How to Start a Fire Without Matches

| November 20, 2013 | Reply

You are most likely aware that it is possible to start a fire without matches, but did you know that there are several different ways to do so with simple tools like batteries, paper clips, steel wool, or a flint rock. Outdoor enthusiasts, campers, travelers, and those who simply want to be prepared for an emergency would greatly benefit from learning how to start a matchless fire with just a few simple tools.

Steel Wool and Batteries

starting a fire with steel wool The first way to start a fire without matches is by collecting a small pile of tender (which is simply small, very dry twigs or sticks, leaves, dry grass, or anything else that will burn easily). Once you have collected a handful, arrange it in a circular way so that it is hollowed out in the middle like a bird’s nest. You can then start your fire by using batteries and steel wool to ignite the tender. To create a spark with your batteries and steel wool, you must first locate the battery terminals, which stick up from the top of the battery (9-volt batteries are the best kind for starting fires, although batteries with other voltages will work as well). Set your steel wool down and rub the battery terminals rapidly across the top. This creates friction that will eventually cause the steel wool to ignite so that you can light the tinder with it.

Batteries and Paper Clip

The second way to start a fire without matches also involves steel wool, but instead of rubbing the battery terminals directly on the steel wool, you can use a simple paperclip to get the fire started. Just rub the paperclip across both battery terminals at the same time and the action will cause sparks that can ignite the steel wool and start your fire.

With both of the methods above, gently blow on the flame as soon as your steel wool ignites. This will help the flame to grow so that you can transfer the steel wool to your tinder and get a larger fire started. As soon as your tinder ignites, begin to slowly add larger pieces of wood until you have enough to fuel the fire for some time.

Steel Knife and Flint Rock

Another way to start a fire without matches is by striking a steel knife against a flint rock and catching the sparks with a char cloth. If you are very talented, you might be able to catch the sparks directly on your tinder and gently blow until the heat becomes a flame. However, a char cloth is good at catching even the smallest sparks. Once the cloth is glowing from the spark, you can transfer it to your tinder.

magnifying-glass You can also use a magnifying glass to direct a focused beam of sunlight onto your tinder. However, this method will only work if the sun is out.

If you find yourself stuck in the great outdoors without matches or a lighter, you can use one of these convenient methods to get a fire started.

Category: Blog

About the Author ()

Michael Sproul currently lives in Utah. He grew up in St. George, Utah only moments from Zion National Park. He loves sharing his experiences and helping others enjoy Zion as much as he does. He currently writes for The Carefree Traveler and My Life Outdoors.

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