Campfire Make Fire Start Fire Camp CampingYour ability to start a fire without a match has a high value. As an example, think about it. Imagine your bug out bag and fire starting materials outside your reach. They’re miles away. To make matters even more stressful, you can’t get to them in the moment you need them most.
This could be the moment when your understanding and skills take on life saving value. If by some chance, you are able to start a fire without that gear, then guess what? The knowledge in your head has just become more precious than your gear.
So would not it make sense to know as many fire making alternatives as possible? What I have done in this article is listing fourteen ways to start a survival fire with no matches. I’m not saying that you must pull off these at the same time. But, it’s possible that only one of these methods might be perfect for your emergency situation.
To assist you make better sense of them, there are 5 classes or basic techniques. So let’s jump in.
Friction based fire making is the oldest of all of the techniques. Problem is that it’s also the hardest to master. You have got to have the right technique and the ideal wood. Preferred woods include aspen, willow, cottonwood and juniper.
So here is how it works. There is a spindle that sits on a flame board. The spinning of the spindle creates particles that generate heat. As soon as they reached 800 degrees, a coal starts to glow and form. OK, that is it. And here are the three methods of friction based fire making.
Hand Drill
The hand drill method is just like the Bow & Drill except there’s no bow. This technique takes sheer determination. With this and the Fire Plough, as soon as smoke appears, start looking for the glowing ember.
Fire Plough
This consists of 2 parts. The base and the stick. The base has a channel in it that the rod goes back and forth in. You simply push hard and keep pushing back and forth until you see smoke.
The most famous of the “friction” methods. This is the one we think about the most. Here is how it works.
1. Build the bow with timber that is about the size of your thumb. You have to have some curve and play in it.
2. Get some string or a shoelace. Tie to each end of the bow.
3. Get a thicker piece of wood for the”spindle”. Put a round tip on one end and a point on the other end. Create a”spindle block”. Carve an indentation on one side to hold the spindle. Create an ember block. Cut notches in it to allow embers fall through.
6. Now make a”tinder bundle”.
Fire Craft Type 2: Attack Method
The”attack” method is even older than the friction method. Even cavemen had bits of flint laying around.
This is older than the friction system. Neanderthal caves are discovered with flints laying near fire pits. The good part of this, is that it doesn’t matter if your ignition creating tools get wet. The downside? Butif you have some char cloth in your kit, then it may go faster than you’d expect. Although the method is simple, there are a couple twists to the theme.
Here’s how it works. Place your tinder in front of you. Start striking the steel against the flint towards the tinder. Keep striking until your tinder catches a spark.
Stone and Screwdriver In cases like this, you want to get quartz as your stone. The steel gets replaced with a flathead screwdriver. And again, when you have some char cloth on your kit to catch the sparks, you will be golden.
Fire Craft Type 3: Stress Based
Of all the methods which exist, this is the strangest. Well, perhaps not the strangest, but certainly interesting. I am not sure I’d like to lug around a stone and screwdriver around in my bug out bag, but a fire piston? Yeah.
It’s significant because the parts are foolproof. The operation is simple. All you need is the tube, the piston and a few char cloth. Press the piston immediately into the tube, and then await the char cloth to demonstrate an ember.
Fire Craft Type 4: Lens Methods Remember taking a magnifying glass and lighting a leaf on fire from the sun? Same idea. The only difference is the lens. In all these 5 techniques, the lens differs.
Also, if you are using paper as kindling, try to find paper that has dark colours or black printing on the paper. Black captures heat quicker. So this is only going to help your fire starting attempts, and make things move a bit quicker.
Another suggestion for you. You will need the sun for these to work. No sun? No lens based fire starting. Sorry.
Magnifying Glass
A 2″ magnifying glass reduces the sun’s rays to 1/32 of an inch ring. That’s a reduction of 60x. That means the focal point will be 60x hotter than the surface of the lens.
Just aim the lens in the sun and watch the focal point behind the lens. Place your tinder in the focal point and watch for smoke.
Balloon Method
This one is a take-off of the lens process. Balloons need to be clear or white. Fill with water, and place as you would the magnifying glass. You’re seeking the suns focal point.
Ice Method
This is one that you’d never imagine, but it works. The key here is to add a little something to the kindling to kick start it. Also, something such as black powder, wet fire tinder or fatwood should do just fine on the kindling side of things.
Another twist on this is to produce your own ice lens. Get a bowl, fill it with water, and freeze it. Once it’s frozen, you’ve got a lens shaped thing.
This is one strange method if you ask me. The idea is to earn the bottom of a coke can so shiny, that it will reflect the sun’s rays onto the tinder. The secret is to shine up the coke can with chocolate.
Just a little disclaimer before moving forward with this one. Do not eat the chocolate after burnishing the coke can alloy. You might get a mouth full of metal.
Water Bottle Method
Another twist on the lens method. Here, the key is to fill the jar with water that is as clear as you can get it. The bottle should have a round edge near the top. This is where the lens effect will occur.
Fire Craft Type 5: Electronic Type When you mix fires and electricity, somebody’s going to get hurt. Please be careful with these approaches. And don’t begin plugging things into the wall sockets.
The idea here is about linking the terminals on the 9volt battery. If you do it with steel wool, then the steel wool will catch fire. The key is to have kindling and tinder on hand ready to capture those initial sparks in the steel wool.
Just make sure you have a couple of batteries available, because once they are out of power, you’ve got nothing left. Also, when you package them together, ensure that the battery is wrapped or packaged. You do not want it to accidentally rub up against the steel wool and start a fire in your survival kit.
This is my favorite. You’ll need salt, toothpaste, toothpicks, some wire and a spoon or knife.
What is happening here is that. The potato with a few ingredients will act as a battery. So here’s how you create the”battery”.
Cut your potato in half. On one half, cut out an indentation about the depth of a spoon. Put a mixture of salt and tooth paste in the indentation and mix it up.
With the toothpicks, punch holes in the other half of the potato and insert the wires through the holes. Put both the halves together and”fasten” with the tooth picks.
Place cotton or light tinder on one of the wires. Then wait 5 minutes. At the end of 5 minutes, tough the other wire to the first one… and see!
Pencil Fire Starter
Once I was jump starting a car and suddenly the wires got hot. That is because there was a short in the wires. This is a twist on that scenario. All you do is choose a pencil and connect it to both leads on a car battery. Watch out, as it is going to begin flaming pretty quickly.
Make sure you have glasses on, and don’t leave the pencil burning near the battery for long. Get it out of there immediately, because you don’t need the battery catching fire.
Closing Thoughts and the Next Step
Well, there we have it. All 14 methods for starting a fire without a match. Some are easier than others. Some need plenty of patience.
However, with all of these, there’s a common thread. The kindling/tinder. If you have char cloth or char rope available, your ability to catch the very little ember will be greatly increased.
Check it out and give these a try! And if you find any other interesting ways to start a fire, let me know!

How to start a fire

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