5 Ways To Start A Fire Without Matches

Fire making | Ways To Start A Fire Without Matches | Featured

Try these amazing ways to start a fire without matches or a lighter and secure food, water, warmth,  and safety if you find yourself in a survival setup.

RELATED: Essential Wilderness Survival Skill: How To Start A Friction Fire

Ways to Start a Fire with Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Flint and Steel Wool

Hikers and campers can get into quite a lot of misadventures and in these misadventures, we can either lose or damage our matches. We can even lose or forget to bring one together.


Yet, you can count on hikers and campers to have multitool gear and gadgets with flint these days. Using flint is a bit tricky though, so take the instructions below to start a fire with flint and wool.


  • 3 medium pieces of firewood
  • Extra fine steel wool, grade #000
  • Flint and steel striker
  • Cotton ball
  • Bundle of kindling
  • Cotton ball


  1. Place a pad of steel wool on a flat surface.
  2. Surround the steel wool with two pieces of firewood.
  3. Place a cotton ball on top of the steel wool, then surround the cotton ball with kindling.
  4. Add more kindling to the top so the cotton ball is completely unclosed.
  5. Use your flint and steel to strike sparks against the edges of the steel wool. Continue this motion around the edge of the steel wool, blowing on the sparks to ignite flames.
  6. Add a third piece of firewood so the fire is fully contained.

2. Potassium Permanganate and Sugar

Amazingly, Potassium Permanganate has many survival uses when used properly. So if you ever have to pick a chemical to bring along with you, pick this one.

It has been used as a disinfectant, makes an antiseptic solution, is anti-fungal, and is one of the most effective fire-starting methods.

What Is Potassium Permanganate? It is a common chemical compound that is a combination of manganese oxide ore with potassium hydroxide. It is widely used in the water treatment industry.


  • Sugar
  • Potassium Permanganate
  • A piece of wood or rock with a flat edge


  1. On a flat surface, combine a small pile of potassium permanganate with a small pile of sugar. Make sure there is an even 1:1 ratio.
  2. Press a flat rock or piece of wood against the pile and begin rapid short strokes back and forth.
  3. The chemical combination will begin to smoke and a flame will ignite almost immediately.

3. How to Start a Fire with a Water Bottle

This fire-starting method follows the concept of the magnifying glass by creating the lens effect with water. Follow the steps below for a foolproof way to get a fire going while the sun is still up.



  • Plastic water bottle, label removed
  • Three sheets of paper (paper with black ink works best)


  1. Fold one piece of paper so the ink is facing outward.
  2. Tear the other sheets of paper so you have four pieces, then fold each piece down the middle.
  3. Remove the label from your water bottle. The edge of the bottle will serve as a make-shift magnifying glass to focus the sunlight.
  4. Set your papers against a large rock (or something non-flammable).
  5. Angle your water bottle against the paper until the paper begins to smoke and a hole burns through.
  6. When the hole is about the size of a quarter, start adding more layers of paper to keep the fire growing.
  7. Wave the paper around gently until a flame appears.

RELATED: How To Build A Pyramid Fire | Survival Life

4. How to Start a Fire with a Battery and Gum Wrappers

Chances are you're carrying a battery-operated gadget and probably some gum on your adventure. So, if you run out of luck and you need fire, the battery and gum wrappers will do the trick.



  • Foil-backed gum wrapper
  • AA or AAA battery


  1. Start with a gum wrapper and a battery. (Note: This trick will only work with a foil-backed gum wrapper.
  2. If you don’t have a loose battery on hand, remove one from your flashlight. (Don’t worry — you can put it back later.)
  3. Cut the gum wrappers into hourglass-shaped strips.
  4. Take one of your ignitors and hold the ends against the ends of the battery. After a few seconds, you will notice it starting to smoke.
  5. After a few more seconds, you will see a flame emerge.

5. 9-Volt Battery and Steel Wool

We take the battery trick to start a fire more seriously because as I've said, chances are high you'll have a battery with you.

In an urban setting, they are also the easiest to find. So here's another way to start a fire with a battery.



  • Extra fine steel wool, grade #000
  • 9V Battery
  • 3 medium pieces of firewood
  • Bundle of kindling
  • Cotton ball


  1. Place pad of steel wool on a flat surface.
  2. Surround the steel wool with two pieces of firewood.
  3. Place a densely-packed bundle of kindling on top of the steel wool.
  4. Wedge the cotton ball underneath the kindling. (Pro tip: Soaking your cotton ball in petroleum jelly will make it burn much longer.)
  5. Rub the protruding end of the 9V battery briskly against the steel wool. Continue applying friction to all of the edges until the steel wool begins to spark.
  6. Add a third piece of wood so the fire is contained on all sides.

When we think of ways to start a fire without matches or a lighter, we immediately envision the tedious task of rubbing sticks together. Now you know there are several smart and less hassling ways to start a fire.

Try these tricks at home when making a campfire, lighting the firepit or the outdoor pizza oven so you know what to do in case the real need to make a fire without matches arise.

Which of these ways to start a fire have you tried? How did it go? Tell us all about your experience in the comments section below!

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***Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.***

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on December 2, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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5 Ways To Start A Fire Without Matches

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