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Best Ways To Start A Fire If You Ever Get Stranded

Usually, hikers and campers depend on matches and lighters to light a fire. So knowing to start a fire without matches or a lighter is a vital survival skill. But what if these tools get wet, run out of fuel, or do not work when you need them most? What are you going to do then? We never know when a situation comes where we need a fire, and we have nothing. So, learning how to start a fire the traditional way does a great survival trick.


Pick A Spot

Wherever you are, pick a safe spot, or if you can’t find any, go somewhere else. The area shouldn’t be too windy, then dig a hole to make a pit for the fire. You can also dig a one to a two-foot deep pit with edges to block the wind.

Gather Dried Wood

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The Hand Drill

This method is a primitive strategy and the hardest one to do. However, shaft revolution and descending weight are two of the most crucial essentials for starting a hand drill fire. 

  1. Make a tinder nest. You can make it from dry leaves, bark, and grass. 
  2. Make a notch. Cut an angular notch on the fireboard and create a depression near it.
  3. Place the bark below the v-shaped cut.
  4. Start spinning. Roll the shaft in your hands rapidly until an amber light is on the fireboard.
  5. Start a fire. Now, tap the fireboard to place your ember onto the bit of bark. Slowly blow it.

Bow Drill

It is the most efficient friction-based method. As it’s easier to maintain the speed and pressure, you have to create sufficient friction to start a fire. 

  1. Get a socket. The socket can be a stone or any piece of wood if you use another piece of wood. Put pressure on the other end of the spindle as you rotate it with the bow.
  2. Make a bow. Its length should be about as long as your arm. The bow’s string can be anything like a shoelace, rope, etc. 
  3. Prepare the fireboard. Cut a v-shaped notch and make a depression next to it on the fireboard. And place your tinder underneath the notch.
  4. String up the spindle. Place one end in the fireboard of the spindle and apply pressure on the other end with your socket.
  5. Start sawing. Keep sawing until you create an ember.
  6. Make your fire. 

Fire Bow

  1. Create a hole.
  2. Carve a V-shaped notch to collect hot dust and the coal that is formed.
  3. Place the fireboard.  
  4. Wrap and put the spindle on the fireboard. Then place the socket on top of it to hold it in place. 
  5. Apply pressure on the socket and move the bow back and forth until it starts igniting. Continue for a minute or so until an ember forms. 
  6. Use the bark or leaf to transfer the burning ember to your tinder bundle.

Stone And Steel

  1. Make a tinder nest. It is to catch the spark that you’ll get with the flint and steel.
  2. Grab the steel and take the striker in both hands individually.
  3. Position the fire steel against your base and push the striker down in one smooth movement.
  4. Make your fire!

Glass Or Metal

The tip to any of these methods is to concentrate the sunlight to start a fire. A glass, mirror, or the bottom of a soda can focus the sunlight into a white-hot beam. Place the glass, mirror, or soda can into the sun. Next, place the tinder nest or char cloth on the brightest part beam and wait for it to ignite.

Lens-Based Methods

  1. Hold the magnifying glass or lens between the sun and the fuel at the bright dot that appears. 
  2. Hold it for 30 seconds to 60 seconds.
  3. And once the fuel starts smoking, gently blow to get the flame going.

Batteries and Steel Wool

  1. Rub the battery on the steel wool
  2. Place the blazing wool on the fuel and blow it to get a larger fire.


Igniting fire without matches and lighter might require many skills and practice, but eventually, you’ll get it done. Starting a fire is one of the critical survival skills to be known to those who love hiking and camping. So practice whatever method you like above and get your interest moving.