The weirdest ways to start a fire in an emergency

Every camping beginner knows that you should pack fire starting materials together with your other survival gear, if you didn’t know that, well you do now!

There’s a few of us here at Outdoor Revival HQ that are a little, umm, fire mad, we just love making fire, cooking over fire, staying warm by the fire and sleeping by the fire, it is fair to say that fire is life and having the necessary materials to light one when there’s an emergency can be life-saving and even if there’s not an emergency having a fire is a huge moral boost and also allows you to purify water and cook food.

Even if you pack the best fire starting kit, there may be a disaster where you lose your survival kit and be left with no matches or lighter. Fortunately, there are many ways to start a fire without the usual fire starters such as lighters or matches.


Don’t panic you will be safe and warm with these few tricks. Here are some of the oddest ways to start a fire. Remember though that even with these helpful tips you still need well prepared tinder and fuel for your fire.


Chewing gum wrapper and a battery

What you need for this experiment are some foil gum wrapper and a AA battery. Cut the foil paper so that the middle is four times thinner than the ends. Touch the foil ends with each end of the battery. The narrow part of the foil will catch fire soon which will help you start a bigger fire.


gum wrapper and a battery
gum wrapper and a battery

Steel wool and battery 


This method is similar to the previous one. Use a steel wool to touch the positive and negative terminals of the battery and the steel wool will light. I find this much easier with a 9v square battery, you can just push it into the steel wool and away you go.

Pencil and a car battery


Carve down two ends of a pencil and connect them to the both ends of your jumper cables. Attach the other ends of the cables to the car battery. After a while, the pencil ends will develop a hit that will convert into a fire and lit the tinder.

The croc clips need to be connected to the graphite lead middle of your pencil so you can carve the side off of the pencil or attach the clips to the ends as in the video.

A condom filled with water 

No, it’s not a joke! Fill a condom with water until it’s the size of a small water balloon. Hold it in the sun and as the sun passes through the water move it back and forward until you get a narrow sunbeam that you can focus on your tinder. This works just like a magnifying glass.


Urine and a plastic bag

In a situation of no condoms and water, this is a good replacement. All you need to do is to fill a plastic bag with your urine and have enough sun. Just get the bag into a strong sunbeam and the tinder will catch fire after a while.


plastic bag with water and dark paper
plastic bag with water and dark paper

Chocolate and a soda can 

Rub some chocolate on the bottom of a soda can and polish it with a cloth. This reflective surface will help you to redirect a beam of sunlight at a dry grass or tender sticks. Then, add bigger woods to make a fire.

A flashlight

One more creative way to start a fire. Remove the lens, take out the reflective cone and fill it with dry grass. Place it in a spot where there is a lot of sunlight. The dry grass will catch a fire very soon.

These are some of the oddest ways to start a fire while being in a survival situation and not having a lighter. Creativity is one of the crucial things for an emergency situation. Remember that there is always a way to find your way to the safety and all you need is to be open-minded and imaginative. The solution is always closer than you think. Just look with your eyes wide open and you’ll find it.


stef-zisovska is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival