Knowing how to start a fire without matches is not just important; it's a vital skill needed for survival. Man and fire share something in common, and you should know all the various ways of lighting a fire.
Who knows, you may find out that you need fire to survive in some situations. What if it got too cold and snowy while you were camping and your matches become wet, unable to give you fire or you forgot to pack your matches with you? You can't be so sure of not finding yourself in such a situation or a similar situation.
So, knowing the various way of lighting fire becomes very important and necessary, and all you need is to utilize these skills whenever and wherever you find yourself in such a situation.
Using Friction to Make Fire
Using friction to make fire can be frustrating if you don't know how to do it or if you're not patient enough. You can use different methods to create fire by using friction. The key factor that determines how this method works is the type of slender rod used and the type of wood used in making the hearth.
The slender rod and the hearth will be used together whereby you'll rotate or cycle the thin rod to create a friction between both of them. When enough friction occurs, charcoal can come up, and you can blow it gently for a fire to occur. The best slender rod and hearth are made from aspen, cypress, cottonwood, walnut, willow, and juniper.
This method can seem complicated, but if you use the right wood and the wood is very dry, you'll get the fire in no time. If you can't find a dry wood around, you can wait for it to dry before using it.
Hands and Woods
The hands and woods method is commonly referred to as the hand drill. Hand drilling is one of the oldest and hardest ways of lighting a fire. Just as it's named, you need your hands and woods to get your flame. It's hard because you'll have to roll the sticks you'll be using to create fire continuously with your hand until a fire occurs. To use this method, follow the steps below.
Get a tinder nest by making one from leaves, the bark of trees or dry grasses to allow the spark produce flame
Make a notch and cut it into the "V" shape in your hearth make an angular distance opposite it.
Under your notch, put dry leave or bark that will serve as charcoal and help you catch fire from the rubbing together of your hands and the vertical rod.
The next thing is to start whirling or rotating the vertical rod between your both hands from up to down the stick rod. Do this by placing the vertical rod (use rods of about 2 feet long) or stick rod on your hearth and keep the pressure on the hearth. Keep doing it until you see a sign of red coal and drop it on the dry leaf or bark. Put back the bark into the tinder nest and blow until a fire appears.
One of the most effective means of making fire with the use of friction is the Bow drill method. It is effective because you can easily keep to the pressure and speed for enough friction needed to start a fire to occur. You need a slender stick or spindle, hearth or fireboard, a bow, and a stone or a piece of wood to make fire by using the bow drill method.
The stone or wood will be used to create pressure on the tip of the other piece of rod as you rub it with the bow. The stone or wood you'll be using should be stronger than that of the slender rod or spindle. Oily woods are recommended because they'll make your work easier and faster by using their oils as a lubricant between the stone or wood and the slender wood.
Your bow should be long enough, and the length should be the same with your arm. It can be a flexible wood piece with a little curve. The string can be a shoelace, rope or rawhide strip as long as it doesn't cut or break. String your bow and prepare your fireboard by cutting a notch with the "V" shape and creating an angular distance to it in the hearth or fireboard. Place your tinder under the groove and string up the slender rod or spindle.
String up the slender rod or spindle and catch it in a curve of your bowstring
Put pressure on one end with your stone or wood and put the other end of the slender rod or spindle in the fireboard.
With the use of your bow, start sawing and as you saw, ensure that the slender rod or spindle moves very fast. Continue until ember occurs and drop it into your tinder nest.
Blow into the tinder nest gently, and fire will appear.
To use this method, follow the tips below:
- Cut a groove that'll act as your track for the slender rod, in the fireboard
- Place the tip of the thin rod in the slot of your fireboard
- Rub the slender rod from the advice from up and down the groove
- Make a tinder nest and place it at the end of your fireboard
- As soon as charcoal occurs, blow into the nest and start your fire.
Flint and Steel
A flint and steel is ideal for camping trips as it has lots of benefits especially for making fire. With this you don’t need matches as it can even get wet easily and useless anyways. However, with flint and steel you can make a fire with minimal fuss.
However, in the case where there is no flint and steel you can still make use of quartzite and your pocket knife steel blade.
You will also need other materials such as char which is essentially a cloth transformed to charcoal. When you light the fire through flint and steel, the char will help to absorb the spark and keep the fire flameless. Another alternative to char is a fungus or birch.
Place your flint between your forefinger and thumb, ensure there is 2-3 inch edge protruding out of your finger. Take your char cloth and place it in-between your thumb and flint.
Then, strike your steel or knife blade against the flint severally to create a spark expected to ignite the char.
Once the fire has been started, you can then put your char cloth into the tinder nest blowing gently till fame is achieved.
Starting a fire using magnifying glass
It’s quite easy for anyone to start a fire with the use of a lens. Below are some methods you will find handy.
All that is required to create a fire with this method is a lens to aid sun focus and direct it to a certain spot.
You can make use of different types of glasses such as simple eye glasses, binoculars, or magnifying glass. Adding a little water to the lens will further increase the sunbeam. Position the lens in the sun’s direction and let the beam focus on a small area as much as you can. Place your tinder nest underneath this beam focus and within a short while you will get the desired result.
The only disadvantage of this method is that you can’t use it in the evening or early morning when the sun is not high in the sky. You need the sun intensity to pull this off.
Below are other odd but useful method for starting a fire with the lens.
Balloons and Condoms
This may sound awkward or unbelievable but it actually works. Simply fill a balloon or condom with water and tie it up. Try to make it look more like a sphere shaped object after inflating with air. Position it in the sun’s direction and keep squeezing the balloon till you achieve a very bright light circle. Then, place your tinder nest very close to the balloon as they possess a shorter focal length than the lens.
Fire from Ice
This is even sounding more controversial but wait; you will learn how to make fire from ice in a moment. The simple way is to make ice in the shape of a lens and make use of it just as you use a lens for making fire. This method is ideal for camping during winter.
One important thing to note is that the water must be clear enough and free of impurities to make ice. Without this you won’t get the desired result. Get an ice block with a thickness of about 2 inches.
Use a knife to outline the ice to form a lens. Note that lens usually have a thick middle and narrow edges.
Polish the lens with your hands and ensure the surface is smooth enough. Lastly, start a fire by angling it towards the sun’s direction and ensuring the beam is focused on the tinder nest placed beneath. Boom! You have made a bonfire!
Coke Can and a Chocolate Bar
As funny as it sounds, this is another cool way of starting a fire. It's easy. Simply grab a can of soda with a chocolate bar and sunlight, and you're good to go.
Start by using the chocolate bar to polish the soda can by rubbing it on the base or bottom. Here, the chocolate which is used as the polish causes the base of the can to shine. This can be likened to a mirror. In the absence of a chocolate bar, toothpaste can be used to improvise.
The effect of polishing your can's base is a reflective surface otherwise known as a parabolic mirror. This mirror forms one focal point when rays from the sun reflect on it. It operates somewhat like a mirror telescope. Start your fire.
The base of your can should face the sun. By so doing, you are directly aiming an already focused light ray on your tinder. The tinder should be positioned at least an inch from the focal point of the reflecting light and you have your flame before you know it.
Although it looks almost impossible to be lost and stuck with just a chocolate bar and a soda can, this is quite an educative method. No knowledge is a waste.
Batteries and Steel Wool
This is quite similar to using chocolate and a soda can. However, it is somewhat difficult to picture a scenario where matches aren't available but there are batteries and steel wool. You never know though. This method is quite safe, less stressful and can be done at home.
Start by stretching your wool to a length of about 6 inches and a half inch width. Use your battery to rub against the steel wool, each on one hand. You may wonder the kind of battery to be used. You can actually make use of any battery of your choice but for effectiveness, a 9 volt battery is recommended.
Ensure to properly rub your batteries on the wool using the side of your battery and the points on the wool. This causes the wool to glow and slightly burn. Blow gently on it. Take your wool which is already burning to a tinder nest. Its flame goes off very fast; therefore, you need to do everything quickly. No time to waste.