Do you know how to start a fire without matches? While matches have been the mainstay of fire starting for the last 150 years or so, mankind had been starting fires just fine for a few years before that.
The best and fastest way I know to get a fire going quickly in any weather is to use a road flare. But what do you do if you forgot your flare, or matches or even your lighter?
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There Are 3 Main Ways To Start A Fire…
Used to be any kid “knew” you could start a fire by rubbing two sticks together, and while it is slightly more complicated than that, the basic principle is there. Using a bow drill, hand drill, fire plow, fire thong or fire saw are all ways to start a fire by using friction.
The basic idea is to create enough friction between two pieces of wood that hot dust is created. This dust is allowed to collect into a small pile, and if conditions are right an ember will form in the smoking dust. This ember is then transferred to your dry tinder and blown into a flame.
Some time in history long gone someone was experimenting with building a blowgun and discovered that compression causes an increase in temperature. From this the fire piston sometimes called the fire syringe was invented.
Fire pistons work on the same principle as a diesel engine. Tinder is placed in a small cup on the end of the piston. It is then inserted into the cylinder and slapped down quickly. The fast change of pressure inside the cylinder raises the temperature enough to ignite the tinder. Then the tinder is treated just like the ember from a friction fire.
It sounds more complicated than it is, and it is a handy way to get a fire going without matches.
The last method is creating a spark to catch in tinder.
This can be accomplished in a couple ways. You can use electricity or you can strike a piece of steel with a sharp rock (flint, quartz, or pyrite) and you will get a shower of sparks. A flintlock rifle uses this method of ignition.
You can also get sparks with a ferro rod or with a cool product like fire laces.
Fire laces have a steel shoelace anchor that can be used as a striker to create sparks, or even used as a knife in emergencies. The laces are tipped with flint rods covered with weatherproof rubber covers. They give you a fire starter that is always with you. (as long as you have your shoes)
One more thing about the fire laces is that they are made up of paracord. That means they have an outer sheath and seven inner cords that can be separated out. This gives each lace 35 feet of 50# test line and allows you to still tie your shoes with the outer sheathing.
Remember when you are trying to start a fire without matches to gather plenty of dry tinder, and then plenty of small sticks to feed your small fire as it gets going. If you take care of these things and practice you might soon be leaving your matches behind on purpose.
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