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How To Start A Fire Without A Lighter? 6 Best Methods 2023

Fire is something that we come across many times a day. These days it is quite easy to light a fire with the help of a lighter or matchbox, but have you ever thought about how to start a fire without a lighter? Imagine you need to cook or warm your food when you are on a picnic but need a lighter or matchbox and wonder how to start a fire without a lighter. Do not worry; here is an expert to tell you about this.

How to Start a Fire Without a Lighter? 6 Best Methods

The most common methods to start a fire without a lighter are:

  • Friction-Based Fire Making
  • Lens-Based Methods and
  • Batteries and Steel Wool method.

All of them are detailed below for your information:

No 1. Friction-Based Fire Making

You must have heard the story of two people who were fighting with each other. One of them threw a stone at the other. Instead of hitting that man, the stone hit another stone, and a spark was produced. Thus the fire was discovered. From that, the man learned that friction was the main factor in making fire. For ages, friction was used to get a flame. Friction is indeed the answer to how to start a fire without a lighter.

In friction-based methods, you will have to produce enough friction to cause a spark and flammable material that converts the spark into a flame. The following are four friction-based methods:

The Hand Drill

This method requires two dry pieces of softwood and a knife. One flat piece about half an inch thick whick works as a fireboard—another round shape stick about two feet long shall act as a spindle.


  • Sharp one end of the spindle
  • Make a hole in the fireboard with a size where the spindle fits in. and place the fireboard on a leaf to collect ash.
  • Make a V shape cut on the fireboard.
  • Now place your spindle in the hole of the fire board and start moving your spindle back and forth with the help of your hand. Continue moving your hand with pressure and speed.
  • After some drilling, you shall see wood dust.
  • Keep drilling until it gets so hot that wood dust catches fire.
  • Now pick the hot wood dust on a leaf and place it on a bunch of dried grasses or leaves.
  • Blow the bunch of grasses until it catches the fire
  • Place the burning grasses under the softwoods, and you shall get fire.

Fire Plough

This method is very similar to the hand drill method with slight changes. In this method, you shall require a fireboard with a 7 to 8 inches long groove, and a flat piece of wood with a width of around two inches called a plough.


  • Sharp the plough according to the width of the groove of the fireboard
  • Now place the plough onto the fire board at an angle of 45 degrees and start moving back and forth in the groove
  • Keeping moving the plough with speed and pressure, and you see wood dust
  • Keep moving the plough until wood dust catches fire.

Bow Drill

Below is another method of making fire without a lighter, called the bow drill method. The following items shall be required.

  • A 09-inch long dry wood piece with a diameter of about one inch as a spindle
  • Half-inch thick flat piece of softwood to act as a fireboard.
  • Another piece of hardwood that comfortably fits in your hand with a hole in it to hold the top side of the spindle called the socket
  • A curvy hard stick with a size of 03 to 04 feet is called a bow stick.
  • A piece of rope acts as a string.


  • Connect the rope on both sides of the bow stick
  • Make a hole in the fireboard with the help of a knife that fits the spindle for drilling.
  • Make a V-shaped cut in the fireboard where you drill to collect the coal and hot dust that is formed.
  • Place the fireboard on top of a leaf or piece of bark to collect the ember.
  • Now put one end of the spindle on the fireboard and fit the other in the socket.
  • Hold the socket firmly from the top.
  • Start moving the spindle with the back-and-forth movement of the bowstring.
  • Keep moving the bowstring with pressure and speed till it starts smoking.
  • Keep moving the bowstring quickly for another minute or two until fire dust is produced.
  • Move the burning fire dust onto softwoods.

Flint and Steel

It is an easier and more convenient method to make a fire. This method produces a spark by striking a piece of steel with a rock called flint. It can be tricky because the steel should have a higher quantity of carbon, and the flint should have sharp edges.


  • Hold the steel in your dominant hand firmly
  • Hold the flint in the other hand at an angle of 45 degrees
  • Now strike the steel on the flint. It shall produce sparks
  • Be mindful of producing sparks near the bunch of dried grasses
  • The dried grasses shall catch fire
  • Place that burning grass under the softwoods.

Until now, you must have learned how to start a fire without light. But the interesting thing is that other methods exist to start a fire without light. Keep reading as more interesting stuff is coming your way.

2. Lense-Based methods

These methods produce a flame by concentrating the sunlight onto a flammable material like tissue paper, charcoal cloth, or dried glasses. This part of the article will excite you the most to learn how to start a fire without light. Besides traditional glasses, other materials like balloons, condoms and even ice can produce a flame for interesting information, not just scrolling but reading each bit.

The items you require are:

A lense; the bigger it is, the better it is
Sunlight; and
Flammable material, as explained above.


  • Put your flammable material on the earth or any other surface
  • Place a lens in front of sunlight
  • Focus the beam of light onto the flammable material so much that the beam shrinks the most
  • Wait till an ignition is produced
  • After getting the ignition, blow the flammable material so that the flame is produced
  • Now place the flame under the tinder.

3. Balloons and Condoms

You have read it correctly. It is as you have read it. Balloons and Condoms also produce fire. The basic science in this method is the same as you learned in the traditional lenses method. The only difference is that, instead of a lens, you use a transparent balloon or condom.


Fill your transparent balloon or condom with water. Keep in mind that the material should not contain any lubrication or other material. Now, this shall act as a conventional lens. The rest of the technique is the same as you have learned in the traditional lens method.

4. Fire From Ice

At first, it must be unbelievable for you, but that is correct ice, which is made of water that puts off the fire and produces it. You shall surely learn many ways to start a fire without light until you finish this article. This method is tricky and requires patience, consistency and practice. The apparatus of this technique is a piece of ice, a knife, flammable material, and sunlight.


  • First of all cut the piece of ice with the help of a knife.
  • Mold the piece into the shape of a lens by using your hands. Be careful that the heat of your hands should not melt down the ice.
  • Hold firmly the piece of ice, which is now acting as a lens.
  • A beam of light shall be produced. Concentrate the beam onto the flammable material as you did in other lens methods.
  • Hold the lens firm; soon, you shall see smoke on the flammable material and get the fire.

Ways to start fire without a lighter are new and different, but these methods are certainly helpful when required. The article is not complete yet. Some more exciting methods are coming below;

5. Soda Can and Chocolate Bar

This method also works by reflecting the sunlight onto the flammable material. You must certainly be wondering about the role of chocolate bars in fire making. A chocolate bar is used to polish and shine the surface of the Soda Can. Read below the full method.

Items required

  • Soda Can
  • Chocolate bar
  • A piece of cloth
  • Flammable materials like dried grasses, tiny wood pieces, etc.


  • Rub the chocolate against the bottom of the soda can
  • Remove the chocolate from the bottom of the soda can with the help of the cloth. It is done to clean and polish the soda can.
  • Apply and remove the chocolate numerous time till the soda can shines like a mirror. Be careful, do not eat the remaining chocolate as it may contain toxins after this process.
  • Place the polished side of the can against the sunlight and reflect the sunlight onto the flammable material.
  • Hold the beam onto the flammable material till the smoke starts to rise.
    As soon as the flammable material starts to burn, place it under the woods to get the fire.

6. Batteries and Steel Wool

You need to have the right material for this. You shall require

Batteries; ideally, a 9-volt battery and
A small quantity of steel wool


  • Make very thin layers of steel with the help of your hands.
  • Place both ends of the battery on the steel wool. As soon as you place both ends on the steel wool, it shall begin to burn.
  • The benefit of using a 9-volt battery is that it has both terminals on the same side.
    Instead of a 9-volt battery, you can also use normal AA or AAA batteries.
  • In this case, you will have to join them in a “series circuit”. That means that the positive terminal first battery connects with the negative terminal of the second battery.
  • Now use a piece of steel wool that extends from the positive terminal of the first battery to the negative terminal of the last battery. It will produce sparks that will burn the steel wool.

How to Start a Fire Without a Lighter: Final Thoughts

You face different scenarios in your life, many of which require a trick or hack that is out of the box. In this article, you have learned nine methods of How to start a fire without a lighter. Some methods are certainly difficult, but practice in safe conditions will help you become an expert.

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