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How to Light a Fire without Lighter or Matches

Being able to light a fire is essential to survive outdoors. If by chance you drop matches in the river or you lose your lighter on the road, you have to be able to know how to manage, lighting a fire with what nature puts at your disposal or with common objects useful to create friction. Learn how to light a fire without the need for lighters or matches.

Method 1. To Start

How to Light a Fire without Lighter or Matches

1. Learn how to make a bait for the fire and keep it ready. For each of the methods given below, you will need wood to feed the fire and keep it alive.

How to Light a Fire without Lighter or Matches

2. Collect dry wood. To create a clutch and keep the flame, you will have to use extremely dry wood.

Method 2. Create a sparkle using a stack and a small metal blade

How to Light a Fire without Lighter or Matches

1. Make a bundle of dry branches and other material that can easily catch fire. You can use leaves, dry grass, sticks and bark. This beam will be used to make the flame take root once the spark is created.

How to Light a Fire without Lighter or Matches

2. Find a rectangular stack with the two poles visible on one side. Any voltage is fine but the 9 volt ones will be faster. 

How to Light a Fire without Lighter or Matches

3. Take a pan and fry it on the poles of the pile. The thinner the straw and the better the result.

How to Light a Fire without Lighter or Matches

4. Continue creating friction by rubbing the steel wool on the batteries. In this way, current is created between the steel fibers that heat up by lighting up.

Another way is to take a 9 volt battery and a metal clip and rub it against the poles at the same time to create a spark. The procedure is similar to the one that turns on light bulbs and toasters. 

5. Gently blow on the straw as soon as it starts to glow. This will help the flame grow.

6. Once the straw hat glows brightly, transfer it quickly to the wood, continuing to blow gently until the wood catches fire.

7. Add ever-larger pieces of wood to build your bonfire once you light the beam and enjoy your fire!

Method 3. Light a Fire with Flint and Steel

1. Build a bundle with dry material.

2. Take a flint stone (which makes sparks) and hold it between thumb and forefinger. Make sure there is 4.6 cm away from the socket.

3. Hold a piece of charred cotton between the thumb and the stone. These are small squares that have been turned into fuel. If you do not have it at hand you can also use balsa mushrooms.

4. Take the back of a steel striker or knife (depending on what you have) and rub it quickly against the flint. Continue until a spark is formed.

5. Catch the spark with charred cotton and continue until it becomes embers. Charred cotton is made to maintain the spark without catching fire.

6. Transfer the cotton to the wood and blow gently to induce the flames.

7. Start adding larger pieces of wood to feed the fire.

Method 4. Use a Magnifying Glass

1. Check that there is enough sun to apply this method. Usually the sun must be direct and not blocked by clouds in order to use a lens.

If you don't have a magnifying glass with you, you can use glasses and binocular lenses. 
Wet the lenses, help create a more intense and concentrated beam. 

2. Build the usual bundle of dry material.

3. Tilt the lens towards the sun until it creates a small circle of light concentrated on the beam. You will probably need to hold the lenses at different angles to create the most concentrated beam possible.

4. Keep the lenses still until the smoke starts to come out of the wood and then a flame. Blow lightly on the beam to stimulate the flame.

5. Start adding larger pieces of dry wood to feed the fire.

Method 5. Lighting a Fire with a Manual Drill

1. Build a bundle with dry plant elements. Make sure it is material that can easily ignite.

2. Find a piece of wood to use as a base for your hand drill. You will drill on this piece to create a clutch.

3. Use a knife or any sharp object to cut a small V-shaped notch in the center of the base. Make sure the notch is large enough to hold the stick that will work as a drill.

4. Place small pieces of bark around. The bark will serve to capture a bit of embers that will form from the clutch.

5. Take your stick / drill that should be about 5 cm thin and place it in the V-notch in the center of the drill base.

6. Hold it between two palms and start to rotate it. Remember to push it firmly down while making this movement back and forth.

7. Continue to rotate the drill in your hands by pushing forward one hand then the other until a slight ember forms at the base.

8. Transfer the live embers to a piece of bark. You should have placed others near the base for this purpose.

9. Put the bark with the embers on the beam. Continue to blow gently to transfer the embers and create a flame.

10. Add larger pieces of wood to keep the fire alive. Remember that this method takes some time before working, as well as a good deal of physical and mental determination.

Method 6. Use a drill bow

1. Always do the usual bundle. Use all the dry material you can collect.

2. Find an object to use as a hollow like a stone or a very thick piece of wood. The recess will serve to put pressure on the drill.

3. Find as long and flexible a piece of wood as your arm. Better if with a slight curve. It will act as a bow handle.

4. Make the bow string using a durable and abrasive material that can withstand a lot of friction. You'll need a strap, a thick rope or a strip of untanned leather.

5. Tie the string in tension at each end of the arc. If there are no knots in which to anchor it naturally, cut them so that the string remains firm.

6. Find a piece of wood to use as a base for your bow-drill and carve a notch in the shape of a V.

7. Place your nest under the V-shaped notch. The wood should be immediately near the base of the drill to induce flames without problems.

8. Roll the string around the drill once. Make sure the stick is in the center to have enough space to create a back and forth movement.

9. Place a drill end in the V-notch and place it over the groove. Hold it with your non-dominant hand.

10. Begin to quickly spin the bow back and forth while keeping the curved part with the dominant hand. In doing so, the drill will turn and create heat at the base.

11. Continue drilling back and forth until you have created some embers on the base. Make sure you have the wood nearby.

12. Collect the embers created with a piece of wood and pour it over the beam. Alternatively, drop the ember from the base directly onto the beam.

13. Blow on the nest by adding larger pieces of wood to create a fire.


  • Feeding a spark until it turns into flame is the most difficult thing about lighting a fire. Blows gently. 
  • Black poplar, juniper, aspen, willow, cedar, cypress and hazelnut are ideal materials for creating bases, arches and drills. 
  • You should also be able to switch off, warn that there is a fire and / or put a fire down before trying to light one. 
  • Make sure the wood is extremely dry before applying a method that creates friction. 
  • The hand drill is the most primitive and difficult method but requires less materials than all. 
  • If you don't have any kind of lens for the sun method, you can also fill a balloon with water and spray until it forms a small funnel or lens-shaped drop. 


  • Always remember to watch out for fire. 
  • Be sure to turn off the heat using water or cover it with sand or debris before leaving. 
  • Watch out for sparks and embers that can fly away while you friction. 

Things you will need

For the pile and straw method

  • Steel straw 
  • A flashlight 
  • Wood bundle 
  • Dry wood 

For the flint method

  • A flint 
  • Steel 
  • Carbonized cotton 
  • Wood bundle 
  • Dry wood 

For the magnifying glass method

  • Wood bundle 
  • Magnifying glass or glasses 
  • Water (optional) 
  • Dry wood 

For the manual drill method

  • Stick drill 
  • base 
  • Knife or other sharp object 
  • Bark bits 
  • Wood bundle 
  • Dry wood 

For the drill arc method

  • Wood bundle 
  • Stick for drill 
  • base 
  • Knife or other sharp object 
  • Bark bits 
  • Recess 
  • Arco 
  • String 
  • Dry wood
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About Minh Hiếu

Le Minh Hieu is a national-level weightlifter and a Singapore Weightlifting sports performance coach. Hieu's biggest passion is helping everyone find confidence, happiness, and health through fitness.


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