Survival training

How to Light a Fire Without Wood

Nidhi Nangia
By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: August 3, 2020
How to Light a Fire Without Wood

Whether you are camping by the river side, or lost in a desert or forest trying to stay alive, knowing the skill to light a fire without wood proves to be of great help. Fire is one of the most important life’s necessities. You need it to stay warm, to cook food, to create some light around you, etc. Although wood is the easiest and most common fuel to start a campfire, there are several other materials that you can use too. In this oneHOWTO article, let’s talk about how to light a fire without wood.

You may also be interested in: How To Light A Fire With A Battery And Foil
  1. Setting up your fire pit
  2. Gathering your fire fuel
  3. Set up your fire fuel
  4. Light the fire
  5. Start fanning

Setting up your fire pit

The first step to light a fire without wood is to prep the area properly. Create an imaginary ring on a level spot on the ground, away from any bushes, dry glass or over-hanging trees. The ring that you make should be around 10 feet in diameter. Remove any pebbles, twigs and dried leaves from your ring. Now use your hands or any other tool available with you to dig a 3 inches deep hole in the center of the ring. The hole should be around 2 feet in diameter. Encircle the ring with stones or sand creating a circle.

How to Light a Fire Without Wood - Setting up your fire pit

Gathering your fire fuel

Although wood is the best fuel for fire that burns easily and keeps burning for long, there are other materials that you can use as a fuel for your fire too if you don't have any wood. Some of such materials are:

  • Potato chips: If you have potato chips in your bag, light them up and they will keep burning for at least 3 minutes.
  • Toilet paper roll and dryer lint: Once you have created your ring, place toilet paper rolls and dryer lint in the center of the ring and light the cardboard roll’s center.
  • Pine needles or pinecones: These are good fuel to start a fire. They catch fire quickly and give off some good aroma too
  • Newspapers: Make a tube with the newspapers you have, tie them with a knot and light it. The tighter the roll is, the longer your fire will burn
  • Dry debris: If there are dry leaves, twigs and moss around you, you can use them to start your fire

Set up your fire fuel

Once you have gathered your fuel fire, make a big ball with it which should be around 4 inches in diameter. Some of the bigger materials can be setup in the shape of a tepee on top of the ball.

Light the fire

If you have a lighter or a match box, you are in the luck, but if not, there are other ways of light the fire too. Striking flint on a steel surface can cause spark and burn fire in your fuel. You can also position a lens in such a way that it directs the light and heat of the sun onto the fuel and allow it to burn. If you don’t have lens with you, you can use your binoculars, eyeglasses or even ice to direct sunlight to the fuel. Another method is to light a fire with a battery and foil.

Start fanning

Once the fire starts to burn, start fanning it gently using a paper plate or any other flat surface. But don’t blow it too aggressively, as the fire may blow out, or you may even fly away any light fire fuel like dry leaves or grass. Keep adding more fuel to allow the fire to continue burning.

How to Light a Fire Without Wood - Start fanning

If you want to read similar articles to How to Light a Fire Without Wood, we recommend you visit our Recreational activities category.

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How to Light a Fire Without Wood