Blue Flower



Starting a fire without a match or lighter is an essential skill you can have. It becomes particularly vital in cold weather or long-term survival situations. Without further ado, here are some creative survival starting fire techniques without using a match or lighter.


Battery and steel wool


This is a good option if you're stuck in the back country, where materials can be fairly more accessible.


You can ignite steel wool by rubbing against both terminals of a 9volt battery, removable cell phone battery, or 12volt car battery. Prepare your tinder and make sure the burning steel wool catches it.


Friction-based technique


This technique isn't for the faint-hearted. It's probably the hardest way to start a fire without a match or lighter. There are different tricks you can try to start a fire using friction, but the key aspect is the kind of wood used for the spindle and fire board. Having waterproof matches would be handy but you must keep this in mind in case you didn't bring one with you.


The spindle refers to the stick you will spin to create friction with the fireboard. Enough friction between the fireboard and spindle can create a spark that can create a fire. Cedar, cypress, walnut, willow, aspen, juniper, and cotton wood make the best spindle and fireboard sets.


Before using wood to start fire through friction, make sure the wood is bone dry. If it's not dry, you must dry it first.


Lens technique


Another easy and fairly reliable technique, this process entails concentrating the rays of the sun into a spot--ideally some dry tinder.  Hold a lens, which may be camera lens, binocular lens or magnifying glass about one foot from the tinder and focus it right in the center. When the tinder starts to smolder, blow on it gently to create a flame. The one disadvantage of this tactic is that it's only handy in sunny weather.


Flint and steel


This classic technique is very reliable when you don't have a match or lighter. Start by gathering a few small sticks and kindling and place them somewhere dry. Simply use your steel to strike the flint, about 3 inches above the kindling pile.


The next best option is a quartz stone. Collect several stones and strike each against your knife or iron to create sparks.


Although it may require some patience, this action creates sparks that can light the tinder pile. It's usually necessary to blow on the ember, and make sure you have twigs and large sticks ready once a flame is created. Wet conditions don't affect flint, so it's perfect for wet weather. Getting the best Ferro rod would make things a lot easier. 


To make homemade fire starter logs, head over to