Can you start a fire without a match?

5 Sep 2016 12:00 AMAdmin AQYC Can you start a fire without a match?

With a new season of Australian Survivor underway many of us are inspired to learn a few survival skills.
One of the essentials is how to start a fire without a match. Participants in the Apex Camps Bush Skills Activity learn four techniques to use in a variety of situations.

Before learning survival skills such as shelter, signals, food and water, participants first learn to build a fire with the three key ingredients; tinder, fibrous material, and dry wood of various sizes. They then learn how to layer material to build the flames until the fire is hot enough.  Then next and most important step is how to get it started without a match.

There are a number of ways to get a fire started and Apex Camps teaches participants four fire starter tricks.

Flint and steel

Matches can get wet and be become pretty much useless, but you can still get a spark from putting steel to a good piece of flint.

Create a spark over your tinder by gripping the rock and striking the metal against a sharp edge of the rock.  Continue striking several times allowing sparks to fly from the steel.

Aiming towards the tinder will direct the sparks to create a glow.  Once there is a consistent glow, gently blow on your nest of tinder to start a flame.

Magnifying glass

A magnifying glass, eyeglasses, or binocular lenses can all be used to start a fire.  Position the glass over a nest of tinder in order to focus sunlight on a specific spot focussing on the smallest area possible. If you want to intensify the beam add some water to the lens.

Starting a fire with a glass lens is only good when there is sun.  So if its night or raining, you will need to ensure you’re up to scratch on the other three methods.

Battery, steel wool and cotton balls

This survival fire skill is one for the science enthusiasts.  Most campers carry something with a battery, and for this technique to work hopefully some steel wool, foil (like a gum wrapper) or fine wire.  The basic principle is to use the battery charge to run a current through the steel so the wire gets hot enough to light.

Start by connecting the positive and negative ends of the battery making a bridge with the steel.  While holding both ends in contact keep an eye on the middle of the bridge.  The time to create a spark and flame will depend on the strength of the battery and density of the steel

Drive the spark onto your nest of tinder and have your firewood ready.

Potassium and glycerine

This one is more of an urban survival skill rather than a bush skill.  Getting the fire started is very easy.  Add a few drops of glycerine to potassium permanganate and they produce an almost instant exothermic reaction, great for starting a fire.

The hard part is finding the two ingredients in their pure form.  Participants in the Apex Camps Bush Skills Activity learn where the best chances of finding the two chemicals and how to distil them.

The Apex Camps Bush Skills Activity is one of the many fun, hands-on learning programs we offer as part of our unique camp experience.  Campers can choose from a range of adventure activities that help you to meet the learning and development outcomes for your group.

To find out more call Apex Camps on 1300 1 CAMPS or email

Here’s wishing you a fun, engaging, successful event.

Follow us on Instagram @apexcamps