Fire Starting is one of the most important things needed in planning out your survival. Fire will keep you warm, cook your food, keep predatory animals at bay, and through smoking can be used to preserve food. Fire is so important that it’s generally recommended to have 3 different ways of making fire planned out in your bug out bag. Modern conveniences make fire easy to create but what is those run out what do you do? We will explore first the items you can pack to make fire then how to make it in a pinch with odds and ends.
The Modern and Convenient Ways to make fire
Lighters – The fact there are so many smokers in the world makes lighters plentiful and cheap. Many preppers like to buy bulk butane lighters to have in their house and bug out bags. It’s recommended to use the cheap butane lighters over a Zippo as the Zippo fluid evaporates over time inside the lighter. This means when you really need it. It may not work. Lighters are a good thing to have for those times when you need fire now and can’t take your time using more sustainable methods of fire creation. Also a zippo is good for staying on like all those action movies where someone throws a lighter down to ignite a trail of gasoline. However outside of that they require regular maintenance.
Waterproof Matches – Matches are an essential as well there are things you can more easily do with a match then a lighter. For instance if you have a tick stuck in you simply light a match blow it out and touch it to the back of the tick and pull it out. It’s important to buy waterproof matches ideallys striker anywhere kind. These matches don’t require that little striking strip to ignite them. If you have used matches much in your past you will remember the times where that strip is near smooth and the matches are hard to light. That is not something you want when you are cold, wet and borderline hypothermia. Buying bulk waterproof matches is a good prepper item but it’s not sustainable.
Firesteel – This is a piece of metal alloy that when struck or scraped with a harder metal like steel will produce a spark. One of these can make 15,000 fires before wearing out. These are a must have on you item. Put 3 in your bug out bag, and one in your pocket with your knife. It is recommended when you use your knife on the fire steel to use the back side of it so you don’t damage the edge of the knife. In some cases you can buy a knife that comes with firesteel and a notch designed for use with the firesteel; knives such as this Tool Logic SL3 folding knife with firesteel.
The think fast way method of fire
For almost all of the methods mentioned below you will require a tinder nest. Tinder nest is where you will actually stoke the fire and make it grow after transferring the embers to it. A tinder nest can be made from anything which catches fire easily such as cloth, paper, dry grass and leaves.
Cellphone or other Batteries – We are surrounded by Cellphones and other portable devices which run on lithium batteries. You can use discarded batteries to make a fire. Using a battery and steel wool together by rubbing the battery on it will cause friction which will make a fire. You can then transfer the embers to the tinder nest and create a fire. Watch how to make fire by shorting a battery
Magnifying Glass – When you were younger did you ever burn a leaf or maybe an ant with a magnifying glass? If not your missed out. By focusing the sun’s rays into a specific spot for a period of time you can create enough heat to start a fire. You do this by angling the magnifying glass in such a way that you get a small bright spot of light on your tinder. Once your get smoke on your tinder nest you will need to then blow on it and stoke the fire to get it going. Paper is one of the best items to start the fire with and then moving the paper into the tinder nest. Items that are black will work better as they absorb more heat quicker. You can buy small compact survival magnifying glasses to throw in your buy out bag
Impromptu Magnifying Glass – Any lense such as glasses or off a camera can be used in a pinch, however surprisingly water works wonders as an impromptu lense. You can take any clear container with the rounded edges, filled with water and be able to focus light through it to start a fire. A few examples to get you thinking. Video: How to create a fire with a Clear plastic water bottle, Ice or using a Condom to create a fire.
Flint and steel – Depending on the area you are living or bugging out to you may be able to find some stone called flint In the revolutionary war days many muskets used a flint striker and a steel plate to create a spark and light gunpowder. As well many lighters including modern day Zippos use flint to create their spark. First you would need to learn how to find flint afterward you can make a fire using flint and steel.
Fire board And Drill — You can also use more traditional methods like starting a fire by using dry wood. You can use wood or bark from juniper, cottonwood, willow, cedar and walnut to create a fire board. Create a notch at one edge and a depression next to it. Place a bark underneath the notch to gather the embers. Now use a stick which is around two feet in length and place it one end in the notch. Rub your palms together while holding the stick which will create a circular motion and cause friction. You also need to apply some pressure so contact is maintained between the fire board and the stick.
You can also make a bow and entwine the string on the stick now hold the top end with a block of wood and use sawing motion on the bow to rotate the stick and create embers. Now transfer the embers from the bark to your tinder nest and stoke them to create a flame. Here is an example of how to create a fire with a hand drill technique. Here is an example of how to create a fire with a hand bow.
As you can see there are many ways to make fire in a pinch. Ideally you want to have means to make fire from the modern convenience category in your prep. When you find yourself in a bug out situation you will want to reserve things like matches and lighters for those times you need to quickly build a fire before the elements get you and use techniques like the bow drill when you have more time to setup a proper camp fire. That way you can make the lighter last. In a bug in situation if you have ample stock pile it might make sense to use your stockpile if you think a bug out is coming and you won’t be able to transport all your stockpile. The key takeaways from this is that fire can be started with Friction (ie the rubbing together of two things), focusing sun light, or shorting electricity. Be creative and find a way.