Lighting a fire without a source of flame, such as a lighter or matches, is very difficult even for experts. This is why most primitive societies keep a fire going constantly; starting from scratch every day is simply too much of a chore.
Primitive nomadic groups will even carry fire with them, usually in the form of smoldering coals, to avoid the hassle. However, if you’re caught out, here’s a few tried and tested ways to get a fire going.
1. Magnifying glass principle/ice lens
Popular with boy scouts and practical jokers, using a lens (possibly taken from a camera or binoculars) to pinpoint the sun’s rays on tinder is certainly doable, but can take a while. If you’re without a lens in a cold (but hopefully sunny) country, you can actually fashion a lens from ice if needed.
2. Car battery method
For when you’re trapped in the wilderness, but you got there by car. A fire needs a spark, and everyone knows the sparks jumper cables get from a car battery. If you can get that spark to catch on a ball of tinder, a little tender care will have your fire roaring in no time.
3. The fire plow & the bow and drill
The “rubbing two sticks together” principle stands for creating heat through friction by rubbing wood against wood. This can get quite laborious and complicated, so brevity necessitates the link.
4. Flint and steel
No self-respecting outdoorsman goes anywhere without flint and steel, which is probably the most economical and convenient way to light a fire. Matches and lighters are consumable and have to be replaced, whereas a flint and steel set can last almost indefinitely. They don’t care if they’re wet, either.
5. Beer can and chocolate/toothpaste
Use the chocolate, toothpaste or a powdered cleaning agent to polish the concave bottom of the can to a high sheen. Now angle it towards the sun and hold your tinder about an inch from the center. Your new solar reflector concentrates the sun’s rays on the tinder, much like the magnifying glass principle. Don’t eat the chocolate or use the toothpaste afterwards, though as they now contain aluminum!
Howard Scalia is 37-year-old former scout leader from Austin, Texas, and one of the best and most trusted blog writers at www.prosurvivalist.com. When he’s not working on some new interesting article, he enjoys taking long walks in the woods with his dogs.