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How to Start a Fire without Matches
In a Survival Situation

By Dan S. Defense

Have you ever wanted to start a fire without matches or a lighter? Being able to start a fire in the woods, in a camping trip or survival situation, is an important skill to acquire. In this article we'll look at two ways to start a fire without using matches. After you read this article you ought to be able to start a small fire at will!

There are two ways to start a fire without matches. The first is harder and requires some physical effort and luck to work. The second, using a Magnesium and flint fire starter, which is a small, cost effective tool that will do the hard work for you.

The first way to start a fire without matches entails the use of two pieces of wood and a shoe string. This method of starting fire requires some effort and dry weather conditions, since it's nearly impossible to start fire with wet wood. We can start a fire by utilizing friction to create heat to ignite a small chunk of tinder. To do this, you need one long, hard and fairly smooth piece of wood to act as the friction generator. It needs to be smooth to minimize blisters, which the interaction of flesh and wood generates. You then need softer wood to act as a base.

Finally, collect some dry tinder that will act as the incubator for your natal fire. Now, take a knife and create a small crater in the base. Keep the wood shavings since they can be used to grow the initial flame. Then sharpen the long stick, but not too much since the goal is just to keep the tip within the base crate. Place the tinder around the walls of the base crater and get ready for the hard part.

You now need to generate sufficient friction to generate sparks. Those sparks will need to land in the tinder to start a small, dim flame which you'll need to gently blow air into to start a fire. You need to twist the long, and hopefully smooth stick between your hands, moving your palms back and forth as fast as you can. You need to keep at it until small sparks begins to show and then you need to quickly move close, to blow and start the fire.

If you have shoe strings, you can take one sting and loop it around the wood stick, to the point where pulling the string from side to side, turns the stick in the base. It's a bit like a small hand drill. This will reduce blisters and will start the fire sooner, but this too requires perseverance and effort.

The second and preferred way is to start a fire without matches, is to use a Magnesium and flint fire starter. I always have a Magnesium and Flint Fire Starter in my car as well as my backpack and emergency supply kit. The small Magnesium bar sits on a key chain with a flint and a small, flat metal attached to it. You can get this at any camping store, or from countless Internet vendors, for less than $10.

To start a fire you simply put together a few chunks of wood and set some tinder on a few small branches. You then take a knife and run the blade against the Magnesium bar. You let the Magnesium shavings fall on the tinder and smaller branches. Then you take the flint, and run the small metal attachment (or the blade of your knife) over the flint. This creates a large spark which is 5400 degrees F hot, which even works in the rain, when it's wet. Do so over the Magnesium shavings and the spark will ignite the shavings and a fire will be created. That small fire will light the tinder, and give a new flame, that will start consuming the small pieces of wood.

At first, you'll need to run the metal against the flint several times and you'll probably knock the Magnesium shavings off the tinder. No worries. This takes a bit of experience and if you try this several times, you'll get it right and be able to start a fire with one to two swift flick of the hand.

You can start a fire without matches while in the woods. If you choose to do so by hand, expect to spend quite a bit of time and effort in starting a fire. You can also expect blisters and some level of frustration. Therefore, before heading to the woods or before venturing into unknown territory, we highly recommend you get a few Magnesium flint fire starters.

You can practice in your back yard or next, safe camping trip. It is a good skill to have. If you invest some time in practicing, you'll acquire a new skill that will allow you, with a Magnesium fire starter, to even start a fire in the rain-without blisters or physical effort. In survival situations that ability could save your life and during fun camping trips, this skill will earn some bragging rights. In either case, the minimal investment of time and money is well worth while.

Until next time, stay safe by staying alert!

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