Here’s a great tip from TrailMeister reader Lonnie
Carry a small amount of steel wool and a good smoke alarm (nine volt) battery and also some toilet tissue. In case you need a fire. Stick the battery ends into the steel wool. The steel wool will short circuit the battery and turn red hot, thus causing the toilet tissue (or other dry tinder) to ignite.
Creating fire is the primal act of an outdoorsman. And everyone that ventures beyond the safety of the trailhead should know how to start a fire without matches. It’s an essential survival skill.
While the chances of carrying steel wool and a nine volt battery in a perhaps fairly low, the skill of making fire, without matches, should be practiced; just in case. Here are a few other methods by which you can create fire in an emergency.
You never know when you’ll find yourself in a situation where you’ll need a fire, but you don’t have matches. Maybe your horse wanders off during a break with all of your gear. Or you fall off and the horse leaves you. Hopefully you’ll never need to use them but regardless it’s damn cool to know that you can start a fire wherever and whenever you want.
We’ll start with the most primal and move into some just plain nifty ways to make fire that you may not have heard of.
Tom Hanks’ role in Cast Away notwithstanding, the hand drill method of making fire is the most difficult, most primitive, and the most primal. If you’ve got dry wood, and an abundance of determination, you too can make fire in this manner.
There are two very different processes that are being referred to when talking about flint and steel:
Why do we care about this distinction? You can light “almost anything” with the new school ferrocerium tools available while there are very few things that will readily accept a spark from the old school, but traditional, flint and steel. We’ll stick with the ferrocerium method for its dependability. These products (With trade names such as: Swedish Fire Steel, Blastmatch, and Metal-Match) can be found in practically any outdoors or convenience store and are a favorite of survival experts, fishermen, and campers for a fool proof way to light anything from fires to stoves and gas barbecues with a shower of 3,000°C (5400°F) sparks.
Using a lens to start a fire is an easy matchless method, just ask any young boy who has melted plastic army men with a magnifying glass on a sunny day. Of course the drawback to the lens based method is that it only works when you have sun. So if it’s night time or overcast, you won’t have any luck.
For those of us who don’t carry a magnifying glass in our saddlebags; eyeglasses, or binocular lenses will also work. Simply angle the lens towards the sun in order to focus the beam into as small an area as possible. Put your tinder nest under this spot and you’ll soon have yourself a fire.
Here's a really cool and effective lens based method that will also start a fire
You can actually make fire from a piece of ice. All you need to do is form the ice into a lens shape and then use it as you would when starting a fire with any other lens. Of course with this method you’ll need both a sunny day, below freezing temperatures and crystal clear water. This is a fun method to play with but it’s much easier to remember to bring along a lighter.
Yes, a soda can, chocolate bar, and a sunny day will make fire.
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