The following has been contributed by Anonymous Prepper
One of the most discussed topics that I’ve seen over the years is related to starting fires. While some people go as far as learning the bow drill method so they can start one under any circumstances, others say they’re going to use a simple lighter to achieve the same result. It’s pretty funny whenever I see such replies on the survivalist boards.
I’m not going to take sides here, I’d rather do something better and let you know of all the ways to start a fire. This way you can decide for yourself which ones you should pack into your BOB or learn.
#1. Using a Lighter
This is by far the easiest way to start a fire. The vast majority of people go for either Zippo or Bic. (You can follow the debate here).Suffices to say it’s good to have lighters everywhere: inside your car, your survival bags, your pockets, inside the pouch attached to your bike – you name it!
#2. Using Matches
Matches are the next best thing for starting a fire but, just to make sure they work, you should get the waterproof kind. If not, you should at least put them in waterproof containers. Some people like to have a fire starting kit, usually a small waterproof pouch.
#3. Using a Blastmatch
The blastmatch is a very cool device whose beauty consists in the fact that you can use it with only one hand. Very useful in case you get injured and can’t use both of them. Not many preppers consider the likely scenario of them getting injured.
Here’s a video showcasing how to use it:
#4. Using a Ferro Rod
They work when you scrape off some of the rod by means of a sharp striker, thus generating sparks. The actual rod is, in fact, made mostly of iron (along with some other metals) and only has a small percentage of magnesium. Not to be confused with magnesium firestaters.
Here’s a quick youtube video showing how to scrape some tinder and then use a ferro rod to light it:
#5. Using the Flint and Steel Method
The things you use for the flint and steel method are completely different than those used in the ferro rod method. It can be a little confusing, I know.
The steel can be anything, such as piece of a high carbon, while the flint rock is something you should be able to find while bugging out. Quartz ricks will work and they are easy to find along rivers. Good video showing how to find a rock that has quartz and then use it to generate some sparks:
#6. Using a Magnesium Block
IF you have a magnesium block (from Amazon, for example, it’s really cheap), you can use the back of the blade of your knife to scrape it off for 15-20 seconds, then use the same knife to run it along the block and get those shavings to spark using friction.
Quick video on how this works as well as further explanations:
#7. Using Steel Wool and a 9V Battery
This is a lot easier than using flint and steel, magnesium or a ferro rod. The sparks come very quickly, but make sure you keep the two separated inside your backpack to avoid a disaster. All you have to do is touch the steel wool with both ends of the battery and have some tinder ready.
Tip: consider packing devices that use 9V batteries. This way, you won’t have to pack the battery for the sole purpose of starting fires.
#8. Using a Lens
The best lens you can have in your bug out bag is a small magnifying glass. If that’s something you don’t want to pack (some preppers avoid small items such as this one because every ounce counts), you can use other things to achieve the same effect: a transparent plastic bag filled with water, a Fresnel lens (they have them the size of a credit card), or even a block of ice.
The thing that makes the lens work is its focal point. Put it between tinder and the sun in such a way that the rays are focused into a single dot. The smaller the dot, the more likely it will combust.
#9. Using the Bow Drill Method
Wikipedia explains it better but, in essence, this is a last resort means of starting a fire… for when you’ve got no lighter, no steel wool and no Sun to use your magnifying glass. In essence, you need a small bow, a bearing block and a spindle. You can see a video demonstration here:
OK, so I didn’t tell you ALL the ways to start a fire, but do you really need to know them? I doubt you’ll use potassium permanganate during your bug out. Stick to 2, 3 or even 4 from the ones above and you’ll be more than prepared to start a fire than anyone.
And if you want to take things further, why not assemble a fire starting kit for your BOB? Keep everything related to fire starting (including tinder) inside a single MOLLE pouch. You’ll have everything in one place and, if need be, you can give it to someone else to carry it for you. If you can get one that has MOLLE webbing, you’ll be able to strap it to a backpack that’s compatible (that has the same webbing).