How to start a fire without a lighter

Knowing how to start a fire is probably one of the most basic survival skills known to man, but getting a fire going during an emergency situation can sometimes be a little tricky.

A Campfire

If you’re prepared then you should always have a good survival lighter, it is by far the most reliable way to start a fire in any situation. In my opinion, everyone one of the fire starting methods and tools listed below are nothing compared to a good lighter. When it’s 20 degrees out, you’re soaking wet, and you’re in desperate need of a fire; do you really want to mess around with anything other than a lighter?

Survival is about preparedness, and I would never recommend any of the following fire starting tips over having a lighter in your kit. But knowledge is the key to survival so here you go.

7 ways to start a fire, just in case the world ever runs out of lighters.

  1. Waterproof Matches
  2. Magnesium Firestarter
  3. Blast Match Fire Starter ( part of the Ultimate Survival Kit)
  4. Fine steel wool and a 9 volt battery (kind of wacky but it actually works * again make sure you have lighters!)
  5. Fire Drill
  6. Fire Plough
  7. Hand Drill Method

Want a backup to your lighter? PACK ANOTHER LIGHTER!

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  1. Duct tape will serve in a pinch for fire starter. A 2 to 4 inch strip, formed into a semi-tight loop or lightly balled up, will burn. Enough to start a comfy fire. Lighters matches. Even the zinc fire starters with a tiny amount of zinc scrapped onto it will set it ablaze.

  2. Very good information…and lighters are so cheap compaired to other means it’s a shame NOT to have them!

  3. Lighters and more lighters! It might be macho to do the old ahnd-powered fire drill method, a lighter gets it done n a fe seconds and without any blisters. Just buy enough of them and scatter them throughout your preps. Have more for barter if you like. You can get them cheap enough at the dollar stores so there is no excuse.

  4. I keep them scattered throughout my various kits and packs. They dry out quickly and are light and compact. I do always carry matches and a firestarter for back-up though.

  5. I ues a metal match with a part of a hack saw blade. next I use cotten ball soaked with patroleum jelly. tear the cotton in half. place the fluffy part on top, and lite it with your metal match. will last for a few mintues

  6. A pak of eight decent lighters are only $1.97 @ Walmart as of this writing. If it’s clear and cold (even in insane winds), you can use the trusty magnifying glass. Even a cheap one from a dollar store is good, but I’ve scrounged some turbo boost (lol) optics from an old projector, about 4″ diameter. A regular page-reader (plastic fresnel lense) will fit almost anywhere!

  7. the steel wool and battery work great ! I know this for sure: have all your kindling, and other “starter” wood ready to go ! wood chips, or dryer lint covered in parifin. or other wax…can be put into a paper egg crate, then filled with the wax.. Works good for damp weather fires…Light weight, and can get wet…Burns very hot..

  8. you can use the magnesseum fire starters over and over agian but it gets a little harder each time and ya have to apply a little more presure. and you could also use an empty ligther and some fuzz form coton socks ton start a fire.

  9. @Vance – Could you ellaborate more on the “metal match” & “hack saw blade”? My husband and I have never heard that before.

    @Woogie – Is the “…regular page-reader (plastic fresnel lense…)” the same as a magnifying glass?

  10. I have an excellent fire starting unit that is very small and can be carried on your key ring. Its an Exotac Nano striker. It uses a ferrocerium and magnesium rod and a tungsten carbide striker, in a small waterproof unit. Obviously lighters are easier and cheaper, but they run out of fuel and when wet they don’t work. In a survival situation where you get wet and hypothermia is an issue, you don’t have time for a lighter to dry out.

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