If you’re ever forced into the wilderness following a disaster, you’d better know how to start a fire. Food, water and shelter are your top priorities, but survival fire-starting for warmth and cooking is right up there in importance.
Now, the easiest way to get a fire going, assuming you have the tinder you need to keep it burning, is a lighter.
Cavemen – not to mention cavewomen – would have killed for the ease of being able to flick their Bic. Matches are a close second, trailing lighters only because sometimes they become too damp to work.
But if you have neither, or if you’re the type of person who doesn’t like to do things the easy way, there are some other options that are more creative and might even be fun. Here are five of them:
Aluminum Can & Chocolate Bar. Rub a candy bar on the bottom of an aluminum can until the can bottom shines like a mirror. With direct sunlight on the can bottom, it will heat up to the point where it can ignite your kindling when held against it.
Sandwich Bag & Water. Crush a piece of dry tree bark into a powder. Place the powder onto a solid piece of bark. Pour water into a sandwich bag until it’s half-full. Tilt the sealed baggie to the side and then twist it at the top, making it into a liquid sphere. Use the baggie as a magnifying glass over the powder until the sun’s rays make it start smoldering, then press the powder onto your kindling.
Vaseline & Cotton Ball. Pull a cotton ball apart – but not completely apart – and rub Vaseline or petroleum jelly all over the cotton. Roll the cotton back into a ball. Use a magnifying glass or reading glasses and the sun’s rays to heat the cotton ball, which will hold a flame well once ignited.
Gum Wrapper & Battery. While you’re chewing a stick of gum, cut the foil it was wrapped in into a bowtie or hourglass shape. With two fingers of one hand, hold the two ends of the foil against the ends of a small battery. The foil will ignite and you can quickly light your tinder.
Dead Lighter & Paper. Maybe you were planning to use a lighter to start a fire, but it died on you. Not to worry. Remove the lighter’s safety lock and slowly roll the lighter over paper, back and forth. As the steel wheel grinds down on the flint rod, flint shavings will be created. Form those shavings into a small pile and then flick your dead lighter repeatedly over the pile until it ignites.