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How to Start a Fire Without Matches


Here are three ways to start a fire without the help of matches. Each can be effective, and all take lots of practice, but they’re actually pretty fun to learn.

Watch our step-by-step video to learn how, and check out the article in the December 2010 issue of Boys’ Life magazine for more information.

Remember: Even in a survival situation, try to avoid harming the environment when building your fire. Look for a spot from which a fire could not spread and where the surrounding area would not be damaged.

25 Comments on How to Start a Fire Without Matches

  1. this is great!!

  2. I bought the all weather fire starter and have been very pleased

    I’m a fail with all things fire unless I’m not trying to be

  4. Oh, there's my left kidney! // August 4, 2016 at 1:15 pm // Reply

    I agree with a lot of other people. Using steel wool and a 9 volt battery is really useful if you have them on hand. One more thing. Using eyeglass lenses doesn’t work as well and other lenses. I’ve tried my own glasses, and I’ve never been able to light anything.

  5. Used a 9 volt battery and steel wool. Put a small wad of steel wool in with the tinder and short the battery terminals with the steel wool. Careful as the steel wool will instantly begin to burn and it can get quite hot. This will work even if the steel wool is wet. Kept this in my survival kit when I was a Scout.

  6. Its really cool how you guys showed me how to do that because I was gonna try to start one at home and i needed ideas

  7. i found that match and matchbox works best

  8. great

  9. Just BTW, that little magnifying glass on your Swiss Army knife won’t even noticeably warm a sheet of dry, black paper in winter, at 40 Fahrenheiit with a light breeze blowing.

  10. next campout……competition to see who can do this….(‘ll bring the “shoelaces” for the cord on the bow…..

  11. You know, Hand sanitizer works as well….
    (To improve a blaze, not to start one)

  12. Wow, amazing, will use this for my scouting life. Thanks!

  13. awesome girl // May 2, 2014 at 1:15 pm // Reply

    im awesome

  14. great I also have a blacksmith made stricker for flint

  15. that is super cool!!!!
    next time i go backpacking i will use them!!!!
    i will buy a flint and steel.
    how much are they?

  16. thats dope yo

  17. I think that it really helps if it really happens. But it is cool

  18. meant to be funny // November 17, 2013 at 5:24 pm // Reply


  19. Colonel Commando // November 12, 2013 at 10:11 am // Reply

    I’ve used the first two and also touching a 9-volt battery to fine steel wool (it really works!) for my Wilderness Survival MB. Tip: If you do use a magnifying glass, which works better than anything else, do it with extremely dry tinder in the middle of the day. Another Tip: Use a magnesium striker block and saw blade, you can buy it at Walmart for about $8-10, and not a flint and steel. It works so much better it’s not even funny.

  20. That was cool!!!!!

  21. That was cool! I know a couple of other ways too.

  22. I have done it all three ways, and a couple of more besides. I will stick with my stormproof matches, home made wax fire starters, and nice lawn chair, to watch my fire in.

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