The Last Guide You'll Ever Need

Start a Fire: Part 2

In Post-Apocalypse on January 16, 2009 at 9:51 am

Now that you’ve got your base for a fire, enough fuel (wood, sticks, paper, peat, etc.) and you’ve created your ‘nest’ to start the flame, you’ll need a spark. You did pack sparks didn’t you? Never mind, we’ll make our own. Luckily there are a few ways to make sparks. Which option you pick is up to how much your sorry ass prepared and where you’re building your fire. For example, if you’re up on the tundra you would rather burn the scarce wood instead of make a bow drill, but you could polish up a piece of ice to magnify the sun upon your caribou fur fire. It does work. (Continued)

Getting a Spark

I’ve done this a few times, but it’s not easy. Getting a spark is one thing, but capturing it and making it into a flame is another. If you’re going to try to start a fire from a spark you’ll need to create a even more hospitable home for your spark.  I used pieces of denim which had been lightly charred. Place this piece of char-cloth in your nest and try to catch the spark on it. Once you do, blow ever so gently upon it to ignite the rest of this cloth. Then work the nest so that it combusts into flame. Then place the nest in your kindling.

To get a spark you can use your old lighter or flint and steel. 

If you’re going to use flint and steel, start practicing today. You’ll need to learn the right angle to bring that steel “knuckle” down upon the flint at. 

I’ve also heard you can rub a battery on steel wool.


Bow Drill

A bow drill is easier to start fires with, but can be a lot to drag around. If you are sedentary then go ahead and make one. If you got cannibal freakazoids chasing you than grab a…

Magnifying Glass

This is the easiest option and it’s small enough to keep in your pack. I’m sure most of you are experienced with creating a fire from a magnifying glass from creating ant holocausts on your driveway as a kid. If not, hold the magnifying about a foot off the ground and keep the glass in- between the sun and what you want to burn. Make sure you get that circle of light as small as you can and as round as possible. You want to concentrate the light as much as possible.

Or you could just use a bar of chocolate and a can of coke ot get a fire going…

But lets hope you brought a magnifying glass instead of a case of Mountain Dew and Tolberone candy bar. 

Remember that a magnifying glass will only work if the sun can shine through. That may not be the case, so you better just bring a bunch of lighters.

  1. I ALWAYS carry a stick of Magnesium that has a bar of Flint along one side. And a pocket knife.
    As a former scout leader I liked taking boys camping in the rain.
    That was the best time to show them how gather wood and start a fire.

  2. You can see the shadow from the magnifying glass in that video.

  3. Coke can and chocolate can work, but is difficult. Those, as well as lighters and 9volts can be found at any gas station. Steel wool is rarer, but check out any grocery store cleaning isle.

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