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How to Start a Fire

How to Start a Fire

Humans have been using fire for a very long time. Evidence suggests that hominids (humanoid creatures) have been using fire for between 126,000 and 781,000 years! Some scientists even credit the use of fire for the rise of modern humans!


Ermagherd! Furrrrrr!

Fire is necessary for almost every element of human safety. We need it to purify water. We need it to cook our food in order to kill bacteria and make it more palatable and easier to digest. We need it to keep us warm when temperatures drop below that which we can normally withstand. We need it for light. We even need it for the creation of a large number of things we use. For example, native Americans used it to hollow out logs to create canoes.

But how many people know how to build a fire without using matches or a lighter? The sad fact is, most of us don’t. Without modern conveniences, most of us would be at a loss when it comes to making fire.

Fortunately, there are a number of different ways to start a fire without matches or a lighter. And no, rubbing two sticks together isn’t likely to work!

Let’s take a look at some of the different methods of starting a fire:

Steel Wool & Batteries

Stocking up on steel wool and batteries is a great idea, not only for cleaning and for use as a power source, but for starting a fire. Surprisingly, this method actually works incredibly well! Take a look at the video below to see just how easy and effective it can be to start a fire with steel wool and a battery!

Bow Drill

The bow drill is one of the most common ways to start a fire, and it’s incredibly easy to make and use. They were first used between the 4th and 5th millenium BC, so they’ve been around for quite a long time. These tools create fire with friction.

The video below will show you how to use a simple bow drill to start a fire.

Hand Drill

A hand drill is a tool that’s been in use for even longer than the bow drill. It’s simpler to create than a bow drill, but can be a little tricker to use. It uses friction to create a fire by twisting a long, thin spindle made of a material such as cattail or root wood a board called a hearthboard.

Below is a video that shows you the basics of using a hand drill to create a fire.

Flint & Steel

A flint and steel is another method that uses friction to create fire. A flint and steel is probably one of the most important items you can have in a bug out bag, because even if you have matches or a lighter, they may not function in all weather conditions. A flint and steel will help you start a fire without the need for fuel or low wind.

Below is a video showing you how to start a fire with a flint and steel.

Magnifying Glass

Okay, so it’s a bit cliche to talk about starting a fire with a magnifying glass. But guess what? It actually works! Sure, it takes a little bit of time, and it may be a little frustrating until you get the hang of it, but this method really does work. In a pinch, it just might save your life.

Take a look at the video below:

Wet Weather Fire Starting

If you’re in wet weather and you need to start a fire, you may need to differ your techniques a bit. Starting a fire when it’s wet requires some thought and preparation, but it’s definitely not impossible!

Below is a very helpful video that will show you how to start a fire in wet weather.

Start a Fire with a Water Bottle

I found one additional way you can start a fire with something most people have on hand, anyway. Even if you don’t have this on hand, chances are you can very easily find one in pretty much any dumpster or landfill you come across. I’m speaking, of course, about a plastic water bottle!

It works the same way as the magnifying glass, by amplifying the sun’s rays and concentrating them in a single location. You can use this to light up a piece of paper, a dry leaf, cloth, or pretty much anything else that’s dry and flammable. Cool stuff!

Take a look at the video:

If you want to learn about more methods for starting a fire, check out this post on The Art of Manliness:

You can also find out more about bow drills, hand drills, and other similar tools at:

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