12 Ingenious Ways to Start A Fire – Cool Survival Hacks!

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Fire is essential for survival since you can use it for cooking, warmth, or signaling. Most people start a fire using pistons, matches, or lighters. When in the wilderness, you may lack these fire-starting devices. Here are alternative ways to start a fire every outdoor enthusiast should master.

Starting a Fire With a Hand-Drill

A picture of hand drill for starting a fire

The hand-drill method is an ancient technique to start a fire. It is difficult and needs a lot of gritty determination and tireless hands.

What You’ll Need

  • A piece of wood
  • Dry plant materials
  • Knife or sharp object
  • Spindle stick
  • Bark

How Do You Start a Fire Using a Hand Drill?

  1. Build a tinder nest using dry plant materials.
  2. Use the piece of wood as the hand drill base, also known as a fireboard. Drill the wood piece to generate friction.
  3. Cut a small, V-shaped notch in the fireboard’s center using a sharp object or knife. Ensure the gap perfectly fits the spindle stick.
  4. Put some bark pieces beneath the notch. The purpose of the bark is to hold the ember from the friction between the fireboard and spindle.
  5. Put the spindle stick into the V-shaped notch on the fireboard. Place the spindle stick between your two palms and roll it forth and back. Ensure you exert pressure while rotating the spindle.
  6. Roll the spindle stick faster until an ember appears on the fireboard. Gently move the glowing embers to the bark pieces. Then transfer the bark pieces to the tinder nest and blow it to start a fire.

Starting a Fire Using a Bow Drill

A person trying the bow fire technique to start a fire

A bow drill is an effective method of starting outdoor fires. It is easier to sustain the pressure and speed needed to create friction when using a bow drill.

What You’ll Need

  • A socket
  • A piece of wood
  • Dry plant materials
  • Knife or sharp object
  • Spindle stick
  • String

How Do You Start a Fire Using a Bow Drill?

  1. Use the dry plant materials to make a tinder nest.
  2. Have your socket. Use a piece of wood or stone as a socket. The socket’s primary purpose is exerting pressure on the spindle as you rotate it with the bow.
  3. Get a piece of wood that is about 1m. It is advisable to use wood with sap as it acts as a lubricant between the socket and spindle. Ensure the wood piece is flexible with a slight curve to serve as the bow’s handle.
  4. Use a robust, abrasive material to make the bow’s string. You can use a rope, a shoelace, a strip of rawhide, or a paracord.
  5. Use a sharp object to make a V-shaped notch in the fireboard. Put the tinder nest beneath the notch.
  6. Tightly tie the string at the end of every bow handle. Get the spindle stick and loop it with a bowstring one time. Do this at the bow string’s middle to leave enough space for rolling the string forth and back.
  7. Place the spindle’s one end in the v-shaped notch and stack the socket on the spindle stick’s top end. The non-dominant hand should hold the socket.
  8. Start sawing the bow faster while holding the bow with your dominant hand. Continue sawing until an ember emerges at the base of the fireboard.
  9. Move the ember into the tinder nest. Blow on the ember to create a fire.

Starting a Fire With a Lens

Using magnifying glass or lens is one of the other ways to start a fire

A lens is the easiest DIY fire starter. Even children can use this technique as it is simple and doesn’t require much effort. However, you can only start a fire when there is sunlight. At night or when there is cloud cover, this method won’t work.

What You’ll Need

  • Traditional lenses
  • Sunlight
  • Dry plant materials

How to Create Fire With Glass

  1. Make a tinder nest using dry plant materials.
  2. Take lenses. Binocular lenses, eyeglasses, or magnifying glasses should work.
  3. Place the tinder nest on the ground.
  4. Tilt the lens at a certain angle towards the sun. Focus the beam on the tinder nest until smoke starts. You can add water to the lens to increase the beam intensity.
  5. Blow on the tinder nest gently until the fire starts. 

Starting a Fire With Ice

Round ice on a table

Many people can’t believe that you can start a fire from an ice piece. This method comes in handy during wintertime camping.

What You’ll Need

  • A piece of ice
  • Lens
  • Water
  • A knife
  • Dry materials like pine needles
  • A light source

How to Create a Fire With Ice

  1. Make a tinder nest with dry materials.
  2. Have crystal clear ice. The ice must be clear for this method to work. If the ice contains some impurities, you won’t be able to start a fire.
  3. If you want clear ice, ensure you fill up a cup, container, or bowl made of foil with clear pond, lake water, or melted snow. Please leave it to freeze until ice is formed. The ice piece should be around 2 inches.
  4. Create a lens by shaping the ice using a knife. Make sure the lens has narrow edges and is thick in the middle.
  5. Polish the lens with your hands. Your warm hands will melt the ice, allowing you to have a smooth surface.
  6. Slant the ice lens towards the sun. Focus the beam on the tinder nest just like a glass. Steadily hold the ice until the tinder produces smoke and eventually ignites a fire.

Creating a Fire Using Flint and Steel

A person using flint, another way to start a fire without a lighter

The flint and steel technique is another old method of starting a fire. It is advisable to carry flint and steel when you go camping.

What You’ll Need

  • Dry plant material
  • Flint and steel
  • Char cloth
  • A knife

How Do You Start a Fire With Flint and Steel?

  • Use the dry plant materials to make a tinder bundle. Hold the flint rock between your forefingers and thumb. Ensure there is an edge around 2-3 inches hanging out.
  • Grip the char cloth between the flint and thumb. Char cloths are small pieces of fabric turned into combustible charcoal. Use a lightweight tree fungus if you don’t have char cloth.
  • Scrape the steel against the flint using a knife blade or steel striker. Keep on striking until sparks start forming.
  • Use the char cloth to catch the sparks. Progress with the procedure until the char cloth creates an ember, then transfer the fabric to the tinder nest. Blow on the nest gently to produce flames.

Starting a Fire With Plastic

A person holding a plastic water bottle

Plastics are readily available. But only a few know how to start fires with plastics. Here’s what to do.

What You’ll Need

  • Plastic – water bottle, plastic bag, or balloon with liquid
  • Sunlight

How to Create a Fire With Plastic

  1. Fill a plastic bag or water balloon with water. Ensure it is half-full, and then twist it gently until it creates a liquid sphere. Make sure it doesn’t break.
  2. Grasp the bag towards the sunlight to form a beam. Put the tinder nest below the beam until a smoke starts. Blow on the tinder to start a fire.

Creating a Fire With Rocks

A person using rocks to start a fire

This ancient method of starting a fire is quick and straightforward.

What You’ll Need

  • Rocks – Quartz or any other hard rock
  • Striker or carbon steel knife

How to Create a Fire With Rocks

  1. Get a piece of quartz rock that you can comfortably hold with your hands. Ensure the stone has sharp edges.
  2. Strike the quartz’s sharp edges with the carbon steel knife until you generate sparks.
  3. Place the tinder on the rock’s top and continue hitting it until it produces flames.

Please note that if you cannot get quartz, you can use other hard-to-break rocks that spark.

Using Battery and Steel Wool to Start a Fire

This method allows you to start a fire using improvised materials. You need steel wool and a battery. The technique is straightforward and quite fun for children.

What You’ll Need

  • A battery – AA, AAA, C, OR D
  • Steel wool
  • Tinder

Battery and Steel Wool to Create a Fire

  1. Place your tinder and a piece of steel wool in a dry, flat area. Then place the battery terminal onto the steel wool.
  2. Gently rub the steel wool on the battery. The steel wool will begin to produce sparks. Ensure you act very fast since the wool’s flame burns for only a few seconds.
  3. The sparks will light your tinder with glowing flames.

Using Wet Wood to Start a Fire

Wet logs outside

Many people ask, can wet wood burn? Yes, wet wood (hardwood or softwood) burns. The process is a bit challenging, but there are some ways of overcoming it. Here you will learn to start a fire with damp wood. This technique is of great help when you are on a camping trip and the weather changes.

What You’ll Need

  • Tinder nest
  • Kindling
  • Char cloth
  • Logs
  • Hatchet

How to Start a Fire With Wet Wood

  1. Prepare a fire bed by arranging bark chunks or branches to form a raised bed. This process ensures the new fire is off the wet ground.
  2. Use the char cloth to catch sparks and create an ember.
  3. Move the ember to the tinder nest. Blow on it to see the fire grow and add kindling pieces on top of it.
  4. Use a hatchet to cut large logs into various sizes. Add large pieces of wet wood to the fire.

Starting a Fire With Jumper Cables, Car Battery, and Pencil

Jumper cables on a table

This fire-starting technique is ideal when you are in a remote area, and you don’t have matches.

What You’ll Need

  • Jumper cable pair
  • An earthing cable
  • Kindle
  • Tinder
  • Insulated gloves

How to Create a Fire With Jumper Cables, Car Battery, and Pencil

  1. Wear insulated gloves. Connect the negative terminal of the vehicle’s battery to the earth or ground.
  2. Join the jumper cables to the negative and positive terminals. Ensure the bare ends never meet.
  3. A few meters from the vehicle’s battery, rub the jumper cable’s bare ends against each other, creating sparks.
  4. Move the sparks onto the tinder until fire forms.
  5. Add kindle to the flame to ensure the fire continues to burn.

Using Chips to Start a Fire

A bag of chips

Do you know you can use potato chips to start a fire? This is one of the easiest ways to start a fire. Potato chips have fat and oil that make them highly flammable. This technique is an improvisation of how to start a fire with sticks.

What You’ll Need

  • Chips
  • Dry kindling
  • Rocks
  • Dry location
  • Dry fuel (large branches or logs)
  • Dry tinder
  • A knife
  • Lighter

How to Start a Fire With Chips

  1. Gather large rocks and arrange them in a circular shape to form a fire ring. Add another layer of rocks on the bottom ring’s top.
  2. Collect dry branches and logs for fuel while dry sticks for kindling. Place the tinder in the midsection of the fire ring.
  3. Put a few pieces of potato chips in a dry area. Use a lighter to light one piece of the chips. Place the lit chip on the tinder and add more tinder bundles to keep the flames glowing.
  4. Add dry kindling on the tinder and then place the logs or large branches to keep the fire lit.

Creating a Fire With Battery and Bubble Gum Wrapper

A bubblegum wrapper on a white background

This incredible way of starting a fire employs a battery and a bubble gum wrapper. It seems unbelievable, but it works.

What You’ll Need

  • A battery
  • A bubble gum wrapper
  • A knife or a pair of scissors
  • Insulated gloves

How to Create a Fire With Battery and Bubble Gum Wrapper

  1. Take the foil gum wrapper and cut it into three equal strips using a pair of scissors or a knife. Cut the wrapper strips into an hourglass shape.
  2. Grip one piece of the strip and ensure the gum wrapper ends touch the negative and positive poles of the battery.
  3. The sparks will form in the middle of the wrapper strip. Catch the sparks and light the tinder as fast as you can. Blow on it to create a flame.

Final Thoughts

Don’t learn how to start a fire in a fire pit only. If possible, master each fire-starting technique. The above ways to start a fire come in handy when you are in the wilderness, remote area, or stuck somewhere at night.

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