Aug 06

3 Most Overlooked Fire-Starting Methods

campfire on the beachThough people are eager to learn and adopt different fire-starting methods, there are always some fire-starting techniques most learners overlook. Ideally, these overlooked fire-starting methods are extremely important. Think of a situation where you do not have a readily available kit of cotton balls or commercial/military developed tinder, but you have to create fire to stave off the chills or scare away wild animals. It can be hell on earth, right? The good news is most of these overlooked fire-starting methods require none of those.

The Most Overlooked Fire-Starting Methods

These include:

  • Flick the Bic Lighter
  • Fire Piston and Char Cloth
  • Fire Striker and a Piece of Char Cloth
  1. Flick the Bic Lighter

More than a few people might be opposed to the idea that this method is actually on the top of the list, but honestly speaking, we all know that this method requires nearly no effort or too much thinking. It is the most overlooked fire-starting method yet it is essential, especially for survival purposes. It is not glamorous, neither is it crafty nor ancient, but let us adopt it. Apart from being easy, flicking the bic would cost you not more than two bucks at the local mart. Bic lighters are just everywhere (from grocery stores to reputable retailers). You can learn this method before departing for a camping trip where there is likelihood of fire piston being low on lube or steel stickers failing to work accordingly.

  1. Fire Piston and Char Cloth

If you are unfamiliar with how to make char cloth, it is basically just a small sheet of cotton, which has been “charred” by being placed in a steel container or vented tin and heat in a fire. Though you should allow the char cloth to “burn”, it should not be consumed by fire during the process. You can actually do this with a piece of, say, a bandana or a cotton tee shirt and an Altoids tin. With these, be sure to make an effective char cloth that has an incredibly low combustion temperature, and can form embers from the steel striker’s mere sparks. It is vital to have char cloth because the fire piston technique cannot work without it. Because the 25:1 compression ratio would make your char cloth flash, the fire piston technique applies physics to handle the hard part. You can design a fire piston by yourself. Fire pistons have been around for almost two centuries, and similar to steel strikers, you can find a classy-looking fire piston, which could add a brilliant touch to your archaic fire kit.

  1. Fire Striker and a Piece of Char Cloth

Apart from bow drill method, fire striker and a piece of char cloth is arguably the oldest fire-making technique in human history. Maybe this explains why the method has been overlooked from generation to generation. The fire striker and char cloth technique uses the trusty flint and steel kit to make fire. As a result, it is commonly referred to as the “ye olde tinderbox” and flint striker. Some people also refer to it as the “percussion fire-making method”, a method that began during the Iron Age period. Despite its long-term existence, most people have overlooked it.

Unlike the first two methods, this method does require a rich knowledge and skills, just like the bow drill method, where you have to learn how to make precisions. Nevertheless, it is better than the bow drill, and you do not have to kill your arms while using it. Here is how this method is done:

  • Have the needed materials on hand. Such should include a steel striker, char cloth and flint or chert.
  • With a steel striker in one hand and flint or chert on the other, strike the steel striker against the rock. Striking the steel striker against the rock will make the falling sparks land on the char cloth below. You should be able to notice the formation of embers after just a few strikes.
  • Put the smoldering char cloth on the tinder bundle, and wait for a few minutes.

Bottom Line

It is crucial to have the knowledge and skill of starting fire, especially if you are planning to have a lengthy time in the wilderness or forest. Fire is highly important. Aside from keeping that eerie nighttime psychological Sasquatch at bay, fire has the ability to offer life-sustaining access to heat; thus, can stave off chills when temperatures hit below the zero mark. Fire can also be essential in a survival-type situation. It is one of the greatest ways for making sure your presence is noticed by anyone who happens to be searching for you. Because of these, it is necessary that you learn various fire-starting methods without overlooking others, as they can sometimes be of great benefit.


Jeffrey Howie is a hunter and survivalist with a fanatic interest in survival gears and wilderness survival techniques. He regularly publishes articles on his blog: Survival Crib is the ultimate resource for anyone looking for survival tips and techniques. To learn more, visit Survival Crib (

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