Six Weird Ways to Start a Survival Fire Without a Lighter or Matches
The times when you need a
With a Flashlight
You may not have a lighter or matches, but maybe you have a flashlight. As this video from
demonstrates, that'll do! Start by taking your flashlight apart and removing the silver cone/cup that's used to reflect light from the bulb. Now, pinch off a small amount of dry tinder, ball it up, and shove into the small, bottom hole of the silver cone/cup. Then point the wide part at the sun so the light bounces off and focuses on the tinder.
Once the tinder starts smoking, remove it from the cone/cup and add it to the rest of your tinder. Blow on it gently until you have a nice ember going, then add it to your fire kindling. This method requires sunlight to do it, but you should be making your fire before the sun goes down, anyway.
With an Aluminum Can
First, find a soda can. Maybe it's yours that you brought along on your excursion, or maybe you find some litter out in the bush. Once you've got your can, you want to polish the bottom of it. To do this, you can use chocolate like in the video above from the
Howcast Youtube channel
you can also use toothpaste or clay
. The latter being something you can easily find out in the wild.
When the bottom is nice and shiny-you may have to polish it a few times-hold it out in the sunlight. Try a few angles and see if you can focus the reflected light on a particular spot. Now place your tinder in that spot and let the sun do its thing. Once the tinder is smoking, hold it and blow on it gently to get an ember going, then add it to your kindling.
With a Gum Wrapper and Battery
Have some gum in your pack? Have a flashlight or other device that has a AA or AAA battery? You have everything you need to start a fire. In the video above, youtuber
The King of Random
shows you how.
Start by having a piece of gum and saving the metallic wrapper. Cut the wrapper into three strips, each with a thin section in the middle and two thick ends. Now take one of the strips and touch the metal side of the strip ends on both ends of the battery. The center of the strip should ignite so you can quickly light some tinder.
With Steel Wool and Battery
This method of starting fire is more useful in an urban survival situation since it requires you to have both steel wool and a 9V battery. But with the ever-present threat of a nuclear apocalypse, it still might be useful to know. Also, steel wool can be ignited under almost any weather condition, so it's a method that's almost guaranteed to work.
The video above, from The Outsider , explains how to do it step by step. Start with some super fine grade steel wool and any brand of 9V battery. Fluff up some steel wool then stick the fibers into your tinder bundle, then touch the two connectors on the 9V battery to the steel wool and watch it ignite. While the steel wool burns, blow on the tinder bundle so it catches fire, then add it to your kindling. Just make sure you don't breathe in the smoke from the burning steel wool.
Yep, ice. In the video above, youtuber Tim Jones shows you how to take a chunk of ice from a creek and use it to start a small fire. To do it yourself, all you need is a knife, some tinder, and some serious patience.
Start by finding some clear ice in the creek, river, pond, or lake nearby. Now carefully cut or break out a large chunk of it with your knife. Once you've got a nice big chunk, start carving it down with your knife until you just have a large chunk of clear ice. Here's the not so fun part: use your hands to rub around the ice and melt it down into a clear chunk that looks like a lens. Then place your ice lens so it's pointing at your tinder and wait for the sunlight to ignite it. Jones uses some black powder in his tinder bundle to speed up the process, but if your tinder is dry enough, it should light just fine.
With Water and a Plastic Bag
Ah, water. Fire's mortal enemy-unless you use it the way The King of Random does in the video above. Once again, you're making a lens you can use to focus the sunlight and light a small amount of tinder.
Gather your powdery, dry tinder, then fill your plastic bag with water from a nearby source (don't waste your drinking water on this). Now carefully twist the bag so it turns into a sphere of water. Once you've got your sphere, hold the watery orb above your tinder like a magnifying glass and try to focus the sunlight on it. With some patience, the tinder will ignite and you can use it to light your kindling and start a much larger fire. Thanks, water!