When you head out on your Christmas glamping 2017 holidays, building a fire might not be an essential skill you need to have as everything is set up for you upon arrival. However, if you are planning on going for a hike, spending the day fishing, or just want to impress the kids with your survivalist skills, knowing how to build a fire is a wonderful skill to own. But, if you don’t have matches or a lighter how do you get it started?

A campfire near Quality Unearthed

The answer to this question is that there are several ways to start a fire without matches, and we’ve got five options for you to look at in this piece. We’ve also provided some simple methods for you to use should you want to give it a go – you never know when these skills will come in handy!


What Essentials Do You Need for Building a Fire?

Gathering Tinder

Gather tinder, making sure to collect any very dry and fine material which is available to you such as dried out moss, leaves, hay or straw. This material is what you’ll be attempting to catch alight.

Find a Location

You’ll need to position your fire somewhere dry that is located out of the wind; this will mean your fire will be able to take hold.

Collect Kindling

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.


 A group Christmas glamping holiday sat around a camp fire

5 Fire Making Methods

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 begin to glow red. Eventually, the tiny steel wires will ignite, and you can transfer this to the tinder and kindling, which should also catch alight. If you don’t have steel wool, this method will also work with a paperclip.

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.

A small campfire at a glamping abode near you

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.

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 set 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 then 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!

A man standing over his newly lit camp fire

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 string 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.

You now hopefully have enough to go on, and you can build your own fire, safe in the knowledge that you don’t need a lighter or matches for you to get the fire going! And remember, always be careful when creating a fire to ensure you or others are not harmed in the process.

We’d love to hear of how your attempts go, so please share them on social media with us.

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