5 tricks to start a fire

Other than wishing he’d gone to the dentist recently, the number one thing on Tom Hanks’ wish list during the movie Castaway was knowing how to make fire. He was finally able to get a fire started through the friction method, but not before rubbing his hands raw and suffering hours of frustration. Unfortunately for Tom, there were no Bic lighters in the Fed Ex boxes that he opened after being stranded on a deserted island!

If you’re ever in a survival situation in the wilderness, this is a skill that you will wish you possessed. Other than water and shelter, fire is very likely the most important thing you’ll need to survive. After all, it’s good for warmth from the cold, it can purify water, melt snow for water, provide a cooking flame and heat to dry wet clothes, create smoke for rescue signals, scare away animals, provide light and much more.

Check out this article, Fire for Survival Part One: Materials and Ignition.  The author lists the materials needed for starting a fire, adds some effective fire starters and then gets into ignition sources.

As with just about everything else when it comes to survival, it’s all about being prepared. Even if you have a fire-starting manual with you when you find yourself in a survival situation, it could still take longer than you’ll have time for to get a fire going. Know how to do it before it happens

Here’s a top five list of ways to get a fire started:

  • Friction-based method – probably the most difficult way to start a fire and one that will make you wish you had a Bic lighter more than any other.
  • Bow drill – the most effective of the friction-based methods.
  • Flint and steel – matches get wet, so a flint and steel set is something you’ll want to keep with you.
  • Lens-based method – remember when you used a magnifying glass and the sun to melt stuff as a kid? Same principle here.
  • Batteries and steel wool – Rub the wool on the battery contacts until it warms and then burns.

Are there any other ways you’ve used to get a fire started? Which methods do you prefer? What would you recommend to a novice? Which method would you not even wish on your worst enemy? Hope to hear from you.


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