16 Fire Survival Hacks – How to Start a Fire

16 Fire Survival Hacks – How to Start a Fire

These fire starting survival hacks will teach you that you don’t always need to spend hundreds of dollars by buying a fire starter kit.  There’s an abundance of items you have in your home that you can use to start a fire quickly.  You might have forgotten your matches, but there are ways to circumvent that if you want a raging fire to keep you and your family warm.

#1 – Chocolate and Aluminum Can (Soda / Beer)

What you need for this Fire Survival Hack is an aluminum can, preferably a beer can but I guess a soda can will also work.  You’ll also need to find the half-eaten chocolate bar you left in your survival bag, some tinder, some firewood and a piece of cloth.  Grab your chocolate bar and rub it all over the bottom of the can to give it a beautiful chocolate polish, acting as a sort of mirror to deflect the sun.  Prepare your small bundle of dry tinder in an area where the sun shines.

Place your chocolate polished can in an area where the sun will shine upon the bottom of the can and have the sun reflect directly on your tinder, similar to a magnifying glass on a leaf. This method will require a bit of patience because the suns rays are what’s going to help start the fire.  Add more tinder when you start seeing smoke coming out of the inside of your bundle, and you’ll have a nice little fire to keep you warm all night long.


#2 – Duct Tape

It’s not a bad idea to wrap some duct tape on your flint or ferrocerium rod handle (if you have one) so you always have some with you in case of a survival emergency.  Duct take can come in handy in many survival scenarios, and one of them is being a great fire starter.

Wrap your duct tape into a ball and place it among the tinder you’ve gathered.  Make some sparks using your flint or ferrocerium rod.  The duct tape will catch on fire rather quickly and will burn for a considerably long time.  This could be an excellent method of starting a fire if everything around you is wet after a rainfall.


#3 – CharCloth and Flashlight

A piece of charcloth would typically be used as a firestarter since it’s ignitable by a single spark, but a ferrocerium rod isn’t the only way to make fire from it; Your flashlight can act as an igniter with the charcloth. You can use parts from your flashlight to make your char cloth burst into flames if you’re out of matches or without your trusty fire stick!

Open your flashlight by unscrewing the front part where the light bulb sits.  Separate the metal deflector piece that surrounds the light bulb and places your charcloth inside the center hole.  When the sun hits that metallic mirror, the heat will make the charcloth burst into flames.


#4 – Gum Wrapper (made from aluminum) and Battery

A bubble gum wrapper or any aluminum foil and a double AA battery will catch a flame when together.  All you need to do is cut your gum wrapper in the shape of an hourglass (see picture).  Press each end of the gum wrapper to each end of the battery.  The thin middle of the wrapper will become very hot and catch on fire within seconds.  Be careful trying this, use gloves and have some type of dry kindling ready because the flame won’t last very long.

#5 – Vaseline and Cotton Balls

Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline) is quite flammable due to the oils in which its made, hence petrol in petroleum.  Something that everyone should have in their survival bag is a few cotton balls smothered in vaseline.  Place them in a ziplock bag, and you’re all set when you need to make a quick fire.  Gather some kindling and let the sparks rain down using your ferrocerium rod and watch the little vaseline fireball do all the work.


#6 – Large Marker & Sparks

If you’re trying to start a fire after a rainfall, you will need some help to get it going. You might be in luck If you have a marker in your survival bag or the dash of your car.  Grab your knife and cut the bottom piece of the marker and slide the ink sponge out.  This ink has a significant amount of alcohol saturation and can catch on fire rather quickly with the help of your Ferro rod!


#7 – Dorrito Chips!

Dorrito chips are highly flammable because they’re made, and deep fried using oil.  Whether you’re in a survival situation or you just want to watch your chips burn, you’ll easily be able to make a fire with them.  Using your Ferro rod, let the sparks fall on the chips, and you’ll have a flame in no time.  Dorrito also makes an excellent fuel to keep a fire going after you’ve started one.


#8 – Spruce Resin

The spruce resin can be called natures gasoline because of it’s flammable characteristics.  Find a spruce and look for some hard or gummy resin leaching out of it, either one will do.   Spruce resin makes a great fuel to jump-start your fire when you have a hard time getting it going.  You can also make a powerful candle out of it because the resin will melt when introduced to heat.


#9 – Tuna Candle

If you need heat and food, then you might as well have them work together.  If you have a can of tuna, make three holes on the lid using a screwdriver or your keys, don’t use your knife in case you damage the tip.  Place a wick in each of the three holes and wait a few moments, so the wicks become saturated with the oils from inside the tuna can.  Light the wicks on fire and voila, a warm candle to heat yourself up a bit.  The best thing of all is that you can eat the tuna afterward.


#10 – Orange Peels

Did you know that you can quickly start a fire by using some dry orange peels?  Gather as many orange skins as you can and let them dry.  When they are sufficiently dry, you can use them as an excellent fuel to start a fire because the peel contains a lot of flammable oils.  So the next time you eat an orange, place some of the peelings into a ziplock bag and bring it with you on your upcoming wilderness trek.

#11 – Use Tobacco

If you happen to have some tobacco on you or find some cigarettes or cigars lying around, you can use the remaining tobacco as a primary fuel for your fire.  The tobacco burns very slowly.  You’ll need a bit of patient here and will need to take your time, by adding small amounts of kindling to build up a sustainable fire.


#12 – Human Hair

If you have nothing but the clothes on your back and of course your trusty Ferrocerium rod;  You might not have to burn the last layer between yourself and the bitter cold waiting to make contact with your flesh.  The hair on your head is very flammable because it contains oil that again, like all the oils we’ve mentioned, is very flammable.  Chop off a bit of hair and lay some sparks to it and watch it catch fire!


#13 – Tinder Fungus

Tinder Fungus is a dark-colored mushroom that can be found on most birch trees.   These fungi are highly flammable and can burn for hours making it one of the best natural tinder in the wilderness, especially in wet conditions.


#14 – Water and a Plastic Bag

I’m sure you’re wondering why we would mention water when talking about fire starting hacks?  The reason for this is because the water that we are talking about will act similarly to a magnifying glass.  Fill a CLEAR plastic bag with water and tightly seal it.  Gather some dry, thin tinder and make a small pile.  Place your water bag on top of the fuel and make sure the sun directly reflect on the bag.  This method can be hit or miss, but after some time has passed, you will start seeing smoke appearing from beneath the bag.  Just make sure to grab the bag before the smoldering ember bust a hole releasing the water and bringing you back to square one.


#15 – Let the Dandelions Burn!

Dandelions are the flower I’m sure most people would love to see catch on fire!  If you come across a dandelion filed field;  Gather as many dandelions as you can and place them in a bag to bring back to your campsite.  Remove the seeds from the dandelions and rub them on your hands releasing the oils.  After the dandelion seeds are saturated with its natural oils, you can throw them on your kindle making it much easier to build a fire.


#16 – Steel Wool and a Nine Volt Battery

This one is very simple.  All you need is a nine-volt battery and a small bundle of steel wool.  Touch the steel wool with the connector end of the battery and you will instantly see some embers forming.  This makes an excellent fire starter and it’s two items that can easily be placed in your survival bag; You should even keep some in the glove box of your car.  I would just suggest making sure you keep the battery away from the glove box if the steel wool is in there, I think we all know why.

#16 – Two Fires, Not One

Okay, this might not be a hack as much as it’s a tip.  This last Fire Survival hack/tip is that you should always try to have two fires going simultaneously.  After you’ve successfully achieved building your first fire, create a backup fire by transferring the flame from fire number one.  This isn’t advice you would typically find in most survival books but it’s something that should be mentioned.  There’s always the unfortunate chance that one of your fires burns out prematurely;  Having a backup fire, you’ll save yourself a lot of grief by not having to build yourself a new fire.

If you’re stranded in a cold climate, building multiple fires around you will keep you much warmer.  It could also keep you a bit safer if you encounter dangerous wildlife.


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