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5 Ways To Start A Fire Without A Match Or A Lighter

Posted by Raine Vergara on

5 Ways To Start A Fire Without A Match Or A Lighter

With the use of matches, a lighter or lighter fluid, creating a fire nowadays is as easy as 1,2,3.. But if you love camping and spending time outdoors, learning how to build a fire from scratch is a must. It would be even better if you learn how to start one using primitive methods, when conventional sources are unavailable.

You never know when you'll need this important skill and it would help tremendously if you were to find yourself in an emergency or survival situation. Fire allows you to cook food, heat (and sterilize) water, and it can be your source of light and warmth as well.

But before we delve into some primitive methods of creating fire, let's quickly run through the important steps of preparation:

© UCO Outdoor Essentials
  • Gather Tinder - To be able to light a fire successfully, you have to start small. Tinder are small dry pieces of fuel which is responsible for early ignition. You can use small stems, tiny sticks from dead branches, wood shavings, dry grasses, fibrous barks, dryer lint etc. as tinder. Remember, the drier the tinder, the better!
  • Gather Kindling - Kindling are small dry pieces of wood (about the size of a pencil) that will catch the fire from burning tinder, making the flames bigger. Again, the drier, the better so try to shave off the outer layers to get to the innermost part which is usually the driest.
  • Gather Firewood - Now, the wood is the last tier and their job is to make the fire bigger and last longer. Be sure you stock up on kindling and firewood if you want a long-lasting bonfire.

Building a fire through primitive methods takes practice and patience. More often than not, these methods are more theoretical than practical. Just remember to take necessary precaution when practicing these methods - find an open area away from fuel sources but with a nearby water supply.

The Fire Plow

What you need:

  • Fireboard - a flat piece of wood with a 6-8-inch groove, preferably sotol, cedar, hibiscus, juniper and other soft woods
  • Plow - 2-3-inch flat piece of wood with an angled head that fits in the fireboard's groove

How to make a fire:

Hold the plow against the fireboard at a 45-degree angle and slowly begin moving it up and down along the groove. The friction should create a burning coal.

The Hand Drill

© littleecofootprints.com

What you need:

  • Fireboard - a half-inch thick piece of flat, dry and dead softwood
  • Spindle - a piece of softwood about 18-24 inches long, ends sharpened slightly

How to make a fire:

Using a knife, create a small indentation on the fireboard that will fit the spindle. Place the board on top of leaves to collect the ember. Place both hands on the spindle, fit it into the burn-in hole then start rubbing your hands back and forth while pressing down to create friction.

The Glass/Metal Method

What you need:

  • Sunlight
  • Tinder
  • Glass or Metal such as mirror, eyeglasses, magnifying glass or soda can

How to make a fire:

The way this works is to concentrate the sunlight into a beam that will be hot enough to create a fire. Direct your metal or glass into the sun then place your tinder on the brightest part of the beam and wait for it to ignite.

The Plastic Method

© popularmechanics.com

What you need:

  • Sunlight
  • Tinder
  • Plastic like Ziploc or any other plastic bag , water bottle

How to make a fire:

This works similarly to the glass/metal method - the plastic will serve like a magnifying glass that will concentrate the sun's beam to create a fire. Fill the plastic bag or bottle with water (or any liquid) and twist it to form a liquid sphere. Make sure it doesn't break. Hold it onto the sun, working like a magnifying glass.
Again, place your tinder on the brightest part of the beam and wait for it to ignite.

The Battery and Steel Wool Method

What you need:

  • Steel wool
  • 2 AA batteries or a 9-volt battery
  • Tinder

How to make a fire:

Place a small amount of steel wool on top of a bundle of tinder. Put the 9-volt battery on top of the wool and it should immediately ignite. If you're using 2 AA batteries, tape them together to line up in series.

You would need to pull off a steel wool piece that will extend from the positive end of the first battery to the second battery's negative end to create a circuit, which should create sparks that will ignite the steel wool.

As mentioned, these methods are much more difficult and you shouldn't expect to build a fire successfully on the first try. Learn and practice (safely) a method or two above - it may save you in the great outdoors someday!

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