Survival Skills: Build Fire Like A Pro

Matches and lighters should be your primary fire makers, but it’s also smart to have some redundancies built into your survival gear. Add these backup methods to your kit, and you’ll always have a way to build a fire!

Magnesium Bars
Magnesium fire starters are common, inexpensive and long lasting. The main section of the bar is magnesium, a soft metal that is meant to be scraped into shavings with a sharp tool. Some products include a tool for this job and for making sparks. As you scrape the attached ferrocerium rod to produce sparks, aim them at your pile of metal shavings sitting in a nest of dry tinder. When the sparks hit the shavings, the little pile will burn “white hot,” thus igniting the tinder.

Steel Wool
Steel wool can be incredibly effective when combined with a small-voltage electrical source. A 3-volt (or higher) battery and some fine-grade steel wool will quickly produce a burning ball of steel fibers—just touch a tuft of steel wool to the positive and negative battery posts at the same time. Then place the burning steel wool in tinder. Use steel wool with grades from 0 to 0000, and batteries with the “+” and “-” terminals close together.

With a simple magnifying lens, you can concentrate a point of sunlight on tinder to create fire. The larger the lens, the better this will work. Find a sunny spot, flatten a spot in some fluffy tinder, and focus the light in a white-hot pinpoint. Once you have the perfect, blinding dot of light and the tinder is smoking, blow gently across the tinder to help it burn. Keep blowing steadily until the tinder flames up.

Shop Sportsman’s Guide for a selection of Fire Starters.

Shop Sportsman’s Guide for a great selection of Camping Essentials!

Shop Sportsman’s Guide for a great selection of Emergency Supplies!

This tip, and 337 more survival tips, are in MacWelch’s new book Prepare For Anything. This latest Outdoor Life survival manual is available at Amazon.

Follow him on Twitter @timmacwelch  And check out more of MacWelch’s outdoor skills and survival articles in Outdoor Life Magazine.
Follow him on Twitter @timmacwelch (link)
And check out more of MacWelch’s outdoor skills and survival articles in Outdoor Life Magazine.
(Link for OL Subscription)

Leave a Reply

Commenting Policy - We encourage open expression of your thoughts and ideas. But there are a few rules:

No abusive comments, threats, or personal attacks. Use clean language. No discussion of illegal activity. Racist, sexist, homophobic, and generally hateful comments are not tolerated. Keep comments on topic. Please don't spam.

While we reserve the right to remove or modify comments at our sole discretion, the Sportsman's Guide does not bear any responsibility for user comments. The views expressed within the comment section do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of The Sportsman's Guide.