The Last Guide You'll Ever Need

Apocalyptic Fire Starters

In Post-Apocalypse on March 22, 2010 at 10:02 am

Your survival depends on your ability to create a fire easily and repeatedly. Those words are important. If it takes you a half hour to find kindling and combustibles, you don’t want to spend another cold and hungry half hour trying to bang rocks together to get a spark. That’s far too much time and energy wasted. However, matches or lighters will not be the solution either. During the apocalypse, you’ll need to create a fire nearly everyday to cook your food, sanitize drinking water and to warm your bones. Your matches and lighter fluid will run out well before  end of your first winter. Let’s look at some other options.

Friction Methods

I’ve discussed using a bow drill. It’s not terribly easy to do, and can be a bit much to lug around. The good part is that after learning this skill, it will last you a lifetime. The materials for this tool is everywhere.

Magnifying Glass

Yup, you know the problem here. “What if there is no sun?” The probability of a sunless apocalypse is high. Ants on the pavement rejoice!

Battery Steel Wool

This works great, but burns the steel wool. So unless you want to haul around a bag of steel wool, I wouldn’t recommend this.

Chocolate Bar and Coke Can

This is bull shit. I wrote about this about a year ago and have since tried it to no success. A reader informed me that the YouTube video demonstrating this was faked. Thanks!

Swedish Firesteel

This firesteel is going to be your best bet. It’s relatively easy, and is fairly durable (The Army model allows for 12,000 strikes – 2,400 fires) It is super small, and produces a spark of 5,500°F spark. The only problem with this option is that though it creates sparks when wet, if you don’t have any dry kindling, it’s worthless. To satisfy this, you would need to keep some charcloth with you in a tin. This charcloth is what will catch your spark and create the fire.

– Charcloth is easy enough to make. Cut up some old jeans in little squares and put in a lidded tin. Puncture a hole in the tin and set in a fire. Take out after ten minutes and you got some really flammable Wranglers.

Magnesium Firestarter

The Magnesium firestarter is the same as the firesteel, except that it has a bar of magnesium attached. Magnesium burns fiercely when ignited and will be your waterproof tinder for your fire. (No charcloth needed) Take a knife and shave off some of the magnesium (dime size) and then use the fire steel to create the spark. The only problem is that the magnesium will eventually run out, so only use it when things are dire.

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  1. Did you ever talk about how to make Char-Cloth? He’s a great link to a very helpful how-to!
    http://www.woodsmonkey.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=206:how-to-make-char-cloth&catid=41:how-to-articles&Itemid=63

    The Future King of Upper Michigan

  2. when you are building a fire you need to keep in mind what it is for. if you are working with wet wood then i would say that you chould use a tepee. it isn’t the easiest fire to cook with because you will have to build something to hang your opts over it, which is not the easiest if you havn’t got any pots/pans and are trying to cook straight out of a tin.
    if your are going to cook food in its tins then i would suggest a pyramid/tower fire because you can put your tin on it.

    thanks and goodluck

  3. Excellent information on this site! Most Americans do not have the most basic essential survival skills. Being able to do for a week in the wild, with only some string and a knife is one way to prepare. Find water, food and shelter in those first days, and you just might make it. The book Across The Desperate Miles on Amazon is a great story about 2 normal Americans who get caught in the breakdown of society with no training or survival skills at all. People do not understand how difficult it may become….

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