Discover How To Use The Power of Authority Marketing To Make You Money While You Adventure!

No Experience, Existing Product Or Technical Skills Are Required


We're an affiliate.
We hope you love the products/services we recommend on Just Van Life! So you know, there is the possibility we will collect a commission should you make a purchase via any of our links. This will in no way affect the purchase price. Thank you for your support, we really appreciate it!

4 Ways to make fire without supplies

Camping is one of the best ways to get closer to nature. You’re most likely to visit several national or historical parks, forest lands, or wilderness lands. It also makes you realize how little you can live with just a tent, mattress, and campervan. It is an excellent chance for everyone to unplug and live far away from their screens. Do you know food tastes better when prepared outdoors? Cooking over in a Deluxe Cabin Kitchen or over a campsite grill or campfire makes the dishes mouthwatering. Camping also helps you develop new skills and provides you with adequate time to pursue your talent. 

However, living on the road in winters can be extremely harsh and chilly for you. Nevertheless, making a fire can keep you warm all through the night. Unfortunately, you are on the road with no supplies to make a fire since you never predict winter coming as early as this. There is no need to panic or any cause for alarm. Van life travelers or campers can prepare a fire in different ways without matches, lighter, or other items. Even if you have never been a part of a boy’s scout, you will find no challenges putting up a fire while camping. In this post, we will review how to make a fire without supplies. 

1 The Hand Drill

Aside from being the most popular method of making fire, it is also the most primitive. Likewise, it is the most primal of all the means of creating a fire on the road. You need a flat, half-inch thick piece of dry, dead, and softwood. Another required material is a spindle made of softwood of about 18 to 24 inches long. Van lifers need to sharpen the spindle slightly on the ends. Since it is one of the problematic methods of making a fire, campers require some gritty determination alongside tireless hands. 

The first step you need to take is to make a burn-in hole with a knife or any other sharp object. Then, you create a small indentation using the knife as well. Make sure the small indentation you are making fit the spindle. Having done that, you will need to carve a V-shaped notch in the fireboard. With the groove, you can quickly get rid of hot dust and coal that is formed in the fireboard. 

For safety, it is essential to build a tinder nest. The tinder nest helps to catch a spark or fame and burn hot enough to ignite larger kindling pieces. You can create the tinder nest from materials that catch fire quickly, such as bark, leaves, or dry grass. Since you have your notch already made, all you need is to have the bark or dry grass underneath it. The bark makes it fast and straightforward to catch an ember from the friction that occurs between the fireboard and spindle. 

The next step is to start spinning. But you need to have your spindle placed on the fireboard. While you do this, make sure you maintain pressure on the board by rolling the spindle between your hands. You can quickly accelerate the speed of the rolling to get immediate results. Until an ember is formed on the fireboard, you need to keep rolling the spindle between your hands. If, after several attempts, you still couldn’t get and remember, make sure to check the fireboard for the problem. 

The appearance of an ember means that you can start a fire! But since you don’t have matches or a lighter, this can’t be as easy as you think. To start a fire, all you need to do is to drop the ember into the piece of bark by tapping the fireboard. After, you move the bark to the nest of timber. You can then blow on it to start the fire. 

2 Using batteries and Steel Wool

A campfire can also be prepared using batteries as well as steel wool. All you need is to have a 9-volt battery or two AA batteries and steel wool. Then, you carve out a tinder next from any dry plant material that can quickly catch fire. Bark, small sticks, leaves as well as dry grass can also attract fire daily. From the start you made with steel wool and battery, you can create a flame using the tinder nest. 

Getting a 9-volt battery or two AA batteries should come with no challenges. You can quickly check for the used batteries of your flashlight or sound system. Having gotten one, you should locate the battery terminals. For van life travelers who have no idea of what battery terminals are, these are the circular receiving prongs situated on the battery. Even though any battery voltage can quickly help you make fire, the 9-volt batteries will ignite the fastest.

Immediately you locate the terminals, take your steel wool and rub it on the surface of the battery terminals. Make sure the steel wool is smoothly rubbed on the terminal to ignite quickly. The rubbing should continue for an extended period to create friction. Fire is made through this process by making a current through the tiny steel wires that then heat up and ignite. 

If you find the earlier process a bit complicated, another method is to create friction between the terminal batteries and a met paperclip. Rub the paperclip on both battery terminals simultaneously to create sparks. When you eventually make a flame from the friction, blow it gently until it starts to glow. By blowing gently on the steel wool, the fire can quickly spread to other areas of the steel wool. Once the steel is shining brightly, move the steel wool to the tinder best. Nevertheless, don’t stop to blow lightly on the best till the tinder embers, thereby creating a flame. 

Immediately the tinder best has ignited into a flame, make sure you add robust pieces of dry wood to reinforce the fire and make it last for long. 

3 Flint and Steel

Like the hand drill, flint and steel are also one of the old methods of making a fire. It is one of the easiest lighter-free ways of starting a fire. This is why it is essential to have useful steel and flint with you while on A road trip adventure. Since the pieces are relatively inexpensive, they won’t add up to your van life expenses if you buy them. Flint and steel kit work well in emergency periods, especially when your matches get wet and become pretty much useless to make fire. You can quickly make fire with flint and steel as well as a tinder kit with char cloth. Char cloth not only catches a spark speedily but also keeps it smoldering without bursting into flames. 

If there is no char cloth around you to use, you can easily opt-in for a piece of birch or fungus. These materials catch a spark in a twinkle of an eye. However, they don’t ignite as fast as a char cloth. Van life travelers can improvise with quartzite and the steel blade of your pocket knife if you are on the trip with a flint and steel set. 

To make an ember with a flint and steel kit, you will need a piece of rock. The rock should be placed between your forefinger and thumb. Van life travelers need to make the rock’s edge hand about 3 inches out. Also, you need to hold the char cloth as well as the flint between your thumbs.

To complete this step, lay a small bit of char cloth flat against the flint. Then, you strike the metal striker with the flint. The process will create a spark immediately if the metal striker is hit at the right angle of the rock. Sparks from the steel will fly off and land on the char cloth, thereby, creating a tiny orange glow.  With the little orange glow, you can make a large campfire. The little glow should be a move to the tinder nest and wrapped gently into it. When you have both the tinder nest and char cloth glow together, you then begin to blow them.

After blowing for some time, the tinder nest would smoke and immediately create a flame. To reinforce the flame, you can feed the flame with kindling such as twigs, pine straw, or dried grass. Having achieved a stable flame, you can quickly light your logs on the fire. 

4 Using a Bow Drill

Like other methods of making a fire, creating a tinder nest is the first step to start fire with a bow drill. The tinder nest can be made with any dry plant materials around the campsite. With the tinder nest ready, the next thing is to search for a heavy piece of wood or stone to use as a socket. With the socket, you can easily create pressure on the spindle. You will also need a lengthy as well as a flexible piece of wood to serve as the handle of the bow. Getting a piece of wood about the length of your arm and with a slight curve in it makes the work easier and fast. 

Van lifers need any abrasive and robust material that can endure a lot of friction. The material is used to create the string of the bow. A strip of rawhide, paracord, a thin rope, or a shoelace can be a perfect material to make the string. Like the way a bow is made, the string should be tied as tight as possible to each end of the bow handle. Meanwhile, you need a bow wood with natural notches in it. If the bow wood you are using has no notches, you can create straight notches into the wood to act as a groove for the string. 

You will need a fireboard to act as the base of your hand drill. The fire board can be quickly constructed from a piece of wood. Aside from the fireboard, you also need to carve a small V-shaped notch into the center with any sharp object or knife around you. Having made the V-shaped notch, lay your tinder nest underneath it so that you can easily create flames. Next, loop the bowstring around your spindle stick one time. It is rather advisable to have the spindle in the middle of the bowstring. Placing the spindle in the middle means you can enjoy enough space to move the string forth and back.

To reduce friction in the socket, cut one end of the spindle into a point. However, you don’t need to cut the rod off if the char cloth starts on this end. While you stack the socket on one end of the spindle, place the other end of the spindle in the V-shaped notch in the fireboard. You need to hold a socket with your other hand to keep it in place. The next thing is to create heat at the base of the fireboard. To do this, you need to start moving the bow as fast as possible back and forth and, at the same time, holding the curved wooden part tightly in your hand. You should continue to move the bow back and forth till you make a spark at the point where there is a connection between the spindle and the fireboard. The quickest way to create an ember during this process is to have the tinder nest very close to the fireboard. 

The ember made from the friction needs to be brought together and moved onto a piece of scrap wood. You then drop the scrap wood into the tinder nest. While you increasingly add larger pieces of dry wood to the tinder nest, continue to blow on it. The fire spread to other parts of the wood with continuous blowing. 


You don’t have to start looking for matches, a lighter, or any other supplies to create fire while you are on the road in chilly weather. The four tips above are not only easy to understand but also comprehensive to act on. With these methods, you can always create a campfire anytime the need arises at any part of the campground.                                      


Discover How To Use The Power of Authority Marketing To Make You Money While You Adventure!

No Experience, Existing Product Or Technical Skills Are Required


1 thought on “How to start a fire without supplies”

  1. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say great blog!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Scroll to Top