How to Light a Fire Without Matches

Posted on Posted in Bushcraft & Survival

Fire | Wild Survivor

How to Light a Fire Without Matches: #1 – The Hand Drill

Without a doubt, fire is one of the most important elements of survival. Not only can it help us to keep warm in the harshest of conditions, it also allows us to cook and provides light. In addition, fire can be used to create a signal to get rescued – as well as protect us from dangerous animals such as wolves and bears, should you find yourself stranded in their territory. But how do you go about lighting a fire when you don’t have matches or a lighter? Here are three tried and tested tricks that wild survivors use.

The Hand Drill

This is probably the oldest known method of making fire (and also perhaps the manliest, for those to whom it matters). No equipment is needed – just your bare hands, wood and a lot of determination. Ready to go? Let’s get the fire started!

Step 1 – Prepare a tinder nest

With a good nest of dry tinder, the tiniest spark from your efforts can be used to create flames. Gather dried grass, leaves or bark and gather it together into a loose nest. If you need to, use a knife to scrape some thin shavings of a piece of wood.

Step 2 – Get into the groove

To be effective, you’ll need to prepare a fireboard with a groove or notch to keep your stick in position as you spin it. Place some bark underneath – you’ll need this to catch your glowing ember and transfer it to the tinder.

Step 3 – Spin like you mean it

So that was the easy bit, now for the real work – spin that stick! Ideally, the stick should be about two feet long. The trick is to maintain a downward pressure whilst rolling the spindle between your hands. For best results, start at the top of the spindle and run your hands down it as you spin, then keep repeating this until you get a glowing ember.

Step 4 – Bask in your glory

But not until you have transferred your glowing ember to the tinder and got some more substantial pieces of fuel to start burning. Blow gently to get the fire going and add wood carefully so as not to extinguish it. Once the fire is established, feel free to bask in your glory for a moment – but not for long, there’s food to be cooked after all!

Have you succeeded in starting a fire using this method? What advice would you give to a fellow wild survivor? Send us your experiences in the comments below!

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