How to Start a Fire Without Matches

Camping isn’t really camping without a warm fire to sit beside. Even in the warmest parts of the year, the glow and heat of a well built campfire will draw everyone close on cool or even mild nights. Even though you should have the resources to start a campfire with relative ease, it is worth knowing how to build one with tools and methods you might not expect. The knowledge will certainly come in handy whether you are in a bind, or just want to challenge yourself a bit in the woods. Read on to see three alternative methods for fire building.

The Steel Wool and Battery Method

As you could probably guess, steel wool and a nine volt battery are pretty reactive. To put it in a cheesy way, their relationship really makes the sparks fly. You can use this fact as a backup for starting fires when you’re without a lighter or matches. Start by gathering tinder – the smaller and drier the better. Look for plant material that’s dead, but not rotten. Shaved bark from a dead tree and dead grass are generally good tinder materials. Follow this up by stacking the logs you want to burn in the traditional tepee form with a small bed of sticks and twigs below them. This gives your fledgling fire plenty of breathing room to grow. Place your gathered tinder in the space under the log with the kindling. Now, it’s time to start the fire. Touch the steel wool and terminal end of the battery together directly over your tinder. The sparks generated should land directly on top of it. When the tinder starts smoldering, give it a gentle blow or two to get the fire burning.

Starting a Fire With a Dead Lighter

campfire started without matchesIf you brought along an old fashioned flint wheel lighter for fire starting, only to find that it’s out of fuel, there is still hope. Rummage around the supplies you bought until you find some tissue and any aerosol product (check the girls’ bags for this one). As in the previous method, it’s a good idea to get your tinder, kindling, and burning logs together before getting any flames going. When everything’s in place, crumple the tissue into a tight ball and spray it with a bit of aerosol. Then, use the lighter’s still functional flint wheel mechanism to get a spark on the tissue. It should burn pretty quickly, so it’s a good idea to get the ball on your tinder as fast as possible. A couple of quick breaths on the kindling, and your fire should be started.

The Flint and Steel Method

Like the nine volt and steel wool, a piece of flint rock and steel will spark heavily when struck together. All you have to do is use the same basic principles as the first two methods employ, and get the sparks flying with the flint and steel. It’s worth noting that these two items are very popular among campers as a backup fire starter in case your matches get lost or wet.

If you find yourself without a convenient way to start a fire on your next camping trip, there’s no need to worry. Skip the old, time consuming two sticks method in favor for one of the above, and you’ll be able to start fires without the use of an open flame in no time.