Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Every prepper knows you’re supposed to put fire-starting materials in your bug out bag and with the rest of your survival supplies. Fire is life, and having a way to start one during a disaster is crucial.
However, you could find yourself in a situation where you don’t have your bug out bag and can’t get to your supplies. If that happens, you’ll have to use your wits and whatever materials you can find. Fortunately, there are many ways to start a fire without matches, flint, or a lighter.
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In this post, I’m going to share some of the weirdest and most unusual ways to start a fire. These methods aren’t always immediately effective and may take some practice. But once you learn them, you’ll be a regular MacGyver when it comes to fire-making. Here are some unusual things you can use to start a fire.
1. Gum Wrapper and Battery
A foil gum wrapper and a battery can make a small flame that you can use to get a fire going. You can use any size cylindrical battery, but most people use AA batteries. Just cut the foil wrapper so that the middle is about 1/4 as thick as the ends. Touch the foil side to the bottom of the battery, then touch the other end to the top of the battery, and the narrow part in the middle will catch fire. Watch the video to see it done.
2. Steel Wool and Battery
This is similar to the gum wrapper method. Just stretch the steel wool so it reaches the positive and negative terminals, and it will create enough energy to set the wool on fire. The easiest way is to use a 9V battery (like in the video below) because you can easily touch both terminals to the steel wool at the same time. But if all you have is a cylindrical battery such as a AA battery, you can use that as well.
3. Jumper Cables and a Car Battery
First, attach a set of jumper cables to your car battery. Then take the opposite ends and tap them together to create sparks. If you have plenty of dry tinder, you can use those sparks to get a fire started. It’s even easier if you have some steel wool. This method is somewhat dangerous since you risk blowing up your car battery, but it’s worth a try to avoid freezing.
4. Pencil and a Car Battery
If you don’t want to make sparks with your jumper cables, try this instead. Carve down two ends of a pencil until the lead is exposed, then attach your jumper cables to both ends of the pencil, making sure the jumper cables are touching the lead. Place the pencil on your tinder, then attach the other ends of the jumper cables to your car battery. Soon, the pencil will heat up and set your tinder on fire.
5. D Batteries and a Cell Phone Cord
First, take your charger cord and strip the ends so the wire is exposed. Hold two D batteries together, press one end of the cord to the bottom of one battery, then touch the wires on the other end of the cord to the top of the other battery. Have some tinder touching the top of the other battery also. The heat will cause the tinder to catch fire. This is a little tricky, but it works.
6. A Condom Filled With Water
Seriously. Just fill a condom with water until it’s the size of a small water balloon, then hold it at an angle that focuses the sunlight into a narrow beam. Focus the beam of sunlight onto some dried grass for a few minutes. This will cause the grass to heat and eventually start burning.
7. Urine and a Plastic Bag
It may sound far-fetched, but it works if you have plenty of sunlight. First, fill a plastic bag with urine. Alternatively, you can shape some plastic wrap into a bowl, put some urine in it, and wrap it up (as seen in the video below). A water bottle probably won’t work because you won’t be able to fill it enough to get the refraction you need. Once your urine-filled magnifying glass is ready, use it to focus a beam of sunlight on your tinder. Before long, it will catch fire.
8. Plastic Wrap and Water
Another way to use sunlight is to create an aqua lens. Stretch some plastic wrap across a frame of some sort and secure it in place with tape. Then pour water onto the plastic wrap until you have a bowl of water. If the sun is overhead, the aqua lens will form a beam of sunlight under which you can put your tinder. Before long, the tinder will catch fire.
9. A Light Bulb and Water
This one is fairly simple. Break off the bottom of a clear light bulb and remove everything inside it. Fill the light bulb with water and use it as an aqua lens to focus sunlight on a bundle of tinder. After a while, the tinder will start burning.
10. An Old TV Screen
If you have or can find an old big screen TV, take it apart and remove the giant Fresnel lens. Now simple angle the lens so a beam of sunlight is focused on your tinder. Before long, the tinder will catch fire. Warning: This method makes a very hot beam of sunlight. So hot, in fact, that it can boil a bottle of water. So don’t stick your hand in the sunbeam.
11. A Chunk of Ice
Yes, ice can also start a fire. It works the same way as the condom filled with water. Just angle the ice at your dried grass and let sun work its magic. You’ll want to wear gloves so your hands don’t get too cold. This method can take a bit, and you’ll need direct sunlight to do it, but it definitely works.
12. Chocolate and a Soda Can
Simply rub some chocolate on the bottom of an aluminum can, then polish it with a paper towel or cloth until it’s nice and shiny. After that, you can use it as a reflective tool to aim a beam of sunlight at your tinder. Before long, the tinder will catch fire. Then add wood to build a fire. If you don’t have any chocolate, use some toothpaste instead.
13. A Flashlight
Remove the top lens and pull out the reflective cone that the light bulb sits in. Place a bit of dried grass or dry moss where the bulb would normally sit, and place the cone in direct sunlight. The reflection of the sunlight will heat the tinder and cause it to start burning.
14. An Empty Lighter
An empty lighter may seem useless, but you can still use it to start a fire. Slowly grind the wheel of the lighter against a sheet of paper. After a minute or two, you’ll accumulate a small pile of flint dust. Now put some tinder on the dust, then use the lighter to throw a spark at it. The dust will catch the spark and set your tinder on fire.
15. Brake Fluid and Chlorine
Start with a small pile of powdered chlorine, pour some brake fluid on it, then quickly back away. After smoking for a few moments, the pile will burst into flames. Now throw some tinder and wood on the pile before the flames go out. Since there’s the possibility of an explosive effect, I recommend wearing safety goggles or averting your eyes. I would also do this on the ground instead of in a container since there’s no telling how the material in the container will react.
These methods may be strange, but they all work. You can always resort to the old-fashioned method of rubbing two sticks together or banging two rocks together. But if you’re in an urban area, you should be able to find the materials to try one of these methods, which are a bit easier than traditional methods. Have fun and be safe!