Things Guys Should Know, Vol. 2: How to start a fire without matches

Things Guys Should Know logoMaybe you’re lost in the woods and need warmth, fast. Perhaps you’re camping and someone (cough cough, Aaron!, cough cough) forgot the matches. Or could be you’re a contestant on Survivor looking to prove your worth to your tribe.

No matter the reason, knowing how to start a fire without matches is an essential guy skill.

So important, in fact, that it’s the subject of Vol. 2 of my Things Guys Should Know series.

There are three ways to start a fire without matches: flint and steel, magnifying lens, or friction.

Mastering one — or, better yet, all three — is more than a party trick. It could save your life.

Read on to learn how.

Learn from Boys’ Life

Look no further than Boys’ Life, the official magazine of the BSA, for your guide to creating a flame sans matches.

The December 2010 issue covered this Wilderness Survival merit badge skill in a four-page spread and accompanying video.

Rather than rediscovering fire, I’ll let Boys’ Life explain the process.

Click each image to enlarge, and feel free to share these pages with other guys you know. Starting a fire without matches takes practice, but it’s a skill every guy needs to know.

Boys-Life-How-to-Make-a-Fire-1

Boys-Life-How-to-Make-a-Fire-2

Watch the video

About this series

Things Guys Should Know is an ongoing series about those essential life skills every guy should have in his arsenal.

Cool thing is, everything in the series is a skill a guy learns in Scouting. Maybe he picks it up while spending time outdoors with his troop, team or crew. Or maybe he learned it while earning a merit badge or reading the Boy Scout Handbook or Boys’ Life magazine. Either way, Scouting helped him learn this skill that helps him become better Prepared. For Life.

See all of the Things Guys Should Know here. And leave a comment if you think of a skill guys should know (and learn in Scouting) that I should cover in a future edition.


Hat tip: That awesome Things Guys Should Know illustration is by Kevin Hurley.

About Bryan Wendell 2893 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.