make a fire when stranded

What gear do u need to make a fire when stranded?

How to make fire when stranded

Since the dawn of time, there has always been a primal connection between man and fire. Ever since man first created fire during the Stone Age, the fire has always been an integral part of our lives. To make a fire when stranded is an essential skill. In fact, in all of history, we as a species have created newer ways to make fire more easily with matchsticks, lighters, and such. However, there comes a time when you need to go back to your roots and embrace the primal instincts, or in other ways know how to survive in the wild.

Watch any movie regarding stranded islanders or documentaries about how someone was stranded on an island for several years, and in each of these documentaries, there is a scene where a man has to make fire without any modern equipment. Making fire without modern equipment is a crucial surviving skill. Learning this skill takes time, and patience but eventually you will get used to it.

Whether you had an accident or got stranded somewhere, or you went camping and got lost in the woods, you will need to make a fire to keep yourself warm, cook food, and light up the area to see where your surroundings better. The reasons do not matter, what matters is you know how to make fire without modern equipment

Friction-Based Fire techniques

These techniques involve using friction to generate enough heat to create fire. It’s perhaps the hardest kind of technique and is not for the faint of heart. In fact, making fire through friction is the most difficult and the hardest method. Friction based methods have different techniques to generate heat through friction with the general idea revolving around rubbing wood together.

For friction-based methods, you will dry wood. Suppose you don’t have dry wood, then you will need to wait for it to dry out first before trying to make fire.

Hand drill method

One of the friction-based methods, the hand drill is the most primitive, and also the most difficult method of all. For this method, all you need is wood and tons of stamina. Here are the steps to the hand drill method:

  • You will need to make a tinder nest that will be used in creating flames from the sparks you make. Make a tinder nest out of anything that can catch fire such as dry grass, leaves, and barks.
  • You will need to cut a V-shaped notch into your fireboard, and create a small depression adjacent to it
  • The bark from earlier will be used to catch embers from the friction between the spindle and fireboard, therefore place it underneath the notch
  • Once everything is in order, place the spindle into the depression on the fireboard. The spindle should be 60cm long for the hand drill method to work properly. Start spinning the spindle as fast as possible, and keep the pressure on the board.
  • Keep spinning until you see an ember glow then tap the fire board to drop the ember onto the bark, and carefully transfer the bark to the tinder nest. You should gently blow on the nest to start the fire.

Fire Plough Method

Follow are the steps to create fire through the fire plow method:

  • Cut a groove into the fireboard
  • Put the tip of the spindle into the groove of the fireboard, and start rubbing the tip up and down the groove
  • Make sure you have the tinder nest closely at the end of the fireboard. That way you’ll plow the embers into the tinder nest as you rub the spindle. If an ember drops into the tinder, gently blow into it to start the fire

Bow Drill Method

The most recognized, and also the most effective friction-based method. The bow drill method is especially useful as it is easier to main the speed, and the pressure you create to make friction and start a fire. For this method, you will need a socket and a bow along with the spindle and a fireboard.

Follow these steps:

  • The socket is a crucial part of the process as it can be used to apply pressure on the end of the spindle as you spin the bow. Luckily the socket can be anything, a piece of wood, or stone
  • Craft a bow that is as long as your arm. To craft a bow, you will need a flexible wood that has a slight curve in the middle. For a string, you can use anything, rope, shoelace, or a stripe of rawhide. Simply tie the string, and you have a bow ready for use
  • As with the hand drill method, cut a v-shaped notch and create a depression adjacent to it and place a tinder underneath it
  • Tie the spindle in a loop of the bowstring, and place one into the fireboard while applying pressure on the other with the socket
  • Unlike the previous methods that involve spinning, in bowstring you need to ‘saw’ the bow back and forth as quickly as possible. the spindle needs to be rotating quickly as well as you keep sawing till you seen an ember
  • Transfer the ember into the nest of tinder and blow on it gently to create fire

Flint and Steel method

Assuming you have a good set of flint and steel with yourself then this technique can work properly otherwise not so much. This method involves getting a spark from striking the flint and the steel together and starting a fire on the tinder nest.

If you don’t have a flint and steel, you can improvise and use a quartzite and a knife assuming you have a pocketknife around. You will also need char which is just a piece of cloth that has been turned into charcoal.  

Once you have all the necessary items set, follow these steps to create fire:

  • Hold the char between your thumb, and the flint
  • Strike the steel against the flint several times until sparks fly off and land on the char which will cause a glow
  • Once the char glows, and put it in the tinder nest, and blow on it to start the fire.


You can use the lens to start a fire which is an easier method. It’s really all similar to setting fire to paper with a magnifying glass.  It’s simple and doesn’t require that much physical effort except for patience and dedication.

Traditional Lens

In the traditional method, you only need a lens to focus sunlight on a particular spot the same way a child would melt a plastic soldier man with a magnifying glass. You can add some water to the lenses and it will intensify the focused beam.

When focusing the beam of sunlight make sure it is aiming at a small area. You should place the tinder nest under the area of the focused sunlight beam. Eventually, the tinder will catch fire.

As easy as it sounds, the only major drawback of this method is the weather. You can only use this method if there is Sun, so if it is cloudy or it is nighttime then you won’t have any luck with starting the fire.

Fire Starters

Swipe the table!