Do you have 5 Ways to Make Fire?

Burning Match

I would put the ability to make fire right behind water, shelter, and food in the list of most important things in a survival situation, and before food and shelter in some cases.

Since being able to start a fire is so important, are you really going to rely on only one or two ways to do it? I think you should have at least 5 fire starters in your Bug Out Bag or in any survival preps for that matter.

Be sure to notice that I am not talking about different types of tinder, like cedar shavings, fire log, paper etc. I am talking about 5 ways to actually make fire, to get that first spark. Without that, the rest really doesn’t matter. Updated Topic: 5 Ideas for Fire Tinder

1. Matches

MatchesNo surprises here. Check out Stormproof matches, I have tested these things and they are pretty tough to beat.  If you go with regular matches there are two important things to remember about your matches.

1.They need to be waterproof. has a good article on how to waterproof your matches.

2. You need to store matches in multiple places. Even if you have a pile of waterproof matches, if they are all in the same bag or box and you lose them, that’s it. So use a couple of empty film canisters or an element proof Loksak bag and store matches in several places. (But not in the handle of your knife, which I explain here: Survival Knife)

2. Lighters

LighterNotice lighters is plural. You need several lighters. It might be a good idea to get one waterproof and windproof lighter and a couple of cheap gas station lighters.

If you are going to buy a nice lighter like that one, you should carry some Butane refill fluid and it will last you 5 times as long as any of the throw away lighters.

3. FireSteel and Scraper

Firesteel and ScraperA firesteel and scraper, or what used to be a flint, is a tubed piece of metal, usually steel or magnesium, that creates sparks when you run the metal scraper down the tube.

A firesteel and scraper is important to have for a couple of reasons. First, it works even if it’s wet. So if all of your other fire starters got completely soaked or ruined for some reason the firesteel will still work.

Cool ones that we have tested include:
1. BlastMatch Fire Starter
2. StrikeForce Fire Starter
3. Sparkie Fire Starter (Can use with only one hand)
4. Aurora Fire Starter (Personal Favorite)

Also, it will most likely outlast all of your matches and lighters put together. Many firesteels advertise 3000 strikes, and some as many as 7000.

4. 9v Battery and Steel Wool

9 VoltThis is one of my favorites that I think should be in every survival gear set up. If you take a 9v battery and simply touch both poles to a piece of steel wool it will catch fire. Here’s a quick youtube video showing this: Steel Wool and 9V Batter Fire

I don’t consider this in the fire tender category because it is the steel wool itself combined with the battery that actually makes the fire.

Two things to remember: The finer the steel wool the better. Also, it only takes a tiny bit of steel will for this to work. Just enough to cover both poles of the battery.

5. Rub 2 Sticks Together

The most cliche survival tactic ever, rubbing two sticks together. I am not going to go into all the different ways you can make fire with nothing but wood, that is a whole different article. Just know that you should have at least one other way to make a fire without any tools at all.

Know any other ways to Make Fire?

I am interested to hear if our readers have any other good ways to “make fire” that are easily stored for survival situations?

Be Safe

Keep some water around in case your fire gets out of hand. The best way, when in the bush, is with a Collapsible Bucket: 6 Great Uses for a Backpacking Bucket

Check out our new Survival Store – Forge Survival Supply

{ 167 comments… read them below or add one }

Don February 18, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Good Day Lucas:

I"'m suprised that you didn't mention a fire piston, these little jewels really work.In fact you can construct one your self from PVC pipe. Great Job so far, keep it up: very informative!



Kevinthenurse September 27, 2010 at 10:38 pm

I like the fire pistons, but you need REALLY dry tinder or char-cloth. A buddy let me experiment with his. The concept of how this works was pretty wild. I never thought that compressing air caused that much heat. The ember it made was quite small though. Not trying to act like I know all about these gizmos since I only used his a couple of times just to fiddle around with. They are a bit expensive though.


Lucas_SurvCache February 18, 2010 at 6:48 pm


Thanks for the complements

I didn't mention fire pistons because I do not know a lot about them, and they seem less common than some other option, at least to me.

I would definitely be interested in seeing some plans for making your own. I just looked up a couple online and they seem a good bit more expensive then the other options, but a homemade one sounds cool!



Lucas_SurvCache April 8, 2010 at 1:44 pm

mr. smashy makes a good point.

You caliber of choice really doesn't matter very much if you can't hit what you are aiming at.

He makes a good point about .40 being available too. Everytime I go to walmart I look for cheap federal 9mm and they never have it, but they always have a huge pile of .40. To bad I don't have a .40 pistol.


AJ52 June 11, 2010 at 2:20 am

I made my own weatherproof matches by dipping strike anywhere kitchen matches in varnish and drying them in an empty 100 round 22lr. container. I store them in a military style tubular match holder. Use the extra space in the match holder to store cotton balls as tinder.


AdderW February 22, 2010 at 2:52 pm

You could have a look at chemical fire starters, check out e.g. potassium permanganate and glycerin reaction. Google it or have a look here:…


Lucas_SurvCache February 22, 2010 at 7:52 pm


Very Cool Idea. Thanks for the great video.

I have a couple of questions: are those chemical easy to come by?

Also, how safe are they for storage by themselves?


Vince C. June 9, 2013 at 12:02 pm

I take my 2 part chemical’s and measured out what would be the best amount to burn the longest, them I took a straw and filled the “”Potassium Permanganate”" in 1- 2″ long drinking straw and seal both ends with a lighter & in the 2nd. Part I seep the 1 end of the straw and then fill the straw up and seal there other end up and I keep them apart until I’m ready to start my fire, never has failed me in the field yet … But it is easy too find the “”permanganate”" is it’s a must to keep them in 2 separate small film canisters !!!! But just in case I also carry a cheap lighter, tampones because they can be a double use for fires or wounds, & lint or cotton balls with vassoline !!!

“” Live Life Like its Your Last Day “”


Kevinthenurse September 27, 2010 at 11:03 pm

The SEPARATE chemicals are very stable. Glycerine can be purchased at the wally-world pharmacy right off the shelf. The potassium permanganate can be purchased at model/hobby shops, or science supply companies.

One VERY IMPORTANT note about the video: The guy that did the video apparently made the capsules and then went outside and started the fire shortly after. He also must have never stored the chemicals in the capsules before. The potassium permanganate is stable enough in the capsule because it is a dry powder. The GLYCERINE is NOT stable in the capsule. The liquid will dissolve the capsule casing in a matter of days. If these two items are stored relatively close, such as in a home, backpack, or fire-kit, it could be SUPER dangerous. If the glycerine was close enough to the potassium and ate its way through both capsules………. remember the Michael Jackson Pepsi commercial incident????????? You+flaming pack running down a trail.

Safe? NO WAY! Entertaining to see? MOST DEFINITELY! I'll be hunting the marshmallows when I see you coming down the trail.

If anyone choses to use this chemical method I would recommend keeping the chemicals in the containers they came in and put them as far apart in their packs as possible. Maybe even have a buddy carry one of the chemicals.


AdderW February 22, 2010 at 2:54 pm

How about a small magnifying lens?


Lucas_SurvCache February 22, 2010 at 7:53 pm

True, you could keep one of those as a backup, but the obvious drawbacks of course are that it will only work when it is sunny.


Survivor_ 1997 March 5, 2010 at 8:30 pm

I put together a few "Fire Kits" about a month ago. All that a fire kit is, is a few basic fire starters contained in one pouch. I keep a commercial fire starter stick, a mini-Bic, a book of matches, a Fire-steel and a Zip-lock baggy full of dryer lint inside a waterproofed G.I. shotshell pouch. I stashed a kit in my E.D.C, my B.O.B and my G.H.B.

Keep up the good work!


Lucas_SurvCache March 5, 2010 at 8:37 pm


Sounds like you have a great Fire Kit going.

Dryer lint is another one of my personal favorites for fire starting materials. I am going to do a follow up post to this one about different fire tenders (i.e. lint, Vaseline cotton ball, etc).

The only thing I would say about your system is, make sure you either have more than one of these kits in your BOB or keep the items split up. If you happen to lose the Fire Kit that is in your BOB you are really in trouble because all of your fire tools are gone at once.

Thanks for commenting,



Survivor_ 1997 March 8, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Thanks for the tip. I like to keep a book of MRE matches in my wallet for when I need fire and dont have a fire kit with me. Also when you right the article on different tinders, be sure to explain how to obtain natural tinder (i.e. Cattail fluff, "fat wood", shredded cedar bark, etc.)


Lucas_SurvCache March 9, 2010 at 3:45 am

Yea matches are just one of those things you should always have with you, like a knife.

I will definitely include those natural things. I have used cedar shaving a lot, but cattails is one I hadn't thought of, but it makes sense.


Leon March 16, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Hi Lucas! I disagree with some of your firemaking choices, but that doesn't mean we can't have a courteous discussion about it! Here's the story I did, after extensive research on several methods of fire ignitors:…
Please take a look! I like your blog – keep up the good work!


Lucas_SurvCache March 17, 2010 at 4:58 am


Thanks for commenting and thanks for the compliments. I checked out your blog and you do a great job. I'll be following from now on.

Now then about fire tools. I read you article and it is obvious you did a ton research.

I completely agree that matches and lighters are certainly not the best fire making tools, and I realize there are times when they are going to fail. Any system will fail eventually.

My theory, and the purpose of this article, is to point out to people that you should have several redundant and different fire making systems. You should have five or six in your gear in different places. Like I said, if you lose one you can still make it. (Like in your hunting trip story.)

Also, the 9V and Steel Wool method is a favorite of mine that has never been affected by the weather in my experience. You just have to make sure you keep a Lithium batter and change it every year or so.


Ian March 17, 2010 at 5:14 am

To start a fire in hot climes I would recommend a magnifying glass. Doesn`t run out of gas or anything either just remember to start the fire while its still light.


Lucas_SurvCache March 17, 2010 at 7:49 pm


That's another good one. You really don't even need a hot climate so to speak either, just a day with clear strong sunlight.

I like the idea of having fire methods that don't ever run out of juice so to speak.

Another good one of these is the bottom of a coke can. Hold some dry tinder in the curved bottom part of a coke can (polish it as much as possible first) and angle it towards the sun.


caine30 May 31, 2010 at 7:11 pm

I would like to address your statment about not needing a fire in hot climate well you are right and wrong about that. in the day time it can be hot as all get out but as the sun falls it gets cold really fast so Ian is right about needing a fire to keep warm cause as you know once you get cold and miserable its hard to keep a good positive attitude about your situation which is key to suviving any thing.


Maurice Gundrum April 8, 2012 at 11:15 am

I was thinking the same thing. Makes a good back up and has many uses.


Lucas_SurvCache April 5, 2010 at 12:10 am


Good job. Getting started is really the key and the step by step process makes things mangeable.

Glad I could help!


Kevinthenurse September 27, 2010 at 10:15 pm

I like the road flare idea. It just seems like overkill for one fire. I don't know a lot about them other than how to strike one. Can you cut them up for multi-use? Just curious.


jarhead03 February 20, 2011 at 3:06 am

I suggest storing the road flare in a PVC pipe. One side cap sealed and the other cap can be held sealed by tape. You don’t want it to break or leak in your BOB. I keep 6 road flares in my vehicle just in case.


Lucas_SurvCache April 8, 2010 at 10:27 am

I'm glad to see this sparked a debate. Though I knew it would.

Everyone makes a valid point.

I agree that if you can use a rifle/shotgun then all the better but that's not always the case, and since this is a hypothetical anyway, I'll stick with just debating the two calibers.

I also definitely agree that getting shot by any caliber will change things in a hurry.


mr.smashy April 8, 2010 at 1:23 pm

I chose .40 S&W as my primary caliber because of it's wide adoption by LE agencies all over the US. Also, during the ammo shortage in '09, .40 S&W was always still available. Sometimes the prices were inflated, but it was still available, while 9mm and .45 ACP was not available for any amount of money. I have only a limited requirement for factory ammunition, as I reload, but the experience was interesting.

I also have some pistols in 9mm, because it is very easy to shoot and ammunition is very cheap. After shooting .40 for so long, 9mm is an accurate round and recoil is extremely manageable.

With modern, bonded hollow point ammunition, all three calibers will perform equally, and provide equal "stopping power" (ability to stop an attack, not kill or maim or damage tissue). With ball ammo, you are going to want the heaviest, largest projectile, with the best shot placement possible. 9mm 124 gr ball versus .45 230 gr. ball is not a hard decision, especially if you are using a good quality .45 pistol and train and are proficient.

I think a large part of this would be "training and proficiency". If you cannot handle a .45 or .40 caliber pistol, shoot 9mm and be the best you can be with your weapon system.


mr_smashy April 8, 2010 at 1:46 pm

I've changed jobs drastically over the last few years, and my EDC bag has gone from this:
to this:

I can't run as well with the messenger bag setup, but it's actually MORE functional than the jocked out MOLLE pack. The interior is high contrast and finding gear and the admin area is setup very nicely. There is a whole flickr set dedicated to how the messenger bag is setup here:…

Does it blend? Sure. Do I blend? I need to learn how to walk like a human being and stop checking my six every five meters, keep my hands either in or out of my pockets, stop scanning people's faces and hands, etc. Then I have a shot at blending.


Suburban Survivalist April 8, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Since 9mm is relatively cheap most can afford to shoot more of it, thereby increasing their proficiency and perhaps hitting their target more.

A note of caution on cheap 9mm ammo; last year at a gun show I picked up 1,440 rds of eastern block 9mm ammo in a sealed tin – cheap! Got about 50 rds through my CZ-75B at the local indoor range when I felt a tap on my shoulder. Turns out it was steel core rather than lead core and therefore could not be used at the indoor range. I understand many indoor ranges have that prohibition since the steel penetrates further through the barriers. Fine for outdoors shooting thought. On a side note, the ammo has shot just about flawlessly after ~500 rds – a great deal. Just an FYI.


nightrunner April 8, 2010 at 7:04 pm

bigger hole means the victim bleeds out faster.

In a service-sized pistol, I prefer .45 if its concealed carry, thats another thing but I still take .45 in MOST cases.

some JHP .45acp expands to approx. .70 caliber, thats a BIG hole. I prefer a fairly large .45 like the XD-45. no compare the capacity any 9mm on the market. the highest capacity one is the XDM-9 at 19 rounds versus the XD-45 of 13 rounds. 6 rounds while is a decent difference isnt huge especially when you consider the damaging effects of each respectable round. and if you compare it to say the G17, it only holds 17 rounds, the beretta 92 holds only 15.


nightrunner April 8, 2010 at 7:05 pm

when you compare double stack to double stack guns, the 9mm versions really dont hold that many more rounds, in the new-gen HK guns (P30 and HK45) the 9mm version holds 15 and the 45 version holds 12, not a whole lot of difference. in 1911s the 9mm versions usually hold 9 rounds, while the standard .45 holds 8 rounds, even less difference there. glock is 17 rounds in 9mm to 13 rounds of .45 still not much considering.

besides what would you rather have, the american caliber of .45 acp or the european standard of 9x19mm?

also remember a 9mm is a .45 set to stun, and real men do not believe in stun.


mr_smashy April 8, 2010 at 8:49 pm

I wasn't kidding when I said all modern bonded jacketed hollow point bullets have the same amount of "stopping power". Consider this photo:… All calibers and several bullet weights of each caliber all meet the FBI recommended minimum 12" of penetration and leave similar permanent wound trails. I you purchase quality hollow point ammunition in any caliber and you get it to connect you will get the same results

>also remember a 9mm is a .45 set to stun, and real men do not believe in stun.

I hear this from old duffers and guys that wear cammies at the range, but when I offer to try and stun them, they don't take me up on the offer. Why is this?

9mm may be cheaper to shoot using factory or import surplus, but if your serious about sustainable firearms independence, you should be at least a beginner reloader. In that case it can actually be cheaper to reload .45 ACP ammunition.


Josh May 12, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Just one thing on the fire strikers, The part you actually strike is made out of ferrocerium or steel and the silver, flammable part is made of magnesium.


Lucas_SurvCache May 28, 2010 at 5:37 am

Good call Josh, I mis-spoke in the article I need to change that.


Joe August 2, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Actually, the one pictured does not use Magnesium, except for what is incorperated into the rod. The Magnesium firestarters are rectangular. The one shown is just a ferrocerium rod that you scrape with the supplied scraper or a knife blade.
The plain rods can be found here at a decent price and varied sizes: is an example of the Magnesium bars.
btw, I hve nothing to do with the site. they just came up in a search and had what I needed.


caine30 May 28, 2010 at 3:43 am

not sure if this has been mentioned yet or not but a good thing to try is using trioxine fuel tabs with your strikeforce fire starters all they need is a good hot spark and you have a 15-30 min flame to get a fast camp fire going just somthing to try out…


Lucas_SurvCache May 28, 2010 at 5:39 am


Good call on the trioxane tabs. I would probably include that on my list of Survival Fire Tenders rather than fire starters since you still need something to give you the initial spark.


caine30 May 28, 2010 at 11:28 am

first off i am sorry I guess i missed the last statement about this being about the starters and not the tinber that is what i get for doing like twenty things at once lol. and second i would like to add that in a pinch a fuse ignitor works well when placed in dry tinder.


Josh May 30, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Steel wool and a 9 volt battery work well.


caine30 May 31, 2010 at 7:22 pm

that they do i have to agree with you hole heartedly on that one. another thing to think on is in an extrme emergency like i had a few years ago when a blizzard hit my area while my buddies and i were out snowshoeing is using two or three rounds from your gun. pull the lead off empty out the powder and then fire the primer on some leaves to ignite them or even just make it smolder them touch the powder with it. I know from experience it is not the best way but it does work when faced with freezing to death or heat.


Lucas_SurvCache June 2, 2010 at 3:16 am

@ Josh

Agreed. I would have to say that is actually my favorite on this list.

I've never actually tried to use a 9V and steel wool until the battery went dead but I imagine it would take quite a few times.

However, it does have it's drawbacks. Mainly, batteries are susceptible to cold weather.


When I first read your comment I thought you were just going to say ignite the powder.

I've honestly never thought of just firing the primer, I've have to try that one. I wonder if it has any ill effects on your gun/barrel?


caine30 June 9, 2010 at 1:44 am

nothing really cause all you are doing is firering a blank lol but it worked well in the blizzard lol another thing is i dont think the one or two times you do it will avvect anything other than giving you knowledge which is somthing we all need


Kinglsayer July 10, 2010 at 1:48 pm

In the scouts we used to make fire starters out of paper egg cartons, sawdust, and gulf wax. Separate the top from bottom, then fill the cups with sawdust. Next, take the melted wax and put a good coating over the top. After the wax cools, dunk the bottom of the cups into the wax, and voila, waterproof tinder.


sock puppet September 22, 2010 at 3:12 pm

As much time as I've spent outdoors, I still had to learn that one from my daughter while she was in the Girl Scouts several years ago. Instead of sawdust, they used dryer lint but when she told me how she started a fire, I wondered why I had never thought of that. When I thought of all the time I spent trying to light pine needles and semi-dry bark with a bow-drill …


David August 3, 2010 at 10:33 pm

as for waterproofing matches…the old advice was to dip them in wax but the problem with that is the wax can cause the red tip of the match to deteriorate over time…applying some clear nail polish to the head would make it waterproof without deteriorating the head


Lucas_SurvCache April 5, 2010 at 12:12 am


That's a good point and something people should remember.

For this recommendation I was thinking more of either getting out of a city, where there might not be too much worry of people sneaking up on you because there are people running around everywhere. OR If you decide you are ok, and stay for the rescue process, drowning out the sirens could make your day a lot better.


aj52 September 10, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Definitely interested in the 9 volt LED flashlight if you find the source. Thanks.


Kevinthenurse September 27, 2010 at 10:25 pm

I believe the 9-volt flashlight company is pak-lite ( And they are amazing little lights. I just posted a review about a flashlight study I did in the flashlight category earlier today. The pak-lite beat out all the expensive competition. I wound up buying 3 for myself (work/vehicle/B.O.B.) and I'm planning on sending some as gifts!


Kevinthenurse September 27, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Its great to know a million ways to start a fire in an emergency. Personally, I find it funny to see die-hard campers/survivalists INTENTIONALLY not take a lighter out in the field or worse… spend $40+ on a super-duper-mega-amazing-lighter/torch/welder "thingamabob" (that eventually gets lost or they don't know how to refill). LETS BE REALISTS the common 99 cent cigarette lighter is super easy. Instead of buying $40 specialty lighters, here is my favorite little do-it-yourself 2 minute upgrade. Take a cheap-o lighter that you can buy at any convenience store counter. (I prefer the see-through kind, so I keep an eye on the fluid level). Take a 3 or 4 inch piece of scrap paracord, make a "U" on the lighter with the cord, leaving enough of the bottom part of the "U" hanging off, to form a loop. and wrap the sides of the lighter/paracord-ends with a 1 inch wide piece of duct/gorilla tape. Hang it on a carabiner, dog-chain, or wherever you like. I keep several of these just hanging around on the camping bag, B.O.B., workbench. Don't get me wrong. I still keep my emergency fire-skills sharp. but I can make WAY more fires with $7 worth of lighters than I can a $7 mag/ferro bar or $20 blastmatch. I do own mag/ferro rods and such for back-up but the basic fact is a 3 second burn to light your tinder is by far more calorie/cost efficient than alternatives. Feel free to critique.


Kevinthenurse September 27, 2010 at 11:06 pm

I've seen fire started with ice (used like a magnifying glass). I have also "personally" seen the bottom of the soda can and chocolate bar method. Both take a lot of prep-work and optimum sunny condition. Both take enough work that I only recommend the techniques as entertainment… and that is only if you are very very very bored.


Mpod October 12, 2010 at 8:36 pm

You can fill a clear condom with water and use it as a lens to focus sunlight to start a fire.


Siphran October 20, 2010 at 1:13 pm

This isnt a way to start a fire really, because if you have a lighter you have a way before you try this. It is a entertaining thing to do though, and might be useful for something who knows? A light+some sort of spray (like Axe) becomes sort of a flame thrower. I dont really know what it would be used for, but just thought id bring it up. I use it for killing spiders. Heheh


Siphran October 20, 2010 at 11:45 pm

Sorry, meant a lighter.


Kevinthenurse October 22, 2010 at 2:13 pm

A tip my friend gave to me……… To protect your ferro rod / fire steel / etc, Cover it with wire "shrink wrap" until its needed. A quick nip with a knife and it peels right off. Great for BOBs where it may sit long term. Slide the shrink wrap on, heat it a couple seconds till it shrinks, trim it off.


Guest April 8, 2010 at 6:30 am

Handguns don't really knock anything down. They just don't. I wish we would stop using that term.


Dustin April 8, 2010 at 6:58 am

To keep it particular to the 9mm vs .45 debate, assuming both are similarly jacketed, .45 as a subsonic round and a larger projectile will produce a larger amount of impact trauma on the target, whereas the smaller, faster 9mm projectile will have a higher tendency to penetrate.

Neither is "Best" – it depends on your needs and philosophy – are you trying to neutralize or to provide deterrence?

If this is to be your last line of defense only, you wouldn't want to give an attacker an opportunity to persevere – .45 is the best bet in that regard, especially since ammo may be in short supply – military and other "direct action" units train to [pardon the expression] "double tap" since they usually use 9mm sidearms or even SMG (usually in single fire mode – unless support during breaking contact activity.) Basically, you will need 2 shots of 9mm for every shot of .45 if you are trying to stop someone in their tracks.

That said, this isn't hollywood where someone can take 20 rounds and still wage a successful counter – getting shot is highly traumatic and most organisms flee or acquiesce afterwards, but some may press on – bears, chemically influenced, zombie-apocalypse levels or desperation, etc.

IMHO a 9mm OR .45 is really just a backup to a shotgun, which is a backup to a rifle.

In a SHTF scenario, any gunshot wound will likely become fatal eventually – access to medical treatment will be greatly hampered – we'll be lucky enough to survive the myriad of illnesses, cuts, scrapes, and broken bones let alone getting lead-ventilated.


guest April 8, 2010 at 7:22 am

Dustin, that was a great way to put it when you said, "IMHO a 9mm OR .45 is really just a backup to a shotgun, which is a backup to a rifle."

The handgun is a weapon of high utility, but vastly inferior to a shoulder held weapon in almost any situation other than nose to nose contact like a gunfight in a broom closet.


mab October 22, 2012 at 1:30 pm

What a great idea! I've been doing thing for 0ver 50 years, and always had to move them down the line. I still have/use the :o fficial Boy scout steel l I got for $.50 in 1958, modified into a knife/spear blade .And there are lotsa rocks if you know what to look for.
I've carried one of those "metal matches" since they first came out, before they got cloned with magnesium , another great idea. ( It cracked me up to see those clowns on that "Survivor show trying to make fire with a machete! And failing!)
I usually wear mine around my neck, with the neck knife, and the sweat rots them out pretty quck, but your idea will give them a much longer life THX Fourbears


Duck October 26, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Back to the potassium permanganate and glycerin. I really like these in my altoid tin survival kit. You can store them in separate drinking straws by pinching each end of the straw and melting it. I hold them closed with needle nose pliers and then melt with a lighter. I use different colored straws to designate each chemical. It’s also nice to put bleech in a straw.

The potassium permanganate and bleach can be used to treat drinking water and the glycerin is an effective treatment for psoriasis, burns, bites, cuts, rashes, bedsores, and calluses.

I really like having things in my kit that serve multiple purposes.


roke November 19, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Stock up on dryer lint. It lights easily and as long as you're doing laundry you've got an endless supply and it's free. You still need to provide a spark but that and some dry sticks is what I use all winter long in my wood stove.


Chefbear58 December 1, 2010 at 9:40 pm

To be honest, the absolute best "fire-starting" tool or really tool for any situation has got to be human ingenuity. This can be proven by simply reading the posts here (a condom full of water?!), I have used a bottle of water, magnifying glass, strikers, ect. it just proves that when the "ordinary" person is put into a situation where they need to become "extra-ordinary" there is hope, and we can rise above our supposed limitations. Sorry if that sounds a little "hippie", but if you think about it you'll probably agree.


Survival Samurai December 18, 2010 at 4:16 pm

You can strike the steel wool with your flint and steel and it'll light up with some good embers. Some cottonballs and a small can of Murrays pomade, strike it with your Flint and steel and it'll ligt up just fine!


Pepe December 30, 2010 at 4:52 pm

These would work. Dual purpose too. ORION Handheld Red Locator $28.99 Box of 4…
ORION White Handheld Flares $24.99 Box of 4–white-handhe…


krepto January 3, 2011 at 11:56 pm

if you have some of those cardboard matches and you want to conserve them. you could always peel them in half from the bottom and you get two chances per match. However, depending on the quality or age of the matches, they might crumble if you peel them by hand. maybe use a razor or knife to split the cardboard.


William February 2, 2011 at 12:57 am

I saw the comment on no knives with hollow handles. Yet I found literally a Rambo replica knife, with a certificate of authenticity and a lifetime warranty for survival and outdoor type use just thought I'd bring it up. Mostly I think if it was going to break it wouldn't come with a lifetime warranty but darn it all I could be wrong.


craig the tree guy February 12, 2011 at 2:38 pm

i have used a magnifiying sheet they sell at STAPLES stores for reading text.we found one in a truck where i work and we were able to light a co-workers cigarette with it,and melted the paint off some steel on a old bucket truck.(i do tree work for a living).you just need a little sun for it to work.i took it home and put it in my B-O-Bag ,it takes up no room whats so ever.try it it really works.


jarhead03 February 20, 2011 at 4:07 am

I store matches in 35mm film containers I get for free by asking the employee at the film department at walmart, costco or walgreens. I cut down book matches to fit in there, cut the rough strike area and slide it in the container then tape it off. Its waterproof and doesn’t take much room or weigh anything.

I do the same thing with tender and cotton balls dipped in vasaline.


guest March 1, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Steel wool will start a fire without the battery as well. All you really need to do is use the ferro/firesteel on the steel wool and it will catch on fire just like with the battery. Steel Wool is also a plus because it burns at 1000 degrees F. if i remember right


T.Rapier April 3, 2011 at 7:24 pm

There is a metal cleaning product called Nevr-Dull . It works fantastic for its intended purpose , its basically a can full of solvent soaked gauze . Just pinch off a bit of gauze and go to town . Its also EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE . A good spark will set a piece of its gauze on fire easily . I packed some in a film canister and put the canister in a zip lock , works great for tender . You can get this stuff at a decent grocery store or an auto supply place .


CO_Horseman001 April 5, 2011 at 8:14 am

A good thing to pack which will help assist with the starting of a good fire. Learn to make "Char". Keep it in a sealed tin or plastic waterproof container that is somewhat ridged. Char is delicate. But all it needs is a small spark from flint, a spark from an empty lighter, or anything that will throw a spark. Further, ensure you have a well built stack ready to receave your char. Practice often and freaquently in your back yard, park, where ever it's convenient. Like land navigation, making a good fire from scratch or what ever is at hand, is a parishable skill.


CO_Horseman001 April 5, 2011 at 8:15 am

you can buy small ones that fit easily into your kit. Even comes with a striker surface. Cheap at walmart in the camping section.


Joe July 5, 2011 at 11:01 am

Fire-starter:You still need to light this, but it burns a helluva long time (think rain);

a cotton ball with a wipe of Vaseline on it


Jacques July 26, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Also try a fresnel lens, it is about the size of a credit card. Weighs just about nothing plus its flat. Only downside is that the sun must be shining for it to work. Great as a back up to your primary fire starters.


Ryan D July 29, 2011 at 9:44 pm

One more interesting way is if you happen to have a pistol or rifle handy. Remove the round from the casing, pour anywhere from 50-75% of the powder on to whatever you’re trying to light, stuff a wad of cotton (think tearing a small piece from the bottom of your shirt) back in to the shell casing, then just point and shoot. You’ll fire a flaming ball of cotton on to the gun powder and will most certainly light your fire.


Mini survivalist(ty) August 1, 2011 at 2:18 pm

when potassium permanganate and antifreeze are combined they will burst into flames via chemical reaction (duh). i have these in my BoB


bob August 18, 2011 at 1:07 am

i got a firestarter and apiece of hacksaw blade. werks fas and effective for scraping little peelings
from the backend of the magnesium block and it burns hot. otherwise a cotton ball soaked in alcohol based hand santizer werks wonderfully as does a clump of cedar bark shavings happy hunting all


CaptBart September 30, 2011 at 11:11 am

you can also warm petroleum jelly to a liquid and soak your cotton balls in it. It makes a fabulous tinder and will even burn while floating in water. I keep several in a sealed prescription pill bottle.


SurvivorDan August 28, 2011 at 9:54 pm

In my Go-bag I carry matches, waterproof matches, lighters, a magnifying glass, a flint and striker, a magnesium striker, 000 steel wool (use the Surefires batteries for that) and am currently looking into acquiring a fire piston. I'll pass on the condom :) , but I get the point. Bag of water etc.
I can use the mirrored reflector of my Maglite with the 000 steel wool to make fire. Remove the reflector and push a loose wisp of steel wool up from the bottom end into the cone of the reflector. Find the right angle on the sun….it don't take long.


SurvivorDan August 28, 2011 at 9:56 pm

I carry a 2 D cell Mag. Doesn't work well with the mini-mag.


Christopher de Vidal September 16, 2011 at 7:26 am

Rub two boy scouts together.


Christopher de Vidal September 16, 2011 at 7:28 am

I've seen fire started this way: Break an incandescent flashlight's bulb, place tinder on the wires, turn on the bulb. A.) You sacrifice a perfectly good flashlight and B.) incandescent bulbs are rarer every day.


squiddy1 October 14, 2011 at 10:50 am

A friend of mine went up in to Wyoming to do some hunting, He is a pretty good survivalist in his own right and as the day got longer and the temp was below zero he and his friend decided to stay in a natural made shelter for the night, 1 problem even though they had fire making tools the wood was frozen solid and covered with snow. His friend said he had an idea they got as much of the frozen wood as they could in a pile and then he took out a road flare, struck it and tossed it in to the pile of wood about 10 minutes later they had a roaring fire.
When asked why the hell he carried a road flare his answer was for a signaling device in case he was injured


terran October 17, 2011 at 10:52 pm

This sounds a little out there but a multi purpose item that is a great fire starting aid that I discovered on accident is hand sanitizer most are about about 65% ethyl alcohol the necessary amount depends on ur situation but it burns sometimes with an “invisible” flame or light blue but it burns hot and consistent u can light it multiple times…just experiment with it.


Mike U November 3, 2011 at 11:58 am

Anyone watch the battery hack videos? There is one where the guy uses a phone jack to power a cheap LED light. That could be useful for short term losses of power. just and FYI.


Brock November 30, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Have you tried a bow drill?


MethanP December 3, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Collect dryer filter lint. Great tinder. A former boy scout.


nick December 16, 2011 at 12:57 pm

i like to keep not only waterproof matches in my survival kit as well as a sparker and torch flame wind resistant lighter; but a trusty or even cheep plastic magnifying gla……..plastic to use the suns rays to your advantage.


Michigan81 December 25, 2011 at 3:06 pm

How about Lithium metal strips out of a lithium battery? It reacts with moisture. It must be housed in light oil/sealed container.

If you mix Thermite (welding powder) with some lithium, all you have to do is add a drop of water and you got a fire hot enough to start any wet tinder.

I also keep a small ampule of powdered Magnesium in my backpack as well.

Although this method is pretty foolproof, these highly reactive metals need to be store properly (Especially the lithium).


McGeezer January 4, 2012 at 7:31 am

You don't have to sacrifice a working flashlight for a fire, if you have a Bic razor. And I noticed there is one in the snakebite venom sucker kit. A fellow inmate in a county jail once showed me some interesting tricks with Bic razors. After the "ten second scalpel" demo, I learned how to light a cigarette using a 1.5 volt battery from a sheriff-approved radio and one of the thin blades taken out of the Bic, shorted in the 90 deg. angle where the stainless steel bunk was attached to the wall, or where the flat cross braces held the cell round bars together. I would imagine that if a 1.5 volt battery will heat that thin strip up enough to light a cigarette, just about any battery you can find will do, if you have a disposable razor and something to short it all together with. you might have to sacrifice something if you keep shorting a battery, so you want to think about that. But of course a fire trumps most things, eventually.


McGeezer January 4, 2012 at 7:33 am

By the way, for the "10 second scalpel" you throw the razor to the floor, stomp the head of it to pieces, scoop up one of the blades and jam it into the hollow square plastic base of the razor handle. Could be slashing jugulars before you know it. Or more to the point, before they do. It's ever so sharp.


Janet January 18, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Thanks for the excellent article. If you're going to the trouble to carry a small can of propane for a lighter, consider also carrying a creme brulee torch. Basically a miniature propane torch, this device can provide heavy duty, sustained and easily directed flame for a longer period than a lighter. Sound silly? It's a McGivver solution that provides a substantial flame. If you or your SO owns one of these just store it in the bug out bag, with the propane can.


Janet January 19, 2012 at 1:40 am

Excuse me. Just realized what I wrote… should be butane, not propane. duh…


Tym January 26, 2012 at 10:48 am

One more chemical fire starter that would probably be readily available in an urban/suburban last resort scenario is pool chlorine and brake fluid. Make a small pile, tsp size or so, of chlorine powder in your tinder, pour a tsp of brake fluid on it, and stand back a bit. As seen on youtube.


Patrick February 3, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Something to keep in mind: Bic lighters have about 3x more 'flint' in them than they ever use. I.E., you will run out of fuel in the lighter long before you run out of striker. After the fuel is gone, you still have what is essentially a Swedish Firesteel or Blastmatch in a smaller form. The sparks will light a soaked Q-Tip, or dryer lint, or steel wool easily; just take the metal hood off from around the gas nozzle.


Rob February 7, 2012 at 10:52 pm

nail polish is a great way to waterproof matches. just paint over the entire tip and down the wood alittle bit and you can literally drop them in water pull em out and strike them right up


Tbear1956 February 13, 2012 at 3:48 pm

If the sun is out , your eye glasses work fine especially if you wear Bi-Focals.


MAD February 24, 2012 at 9:45 am

I have no wisdom to share on this topic. But I am glad I came across this as I am recently starting out and want to fine tune my B.O.B.S. (3 in the fam and the dogs get their own bags) Thanks for all the great info!


mike February 26, 2012 at 11:04 pm

I have a couple of small butane cylinders and a pencil torch with push button igniter. Have kept it in my car for 2 years and even in really hot summer weather and sub zero winter weather and it works great “no explosions” an added bonus is i can add a soldering iron tip and have a portable soldering iron. Originally bought it for soldering wires in my car but i saw the potential for it in emergency situations.


Dahan March 11, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Get a real knife. Ka-Bar or similar. are you more worried about saving two square inches of space on your person or having a blade you can count on? Semper Fi.


Dahan March 11, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Get yourself two or three briquettes of Matchlight. Put them in a sealed plastic baggie. They can be broken down into tiny pieces or pulverized for super quick/easy lighting. They light incredibly easily and burn hot and for a long time. Enough to dry and ignite damp/green wood. Cheaper than cheap, light weight and small.


Prepper101 March 17, 2012 at 9:09 pm

one of the best things ive found for tinder,.. as far as flammable material goes,.. is Dryer Lint. Free, packable, and flammable.


ilike2survie May 12, 2012 at 1:19 pm

cotton balls and petroleum jelly w/ a match or lighter, boom instant fire


stan May 18, 2012 at 8:39 pm

forget ingenuity, adaptation and contentedness is where it's at.
If you NEED fire, you are not a survivor, for without the fire, you'd die. Its a crutch. Animals have no problem surviving without fire because they have been unable to hear/see/understand our indoctrination of lies and deception. And even if they could, why would they give their regard to ones who so obviously fail here and have a hard time coping.
darkness never killed anyone, unless the sun doesn't come back around one day!, though it would be blamed because we don't take responsibility for our actions and are effect focused, rather than cause.
fire is not only way to generate heat
culturally learnt, not necessary for life, only humans and their domesticated animals are slaves to fire and only humans and their domesticated animals are sick and dying on a massive and rapid scale and have no clue, start walking [heat generation] towards the opposite pole [where conditions for life {for humans}are gained through ease]. We observe this as migration @@.
Changes chemistry of food = sickness via lack of nutrition [do some research on the "white tide" effect]. Mechanical effects of temperature [hot and freezing] are primary cause of tooth degradation along with leaching of alkalizing substances to counter our extremely acidic lifestyles, for an acidic state is essential for keeping us sick and daft.
dead giveaway = survival now includes warfare.
no ease = energy return for investment is counter productive in comparison.

A direct personal experience with Nature is all an entity in form needs. Forget the interpreters that want to give you their view of the world, the middlemen who want us to get our experiences from them, at a cost, that you cannot see, until too late. Usually…..
j/k, why would I want to waste MY time convincing YOU that you need stuff. Beliefs and profits go hand in hand. Wakey wakey , we win hearts and minds.

I personally will be steering well clear of anyone that shows dependence on fire. For they are anti naturals in my eyes, industrialists whos' mindsets have caused the very dilemma that may have us concened for our survival. Ie, everything poisoned and fenced off, zombies chasing dollar and steak.
Don't understand the logic in giving a life force a bodily form, that it cannot operate in correctly, why not keep them in a dogs body with the preoccupation on sex food war social standing and some termite ability thrown in too …for the architects.


Mike2 July 25, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Uhh yeah, what he said. lol


Jeff August 12, 2012 at 12:22 am

LOL, Yea, as soon as the hair on my ass gets as thick as a Bear's I'll gladly follow your logic. Until then, the blackened tips of my fingers indicate that my body isn't well suited for the freezing temps. Go back to the books, please.


Joe September 9, 2012 at 7:47 pm

UMMM. So the next time I get cold I'm supposed to migrate? On foot? Go back to your armchair.


Jim March 21, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Stan…….relax. We are using our brains and having fun with the intent of one day staying warm or cooking our food. That's all. I lit a fire in my yurt last nite cause I was cold; I know that I could have stayed up all nite doing jumping jacks to keep the blood flowing; but to me that is not as smart as lighting a fire and going to bed. Incidentally; I go to bed cause I have to work tomorrow.


sean May 20, 2012 at 5:16 pm

A small fresnel lens is a great fire-starter and is about the size of a credit card…


Backpacker312 August 1, 2012 at 9:33 pm

With cotton balls, also put them in a film canister after you saturate them in Neosporin. Not only will this ignite fairly well, but also great for use in your first aid kit.


Ajax August 5, 2012 at 12:26 pm

what about creating a fire with Ice/glass fragments? you can use it to focus light onto tinder to create an ember.


Josh August 19, 2012 at 5:04 pm

A magnifying glass or a pair of glasses would work sufficiently too. As long as you have sunlight that is.


Scott P October 6, 2012 at 9:56 pm

I really like the Vaseline coated cotton balls. They burn great, you can ignite them with a steel sparker and if you improvise something to catch the melting petroleum it will burn for a good few minutes to light even wet stuff. 2nd are the wax coated cotton makeup pads. Here are 2 links to both ideas. Super easy for Scouts and super light for the survivalist. I take the cotton balls and coat them in Vaseline and then put them in straws and melt both ends shut. You just cut them open with a knife and they are ready to go.……


HannahWilson22 October 22, 2012 at 10:54 am

Well, if you're really interested in creating fire, I'm sure that having portable flare stacks will make you successful in doing so. I tell you, that's one of the best ways to create fire.


Riley October 22, 2012 at 11:04 am

One of my favorite ways to start and maintain a fire in any situation is with InstaFire. Check out


Dev Zaveri November 14, 2012 at 1:45 am

How about a 9V battery and some steel wool? It's worked for me!


Carlee November 23, 2012 at 1:45 pm

try soaking cotton balls (first aid, not cosmetic) in vaseline and put them in plastic bags – light weight and great fire starters. and they take up very little room. If you have old film canisters, they keep matches dry.


Cody C. November 26, 2012 at 1:00 pm

One of my favorites is using an LED Flashlight (like a MagLight) to start a fire. It should be something you have anyway and it doesn't destroy the flashlight. Basically you disconnect the wires from the bulb and get them to arc among good tinder. Works every time and the higher end flashlights are easily reassembled.


Ebonclaw November 30, 2012 at 2:04 am

May or may not relate to the situation, but you can use Isopropyl Alcohol in a penny stove made from 2 aluminum soda cans, once it gets warm enough for the alcohol to pressurize and evaporate, you have a nice little fire stove for cooking, light, heat, ect, and the best part is, the only cost is the fuel for it. Managed to cook a can of chicken noodles in a couple of mins. Once finished with the stove, drain the rest of the fuel and it becomes portable, or you can make a new one if you find 2 soda cans down the road


iriscutforth December 21, 2012 at 3:02 pm

I rarely make a fire. But, when I do, I always make sure that I have either a fat cigar or cigarettes to lite kleenex and blow onto the flameless burning kleenex to get a flame, that is, if I don't use matches. Cigars are also good for burning cuts to stop the bleeding. Soft wood is the best choice over hard wood, any type that is in the crumbling stage. Hard wood burns longer and slower with less flame & could last as long as five to seven hours. If you pick small branches that bend, then, the branch is too, too, too, green and will take forever to burn.


megasiras December 24, 2012 at 9:53 am

Better matches, nothing!


jearuiz01 January 2, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Hey I do have a thing to say, a fellow inmate in a county jail once showed me some interesting tricks with Bic razors. After the "ten second scalpel" demo, I learned how to light a cigarette using a 1.5 volt battery from a sheriff-approved radio and one of the thin blades taken out of the Bic, shorted in the 90 deg. angle where the stainless steel bunk was attached to the wall, or where the flat cross braces held the cell round bars together.


karim January 19, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Thank you for these valuable information.


Brett March 10, 2013 at 2:13 am

Road Flare


Jim March 21, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Here in new Mexico I use a small mirror that is used to magnify your face [convex] it will start a fire on a sunny day in seconds and requires no resources. Jim


Jim March 21, 2013 at 6:03 pm



Jim March 21, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Stan…….relax. We are using our brains and having fun with the intent of one day staying warm or cooking our food. That's all. I lit a fire in my yurt last nite cause I was cold; I know that I could have stayed up all nite doing jumping jacks to keep the blood flowing; but to me that is not as smart as lighting a fire and going to bed. Incidentally; I go to bed cause I have to work tomorrow.


nick March 22, 2013 at 12:25 am

Not sure if this should be under tinder or firestarting but…I have used a twelve gauge shotgun round several times to start fire with a spark source. For you hunters out there, all you need to do is CAREFULLY cut the shell open and pour the powder charge out. Lights wonderfully!!!


nod32 Keys April 23, 2013 at 12:56 pm

hitting two stones together


Lonner June 1, 2013 at 11:53 am

Great wealth of knowledge with all the commentors. If you have binoculars/monocular and direct sun, turn it around and use as a magnifying glass. My brother started a forest fire at age 12 that way. So much for human ingenuity!


Thane July 6, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Have you ever tried a 9v and a gum wrapper aka” a prison match” the foil conducts the charge and the paper burns easily


Rev. Don July 12, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Bow Drill, Fire Plow, Pump Drill, Magnesium bar and striker, Flint and Steel


NoisyCricket October 27, 2013 at 10:07 pm

One way that is very fast very simple and works even after wet…
Often overlooked comes in many sizes….fits in your bag, takes up very little space….durable….what is it you ask?
Magnifying glass…Duh…
You can also polish the bottom of a soda can with chocolate, toothpaste…ketchup…or just good ole chrome polish from the autoparts store…use it as a parabolic dish… It lights char cloth very easy.
If you really want to look smart and combine an item…make you an alcohol stove out of soda cans and then polish the bottom of the stove. Put it with some char cloth in a small container and there ya go…both your stove and fire starter in one item.
Bad thing is these only work in sunlight…boo…


jackass October 30, 2013 at 3:38 am

fuck all of you dumb fucks


dan October 30, 2013 at 3:40 am

yo jackass u can try and suck some dicks


Jazmen November 10, 2013 at 3:36 pm

another way to make a fire in a using an orange and lighter or matches. To make a fire out of a piece of fruit such as an orange lemon or lime, cut a hole in the top of the fruit and hollow out a hole. Squeeze out the juice. make it as dry as possible (not dehydrated just dry) and stick a round stone inside of the fruit. The citric acid is very flammable. Ignite the acid ans The fire should last for about 3 minutes.


Magnesium Fire Starter November 12, 2013 at 1:53 pm

I do accept as true with every one of the thoughts you’ve got displayed in your write-up. They are extremely effective and definately will unquestionably function. Even now, the actual blogposts are extremely swift first off. May perhaps you please prolong these people a bit coming from next occasion? Information article.


surviveitallcom December 3, 2013 at 12:35 am

I have one question about this. You said butane lighters are refillable. Have you ever tried to refill one of those suckers? They refill, but try to get it light again after you refill it. But, maybe it's because I have only had the cheap butane lighters. I would imagine that the more expensive ones would actually work when you refill them.


James December 12, 2013 at 4:11 am

You can also always use super glue "Krazy Glue" and cotton. It can be a piece of cotton from your shirt pants, or cotton ball, and a few of those small tubes of super glue. Just dump the glue onto the piece of cotton and as it dries out it heats rapidly creating fire. This will burn pretty well, the fumes given off are toxic so please do not inhale those at all. But given the fact the glue can also be used to staunch light wounds it's a great thing to carry in a bug out bag, even if it's in your first aid kit. It does take a few bottles of the stuff to light a cotton ball, so you better have your wood already collected as going out to get more and more firewood is not the right thing to do. Here is a link that shows it in action.


Joe December 23, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Disconnect the spark plug on a chain saw and create a spark. Can use fuel from the chain saw to increase flammability.


vietnamvet69 December 29, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Anyone tried the alcohol pads used in health care?


fun and easy things to cool things to make with duct tape January 1, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Fine way of telling, and nice paragraph to get facts about my presentation subject, which i am going to convey in academy.


Ryan January 2, 2014 at 4:14 pm

dont forget that old bullet trick if all you have is a gun and a scrap of tissue!


TremereRegent January 4, 2014 at 11:52 pm

One nice addition that i have discovered is to keep a couple tea candles in my go bag. Easy to light, and can be used to light a fire more easily than trying to hold a bic lighter lit for an extended period of time.


Joshua Derek Burgess January 7, 2014 at 5:17 am

You can also make fire through a chemical reaction with sulfuric acid (in carbbatteries), and sugar and water(also in car batteries)


ARolston January 19, 2014 at 5:57 pm

I pack road flares, they take up a little extra space, but you could practically start a fire underwater with them. Some may think it's cheating, but I'll take the 15 minutes of waterproof flames drying my wood while they're hunting dry tinder.


Roger February 7, 2014 at 4:55 pm

Forget the GaGa methods and materials, carry several disposable lighters, maybe a ferro rod as a back-up, some tea candles for wet wood fires, learn AND practice primitive fire making for fun! Don't go out in the woods hoping to be able to find the 'right' dry wood to make friction fires. Lighters are the simplest, easiest, and probably cheapest way (both in time and money) to go! KISS! (Keep It Simple Sir)


Misneac February 10, 2014 at 11:13 pm

As far as making fire goes a standard bic lighter will be useful even after it runs out of gas (and how often have you seen one run out? It's like seeing baby pigeons; you know they must exist but you hardly ever see them). Digression aside, if you have cotton socks or a flannel shirt the fine fluffy lint you can pull off of them works if you get a bunch of it and set it on top of the lighter then spark it. It takes a lot more lint than you'd think, and it's kind of a last resort method, but hey it's not a convenience blog.


Prepperkirk April 7, 2014 at 10:55 pm

My favorite fire starting method which is easy to use and come by is 9volt battery with steel wool, simply rub the terminals of the battery along the steel wool and viola you have and instant ember. Throw some dry tender or paper onto it and you have an instant flame. If need be continuously feed it paper or tender until the wood you put on it gets dry or hot enough to ignite. I use it everytime I go hiking or camping and have never been let down. My only recommendation is not to use the entire steel wool patty, instead pinch off about a waiter sized ball and work with that. Steel wool+9v terminals=a complete current of electricity those creating heat. Heat for cooking, warmth, and signaling


Xeon May 27, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Flint and steel striker


Captain_Scrumpy February 14, 2011 at 12:43 pm

He said you "don't need a hot climate" not that you don't need a fire in a hot climate.


Tori March 16, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Wait, what? Chocolate bar and soda can method? Weird! lol. I guess you can make fire out of anything. How does that work and, more importantly, is the chocolate bar still edible afterwards?


Guest March 21, 2011 at 8:22 am

Fire pistons are awesome and I was also surprised I didn't see them here.
Imagine having a tool that requires only tinder and will produce a coal every time.
Oh and it's so simple to use a child can do it.


lizette April 12, 2013 at 12:24 pm

you could also use drinking straws – thick once are better, use knitting needles or something else, to stuff it full of cotton. – but first seal off one side – use pliers to keep it flat and use lighter to seal it, stuff the cotton wool and seal off the other side as well, (it can measure about 2 centimetres or more) what i have done, i sealed off 2 matches (the thicker straw could take more, and put a flint from your matchbox maybe (small piece) into the 3rd small straw. bind together (i used a thin elastic) and maybe store this all in a tiny bag or container


Pure Mayhem May 3, 2011 at 6:40 am

It can be used for delousing your sleeping area just watch out for the burn back or you could have a grenade in your hand!


Qwiv May 26, 2011 at 10:37 am

I wouldn't put all your fire starting items in one pouch. What if you loose the pouch? Just like you never put all your eggs in one basket.


epvb June 14, 2011 at 6:13 am

was going to suggest that. you can't buy potassium permanganate in australian chemists any more i believe. used to have so much fun with this stuff as a kid :)

uh there's a type of phosphorous i'm sure someone has mentioned. 1 i believe has to be contained in a liquid, catches fire when exposed to air. the other is the reverse, catches fire under water.



epvb June 14, 2011 at 6:20 am

agreed they are very stable separated and yep keep them in their own containers. glycerin i've seen in heavy duty plastic bottles, the potassium i've only ever seen in glass bottles. also it takes a particular mixture of them both to ignite. i.e. you can drown the potassium.

used to make a little pile of permanganate with a depression in the top of the pile, then put a couple of drops of glycerin into the depression. couple of seconds and voila :) 7th grade science.

potassium permanganate has other uses of course, not out of place in a survival kit:…


dchil15 October 2, 2011 at 2:22 am

i believe the nail polish is the water proofer as when i was in the scouts they recommended just nail polish to dip them in and i have never heard of candle wax


Kyle February 16, 2012 at 5:54 am

A good way to polish that coke can is with some melted chocolate! The cocoa butter in the chocolate can actually raise quite a shine on the coke can.


Lou March 12, 2012 at 8:47 am

Thats clever


scupmonny July 4, 2012 at 11:15 am

The nice thing about those cheapo lighters is they can still be used after the fule is gone- as long as they still strike-any kind of fine grain tinder can strike up


Backpacker312 August 1, 2012 at 9:21 pm

I also do something similar. I make a "U" with paracord and use 1" Gorilla Tape to attach it. I then continue to wrap probably 10' of tape on the lighter (about 1/8 to 1/4 inch) to have this as an added bonus for emergency situations. I also have them everywhere. I probably don't even know where they all are, but at least I know where several are at any point :)


Backpacker312 August 1, 2012 at 9:24 pm

It's called "heat shrink" and can be purchased at any hardware store. My uncle lives in MO, and does this. I live in Colorado where it's not so humid, and I've never had any issues with rust on any of my gear.


Backpacker312 August 1, 2012 at 9:30 pm

From one rendezvouser to another, amen! I make my own for myself and boys in my Scout Troop. Old files seem to work really well, because of the high carbon content. But you can buy one at any rendezvous, or from many different retailers like,, and many others.


mab October 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm

What a blast from the past!I knew about the combination 50 years ago, but you couldn't get the permanganate easily. I learned about the water purifying and othe uses from a Brit, who said there where people who used it fo more nefarious purposes. I carry so many different things to do the same job, that my back is bad from the weight. I think the itel in the brain is a lot easier to carry, and if push comes to shove I always have the Bic. Fourbears


Jeff November 11, 2012 at 2:10 am

Now take your lint ior a cotton ball and add some petroleum jelly.


logan February 14, 2013 at 4:10 am

just get some stryophone and gas and make a small blob of napalm and when u need a fire literly just pinch a little peace off and that will stay lit for 1 min and a half


Agathor October 11, 2013 at 9:13 am

Magnifying glass


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