Unusual Fire Starters

We have another guest post! This time we will learn about using unusual things as a fire starter from Aaron Sven at Ninja Ready.

Emergency Preparedness: Unusual Household Fire Starters

How many times have you packed for a camping trip and grabbed household essentials? Anybody leaving home to spend some quality time in the wilderness fills a bag with batteries for flashlights, bottles of water and snacks for hiking trails, and steel wool to clean pots used over campfires. All of those household products can be used as unusual fire starters that may save lives.
Fire Starter Triangle
Anatomy of a Lifesaving Fire

In order to use many of the following survival fire starters, we need to have an understanding of what makes a lasting fire. Building gradual heat is the answer. Anyone can bring together fuel, air, and a heat source to start a fire, but steadily moving from kindling to twigs to sticks to branches creates a vigorous fire to warm, dry, or feed you or your family and friends in a crisis.

Classic Fire Starters

Many classic fire starting techniques work by using friction. Rubbing sticks together and striking a smooth flint are examples, and those materials are all around us in nature, but both approaches require skills many of us in the world outside of Boy Scout troops haven’t learned. Rest assured, though! Easier ways to start fires are all around our homes.
Magnifying Fire Starter
Magnifying Technique

The easiest way to start a fire is with a magnifying object such as a magnifying glass, the water in a water bottle, or the polished edge of a soda can. Survival Life lists many inventive ways to ignite a fire, and the first video on the website teaches you how to catch sunlight in the rounded neck of a water bottle to create a beam of heat strong enough to ignite a sheet of paper used as kindling to start your fire. The technique also works with urine (and a simple plastic bag) for those of us with empty bottles. Survival Life teaches other techniques including polishing the bottom of a soda can with chocolate (from your snack bag) to create a reflective surface and refracting light through the lenses of reading glasses.
Battery Fire Starter
Battery Technique

Batteries, always filling a pouch of my hiking backpack, hold energy that powers flashlights, radios, or portable televisions, but tapping the tip of a large battery like a 9V on stretched steel wool brings fire. Survival Life’s video tutorial shows how a little effort can create hot embers. No 9V battery? Other batteries can spark fires. Gum and AA batteries work well together. This video tutorial explains how to fold and cut aluminum gum wrappers for maximum heat to use as unusual fire starters. Watch it below:


Dortitos Fire Starter
Doritos Fire Starter Technique

For my camping trips, a bag of Doritos is essential, but I didn’t realize the corn tortilla chips are extremely flammable. Nick Uhas, in his video explanation, claims Doritos get their flaming potential from combustible hydrocarbon content. Because Doritos will not spontaneously combust, we need a fire source to access that fiery goodness, but our battery and gum foil or a magnifying glass technique can provide a flame to start a Doritos campfire.

So search the house before your next hunting or camping trip to find some of these practical and unusual fire starting materials. Filling your bag with water bottles, Doritos, gum and extra batteries provides a good foundation for emergency preparedness to fight off the cold or pan fry a fresh fish from a nearby creek.

About the Author

Aaron Sven assists the NinjaReady team source and evaluate emergency preparedness supplies and gear. He’s serious about including Doritos in his survival kits, and will not allow anyone to use it as fire starter.

Thanks again Aaron for your help and great post!

Until then,

Use your instincts to survive