
You need to make sure it truly connects with the steel wool. As long as the battery has some juice in it, this should work. If it does, you’ll see the steel wool begin to glow a bit with red and even start to smoke. At this point, you want to get your battery out, and remember to have your tinder handy.
Once the tinder lights up with fire, you’ve now got a fire ready to go all without using one match or lighter. Of course, the probability you’ll have both of these at the same time is low. Yet if you’re stuck inside and are unable to get out for example, as long as you have a place to safely have a fire for warmth and cooking, this could be of use.
4.) Coke Can & A Chocolate Bar
While batteries and steel wool might be unlikely to have in your bag outdoors, it’s quite likely that a coke can and chocolate bar could be found. Either in your bag or outside due to terrible littering we need to end.
Of course, littering would have paid off in this situation. How can you create a fire with nothing more than a chocolate bar and coke can? To be honest, pretty much any can will do. It could be a beer can or even Pepsi can for all we care. We know, Pepsi and Coke Wars will happen in the comments. Bring it, nerds!
In any case, there is no chemical reaction here. Chocolate and Coke are not rivals. In fact, they can be quite good together. Especially in this situation, as we’re going to make a fire by pretty much using the sun.
First, polish the bottom of your can with chocolate. It needs to be enough to cover it while still leaving some silver. This chocolate polish essentially creates a mirror of sorts that will catch the sun’s rays. Toothpaste also can do the same job as chocolate in this situation.
You’ve now created a parabolic mirror that will catch the sunlight. Now, point the bottom of the can toward the sun while you have your tinder roughly an inch from the reflecting point. If you did everything correctly and the sun is out, you could see a flame start-up in a few seconds to a few minutes.
Pretty awesome, right? Yet your friends told you water was best in the outdoors. You showed them!
We know what you’re thinking, you already create a friction fire with a condom on, right? Well sadly, this will not help you in times when you need an actual fire. Plus, it’s likely the person you used it with was not feeling any flames either, Jerry.
In any case, you can get more use out of your condoms than using them to protect against STDs and possible pregnancy. In fact, they’re actually quite useful in creating fire without really working too hard to make it happen.
This can also be done if you happen to have balloons on you but not a condom. Essentially, the goal is the same either way. You fill them with water and tie them off on the opening. With a condom, you want to make proper focal lenses. But they clearly won’t be.
The best way to get a fire going is to squeeze the middle section of the filled condom to create two smaller lenses that aim at tinder. The sun will focus on the lens you’re creating and you could start a fire with this. Condoms are also unlikely to burn up from sunlight, as they are made to handle friction. Therefore, they’ll be made pretty tough.
With a balloon, you’ll simply have to make it as spherical as you can to get the sunlight to focus correctly as you need it to. You should be able to get a sharp circle of light.
Both need to be close to your tinder to work well, roughly 1 to 2 inches is best.
2.) Flint & Steel
While it is true that you can get sparks from banging certain rocks together, this is much harder than you might assume. Plus it takes a lot for this to happen, the right rocks, and much more.
However, using a flint rock and steel that you could likely get with your knife? Well, that can be perfect for getting the right type of sparks for your fire. We must admit that even this can be hard to accomplish and for the best results, you’ll need a charcloth.
Charcloth is something that you can create with a previous fire where you basically char-up a piece of cloth that you can store. No matter what, you can pull this thing out and it’ll catch any sparks on it to instantly begin to flame up.
You can still use flint and steel to get a fire on the right tinder bundle too. However, you’ll want it to be as dry as possible. We’d recommend you use something like hay, straw, or dried leaves to catch the spark. Due to being dry, no moisture will put out the flame before it’s able to do its job.
You’ll essentially strike the flint and steel together. The best way to do it is to use your steel as your main striker. However, depending on the steel, you could use the flint as the main striker too. It’s really up to you here.
If you’re not using random steel but rather, your knife, keep in mind you need to use the back of your knife for this. That means, don’t use the sharp end. Keep your hand protected at all times too.
1.) Bow Drill Method
Hand Drills and Bow Drills are both effective at making fire. However, hand drills can take a long time and they’ll expel a lot of energy to use. For those who have never done it before or happen to be novices, the Hand Drill can be quite difficult.
Bow Drills require less energy to work. Yet both are going to use friction to help you start a fire, of course. Most survivalists will tell you that bow drills are the best friction fire method anyway, so this is the main reason we’re going with it.
How do you use one? Simple. First, you’ll need a good stick that it’s hard yet possible to attach something to. You’ll also need some cordage and a fireboard will be needed too. You’ll use the cordage for your bow while the fireboard can be made from smaller, split firewood.
You’ll also need a socket. This will be the thing that goes on top of your stick to keep it in place, which is crucial. It’ll also keep in place while allowing it to freely move with the drill. You can likely use something you’ll have on you for this, such as a spoon.
If you don’t have a spoon, then a flat rock or some type of rock that caves in slightly would be perfect. Another piece of wood that you could make a hole in with your knife could also work too. There are many options. Using spit or especially sap with these options helps to offer a strong lubricant that’ll keep your spin.
Make your bow, which should only be as long as your arm. Attach your cordage to a strong but flexible piece of wood. Cordage could be a shoelace, rope, or anything that you have similar to this.
For your fireboard, cut a V-Shaped notch and create an opening adjacent to it in the fireboard itself. Now, underneath this notch you’ve created, place the tinder you plan to use.
Now, simply string up the spindle by catching the spindle in the loop of your bowstring. Then place one end of the spindle in the fireboard while you apply pressure on the other end (the top) with your socket. This is when you begin sawing, just like you’d saw anything else.
At this point, you have what amounts to a mechanical drill that’s made from outdoor materials.
Once you’ve got everything ready, you want to saw while making sure your spindle rotates quickly for you. All of this needs to be done until you’ve created an ember. Once you have it, make sure it’s dumped onto your tinder then you blow on it to make sure the smoke is going everywhere.
If everything works, you should see your tinder flame up and now you have a fire ready to go!