When you head out on glamping holidays at this time of year being able to light a fire is an essential skill – but if you don’t have matches or a lighter how do you get it started?
The answer is that there are many ways to do it – and we thought we’d share six of them with you.
Step one is to gather tinder, by collecting any very dry and fine material which is available, like dried out moss, leaves, hay or straw. This material is what you’ll be attempting to catch alight. You’ll need to site it somewhere out of the wind and dry, where your fire will be able to take hold.
You’ll also need some kindling, small and dry twigs or bits of wood which you’ll add to the kindling once it’s alight.
Now for the fire making methods:
1 Batteries and steel wool
If you have a battery to hand, ideally a 9V one, and some steel wool, making fire is easy. Simply locate the battery terminals and rub the wool over it.
This will create friction and discharge energy into the wool, causing it to heat up and start glowing red. Eventually the tiny steel wires will ignite and you can transfer this to the tinder and kindling, which should also catch light. If you don’t have steel wool this method will also work with a paperclip.
2 Use a flint and steel
If you’re prepared for the eventuality of not having matches, you may have a flint and steel.
This is a relatively easy method, as all you should need to do is strike the flint with the steel, which will create sparks. Do this above the tinder and the sparks will hit the tinder and ignite it
3 Use a magnifying glass
If the weather is good when you’re trying to light your fire, you can use the power of the sun’s rays to light it.
A magnifying glass will work best but you should be able to light a fire with any piece of glass you may have to hand.
Simply use the magnifying glass to focus light onto the tinder and as it heats the material it should ignite.
4 Fashion a hand drill
This method is more difficult and will require a bit more work. First you need to make a ‘fire board’ which is essentially a piece of wood with a notch in cut into it, which is where your drill will sit.
You’ll also need to find a spindle to sit in this notch. Ideally it will be a strong and dry stick, about two feet long and half an inch in diameter. Sharpen the end to a point, then sit this in the notch and hold the spindle between your palms.
Using a back and forth motion spin the stick in the notch until the friction created produces a red hot glowing ember. This ember the needs transferring to your tinder, usually using a piece of bark. You’ll then need to blow gently on the ember to produce fire, and gradually build your fire.
Take note, this method is hard and requires both physical and mental endurance and determination!
5 Use a bow drill
This method is very similar to the previous, except rather than spinning the spindle by hand you do so with a bow made from a stick and piece of string.
To make this bow find yourself a long, flexible piece of wood which is roughly the length of your arm. Ideally this piece of wood will have a slight curve to it. Then tie a piece of durable string to one end, before pulling it tight so the bow bends slightly and there is tension in the string, and then tie it to the other end.
You’ll then need to wrap the sting around your spindle and use a back and forth motion to spin the spindle. You’ll also need a stone or something similar to weigh the top of the spindle down and make sure friction is created.