How to Start a Fire without Matches – Survival in the Wilderness

Ever wondering how to start a fire without matches?  Fire is a natural phenomenon that has shaped the human civilization like no other invention or discovery. As our ancestors tamed this genius, they practiced at least some form of power over nature. But even today, with the technological advancements of fire-making appliances and devices like fire lighter and matches that we have managed to develop since the modernization of the humankind, we still are no better than our ancestors. When left in the wild, the ability to start a fire without any fire-making tools or marches could make a major difference between life & death.

When you are attempting to start a fire without any matches or lighters, you would require the following items to get a start:

  • Firewood
  • Kindling for feeding fire
  • Tinder –the dry, flammable material requiring only a few sparks to start a fire

When you have the basic materials, here are some methods in which you can start a fire without a match or a lighter:

  • Hand Drill Method: For this method, you would require a strong piece of hardwood. Make notches into the same with the help of a knife or sharp rock. Now, you require around a 2-foot long stick to fit perfectly into the given notch. You can now start rolling the stick between the palms –generating ample heat through friction. Eventually, this would lead to ample heat generation to start smoking. Blow on it to accelerate the fire.


  • Bow Drill Method: This is referred to as the advanced version of the hand drill method. In this method, you can start off a fire without tiring your hands much. In this method, the spindle is made stable on the notch with a piece of rock. A bow is made by bending a stick and tying its end with the help of a string. Now, you can start over the drilling process to create friction. This would eventually lead to the sparking of the fire.


  • Chemical Combustion: Moving from Physics into Chemistry to start a fire without matches, chemical combustion is yet another method in which you can achieve the same. For this method, you would require glycerin and potassium permanganate crystals. Place a plain paper or dry leaf on the ground and add a spoonful of potassium permanganate over it. Add a few drops of glycerin over it. Stand back as a small explosion would happen leading to sparking.


Know about the best ways to start a fire without matches for ultimate survival!