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How to start a fire in the wilderness

  • Feb 29, 2016

Survival 101 in the wilderness starts with being able to start a fire with nothing but your bare hands and nature. When you go camping or hiking, you'd never be caught dead unprepared without matches or a lighter, but just in case you face an emergency situation, the difference between knowing how to start a fire without matches could be life or death. Unfortunately, starting a fire is harder than rubbing two sticks together - but there are plenty of other ways to get a fire crackling. 

Here's what you'll need according to Off the Grid News:
Dry tinder: It needs to be as dry as possible because it's a lot harder to start a fire with wet wood. Tinder is easy to light, but it burns up quickly - it's only meant to get the fire going. Try finding thin plant material like dead leaves or pine needles.
Kindling: This will be used to feed the fire. It's typically bulkier material like wood chips or twigs. 
Firewood: These are your logs that will keep your fire burning through the night. Of course you can't chop down any trees, so just look for large twigs or thick branches.
Casio Protrek solar powered watch: You'll need to rely on this so you know how much time you have to work with to gather your supplies. You'll need to get a fire going before the sun goes down because it can get cold fast.
Shoe string: This will be the friction that will get your fire started. You can take it right off your shoe.
A Rock: A rock will act as a tool to help you dig, cut and stabilize your spindle. 

There are several ways you can get a fire started without matches, but you only need to know one way to survive. Read on to learn how you're going to do it:

Building a safe place for the fire
The first thing you need to do is pick a safe location so you don't burn the forest down. Trails.com explained that you'll want to avoid over grown brush or low hanging branches. Once you've found a clear area, remove all flammable vegetation and dig a shallow hole in the ground. If you can, line that with rocks to help contain the fire to your pit. Next it's time to set up the fire-building materials.

First, find the flattest piece of wood you can and lay it in the middle of the pit. Do your best to carve a notch in the middle of the board - this will be part of the friction you need to get the fire started. Put some of the dried pine needles in the notch as these will help the fire catch, Esquire magazine said. Find a branch that's strong, but relatively flexible, and fashion it into a bow with your shoestring. Now you're ready to get things burning.

The bow drill method
Place a sturdy branch in the notch on the flat board, this will act as your spindle, explained Off the Grid. Loop the shoe string around the spindle so you can use the spindle with one hand - you'll need the other to push the rock on top of the branch for pressure to get the right amount of frictional heat. Once you're set up, start pulling the bow in a back and forth motion. As you get the hang of it, go as fast as you can, pretty soon you should start to produce smoke and embers. When you see this, you can build your fire by blowing on it and adding the kindling. It shouldn't take long before you have a real fire going. Use the rest of your wood to form a teepee around the flame - the small branches should be at the bottom and your logs should make the main frame of the teepee. After that, the rest of survival is up to you. Good luck!

Stay safe and warm by having the right gear and knowledge to navigate your way around Mother Nature. Bringing essential gear, like the Pro Trek PRW3500Y-4 will give you one touch access to altitude, barometric pressure, and digital compass all at your fingertips so you can easily be prepared for a night in the wilderness.