How to Start a Fire without Matches: 8 Ways to Build a Fire for Survival.

Starting a Fire Without Matches Blog

This is a comprehensive guide on How to Start a Fire without Matches only using any materials that are available, or using inexpensive specialized survival gear; when regular matches and lighters might fail you or are less likely to be available.

The first-ever intelligent thing a man was able to do was starting a fire; while we may have come a long way; there is still a primal connection between man and fire. Even though the market is flooded with different tools to start a fire an obscure fact about these survivalist fire starters are they heavily rely on ideal conditions. Life isn’t fair, nor is every situation ideal that is where this guide will help you build a nice bonfire from flints, sticks, or whatever you have available on hand. Building a fire is a crucial life skill, providing you with the means to cook, illumination, warmth, and an emotional uplift when nothing else is going for you.

The following are 8 Ways to Start a Fire without Matches and survive in the cold like a boss.

The pre-requisites to starting a fire:

It is a good practice to build a fire pit with some stones all-around to limit the spread of the fire you will be creating, so you don’t end up starting a forest fire just trying to keep warm. Another crucial part of starting a fire is collecting dry materials in the woods that will easily ignite. It is recommended to find small twigs, dry bark, or some abandoned bird nests, or if you’re actually a survivalist that doesn’t want to rely on luck; we suggest using our StrikeForce Fire Starter with Tinder.

1. Starting a Fire with Flint and Steel

All around the globe hardcore survivalists trust creating an effective fire by using flintstones, and steel. It is very wise to carry a good flint and steel set with you on a camping trip. While you may love your butane/petrol lighter and all its cool gimmicks or you might think matches are good enough. 

These items are susceptible to elements, they can get wet, and are prone to failure due to higher altitudes. Some good reliable flint and steel sets are KonvoySG Flint and a Steel Striker. A flint is relatively easy to use.

Items Needed:

  • Flint Stone
  • Steel Striker
  • Char
Starting a Fire with Flint and Steel

To make a fire with flints, all you need to do is place some char cloth, or tinder over your flint, in such a way that you are holding the two together in one hand. Strike at a 32-degree angle using the steel striker included, to produce sparks. Then transfer your shouldering tinder to your dry ignitable material and gently blow on it until it catches a flame. 

2. Starting a Fire with Fire Steel

A fire steel is a ferrocerium or magnesium rod which can produce really hot sparks up to 6000 degrees Fahrenheit. We provide a vast selection of fire steels that is an absolute steal at that price. (Yes, that was a very good pun). We suggest using either of these fire steels that are durable and dependable:

Items Needed:

  • Fire Steel(Ferro Rod, or Magnesium Rod)
  • Steel Striker, or a knife
  • Char
Starting a Fire with Fire Steel

To create a fire using fire steel just put it into the tinder, and scrape down at a 32 to 45-degree angle. The hot sparks produced will start a fire relatively easily. 

3. Starting a Fire Using Rocks

If you find yourself in an unfortunate situation without flint or Ferro-rod you can always adapt by using quartzite and a steel pocket knife. Don’t leave without a pocket knife, ever. Here’s one included in an inexpensive set Lord & Field Pocket Survival Fire Starting Kit as an added bonus.

Items Needed:

  • Quartzite 
  • Pocket knife
  • Char
Rocks for Starting Fire

Char cloth is a fabric that has been turned into charcoal. If it catches a spark, it keeps it smouldering but doesn’t catch a flame. Fungus or a piece of birch can also serve as char.

To create a fire using rock, grab the rock between your thumb and pointing finger, while the edge is hanging out 3 inches while holding the char against the rock. Strike hard using your flintstone or a stainless steel knife such that the sparks are flying onto the char. Once you see smoke gently blow on it and add more tinder.

4. Starting a Fire Using Sticks

Items Needed:

  • Fireboard (Dry, half-inch thick piece of wood). 
  • Spindle (A finger width, 18-25 inch long softwood sharpened slightly at the end.
  • Char
  • Knife

To create fire from sticks, start out by making a small indent in the piece of wood using your knife. It is important to leave all the sawdust inside the hole. Then make a V shape notch to collect the coal. Place the fireboard on top of the char you will be using so you can quickly transfer the coal onto the char.

Place the spindle vertically inside the hole, while placing your palms around it, and start spinning vigorously by moving your hands back and forth, while pressing it downward. The friction will start to create smoke and that is when you should transfer the ember onto the char and gently blow on it.

5. Starting a Fire Using a Lens

Using the sunlight to create fire is an unconventional way to create a fire, what you are essentially doing is concentrating the sunlight to generate heat. The success with this method depends a lot on the weather conditions, so it is highly advised you don’t solely rely on it.

Items Needed:

  • Any Lens (Magnifying Glass works best, but you can use your spectacles) 
  • Char

To start a fire just focus the sun onto your char, and hold it steady until you see smoke emerge from the char.

6. Starting a Fire Using Ice

While this might sound strange, using ice to make fire is possible albeit a bit tricky. Like using a lens you will be using the sunlight, however, you will have to shape it like a lens yourself. This method can come in very handy if you are in a cold place, where water will naturally freeze.

Items Needed:

  • Clearwater
  • Char
  • Knife

To build a fire with ice, your water should be free of impurities and be clear. Leave it in a cup to freeze over. The ice should be at least 2 inches thick. Using your knife shape the piece of ice in such a way that it is thicker in the middle while thinner on the sides. Using the heat from your hands polish the lens so it has a smooth surface. Placing your hand on the ice will melt it enough to give you a smooth surface.

After you have a good lens just focus the sunlight through it onto your char, and voila! 

7. Starting a Fire Using Deodorant Spray, and a Water bottle

Once again we will be using the sunlight for this method, however, if you do not have a lens on hand a clear water bottle can also serve as a lens. The focal length is shorter than a regular lens so you will also need to add some fuel to keep the smoulder going.

Items Needed:

  • A Transparent Water Bottle
  • A can of Deodorant Spray
  • Char

To create a fire with a bottle, fill the bottle with water, or urine. Using the top concave part of the bottle focus a beam on the char that has been sprayed with a deodorant spray. This time the char should catch fire, quickly transfer the flame to your fire pit to keep it going.

8. Starting a Fire Using Steel Wool and a Battery

While it is highly unlikely that you would have these on hand in the wild, but who knows you just might. While a 9V battery is recommended, you can use any battery as long as it is not dead. You will be using the steel wool to short circuit the battery causing a flame as a result.

Items Needed:

  • A 9V Battery
  • Steel wool
  • Tinder
Starting a Fire With Steel Wool

To make fire, put some steel wool into your tinder. The steel wool should be half an inch thick in order for this to work. Rub the metal contacts of the battery against the steel wool, and it should immediately catch fire. It is important not to waste any time, and transfer the flame to your tinder and it will burn out really quick, but there you have it another way to make fire. 

Regardless of these ingenious methods to start a fire we highly recommend using actual fire starters like Ferro rods and Magnesium rods, instead of relying on these methods. They might not always work out for you. If we missed your favorite technique for starting a fire please leave us a comment below! Enjoy your camping trip.

All Products in this blog can be found on Amazon.

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