How To Make A Fire In The Wild With Nothing

Making a fire is easy when you have a match, lighter, and gasoline. But what if you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have any matches or lighters and you badly need to make a fire? Fire is important to stay warm and cook food in the wild. Interestingly, there are many ways to do that. So, how to make a fire in the wild with nothing?

There are quite a few ways to make a fire without a match or lighter. You can use the traditional hand drill method, the flint and steel method, or the bow drill method. A battery and lens are also useful for making a fire in the wild.

In this article, I talk about different ways of making a fire in the wild. Most of these methods require practice to be mastered. So, it is better to learn about them before hiking or camping in isolated sites.

5 Different Ways Of Making Fire In The Wild

Don’t know how to make a fire with the natural resources around you? Then check out the following methods to improve your survival skills. You can use these methods depending on the environment and conditions you face.

1. Hand Drill Method

The hand drilling method of making fire is probably the most primitive method used since ancient times. With a bit of practice and patience, anyone can apply the method to start a fire. 

For this method, you will need a wood fireboard, a spindle stick, and lots of patience. A fireboard is a flat piece of board that is ½ inch thick and one to two feet long. The spindle stick should be 16 to 24 inches long. Make sure to use dry wood made of softwood.

Step 1

You will need to make a tinder nest. A tinder nest is necessary to start the fire. So, gather some dry grass, leaves, and bark. 

Step 2

Next, take the fireboard and curve a V-shaped indentation into it. The fireboard should be flat so that it does not move too much while rubbing the spindle. Place a bark or leaf under the indentation to catch the hot wood dust.

Step 3

After that, place the spindle stick on the V-shaped cut in the firewood. Then start rubbing the drill stick back and forth, putting pressure downward on the fireboard. You have to rub really fast to create friction on the board.

Step 4

Eventually, you will see smoke coming from the indentation where you rub the spindle stick. You will find embers accumulated on the leaves or bark under the firewood.

Step 5

Take the leaf from the smoking ember and transfer it right away to the tinder next. Thus, you will get a fire to keep yourself warm.

2. Flint and Steel

You may find yourself in a place where you have little wood and more stones around you. Making a fire without dry wood can be tricky. In such conditions, you can try the flint and steel method. You may already have a steel knife or any metal with you. This method is extremely useful when your match cannot ignite in a wet or cold environment.

Flint is actually stone. It can be chert, agate, jasper, quartz, or obsidian. If you do not know the stone type around you, try to find a stone as strong as steel with sharp edges. A tinder nest is necessary for this method.

Then take an edgy stone and some fried tree moss or bush in one hand, and the steel knife in the other. Keep the sharp edge of the stone outward. When you are ready, strike the flint against the steel knife. Sparks should happen after a few tries. The flame from the sparks will ignite the dry moss, and then you have to transfer the fire to the tinder nest.

3. Battery and Chewing gum wrapper/ tin foil

If you go hiking or camping, you probably carry a flashlight with you. Find a chewing gum wrapper or some tin foil, and you will need nothing else to make a fire.

First, cut the tin foil or gum wrapper into the shape of an eight. Take out the battery from your flashlight or any other device. Then attach the ends of the wrapper to the positive and negative charge of the battery.

The wrapper attached to the battery creates a circuit. The electricity produced will have no way to go; hence, the paper will catch on fire. When it happens, put the ignited wrapper on a tinder nest.

4. Bow Drill Method

The bow drill method is a fraction-based hand drill method. But this time, you will use a bow. This method requires a bow, a fireboard, a spindle or drill stick, a tinder nest, and a socket. 

Step 1

Find a flexible wood to make the bow. It should bend but not break easily. You can use the rope from your shoelaces to tie it on both ends of the wood to make the bow.

Step 2

Like the handle drill method, prepare the fireboard. Make a V-shaped notch and a depression. Then place a bark or leaf under the fireboard to collect the embers.

Step 3

Next, coil the bow around the drill stick. Then place the drill on the V shape of the fireboard. 

Step 4

Take a flat stone or wood piece to use as the socket. Put it on the drill and apply pressure to the fireboard. Keep moving the bow backward and forward.

Step 5

After a while, you can see smoke coming out from the other end of the drill while rubbing on the fireboard. Then remove the fireboard and get the ember to place it on the tinder nest.  

5. Lens or Magnifying Glass

This is a cool trick you can try next time you hike in the wild. You can use a flashlight lens, a magnifying glass, or just a clear glass to apply this method.

This method is best for cold conditions where you are surrounded by snow or ice. However, it works only during the daytime when the sun is visible. Collect some tinder, paper, or dry cloth. Then use a lens to focus the sunlight on them. If the angle is right, the fire will ignite in just a few minutes. 

Practice Makes A Man Perfect

Let’s face it. All the methods mentioned here require at least a little bit of practice. You cannot make a fire in the wild by reading articles about it. You have to start practicing them ahead of your adventure.

Moreover, unexpected things can happen when you are in the woods. You may get stuck in an isolated place without access to modern tools to make a fire. Learning how to make fire in different ways can help you survive in critical conditions.

So, whenever you have some free time, collect some natural resources and practice making fire yourself. Methods like the hand drill, bow drill, and flint method need to be practiced properly.

Also, make sure to put out the fire after you use it. This is important to make sure you do not cause any fire accidents.


By now, you must have learned how to make a fire in the wild with nothing. Making a fire in the forest or wilderness without modern tools is not easy, but it is not impossible. You just have to master some of the methods mentioned in the article.

So, next time you find yourself without a match or lighter in the wild, you do not have to panic, as you now know other ways to make a fire. 

Kevin Noyes

Hey there, I'm Kevin, a former infantry soldier in the U.S. Army. I've been through it all - from grueling training to intense combat situations. Now, I'm here to spill the beans on survival. None of that dry, textbook stuff - I'm talking real-world, practical tips to help you conquer any wild situation. From setting up camp to keeping your cool, we'll tackle it all together! So let's dive in and get ready to rock the survival game!

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