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Stranded without Fire? Here’s a Simple Method to Build a Makeshift Lighter.

Stranded without Fire? Here’s a Simple Method to Build a Makeshift Lighter.

Fire is the basis of modern civilization. In a survival situation, having fire could be the difference between life and death. Fire provides warmth. It makes it possible to boil water, to cook, or even to signal for help. Human beings feel a sense of safety around a fire, and in the wild, fire discourages predatory animals.

Most people have not learned how to start a fire without conventional tools like matches or lighters, but in emergency situations, those things may not be available. Here is a method for creating a makeshift lighter, using only a battery and a gum wrapper.

This video is from the Household Hacker channel on

Begin with a gun wrapper or the lining from a pack of cigarettes. From the end, cut a small sliver about a quarter of an inch wide. Take the sliver and fold it over. Using scissors, cut at a 45 degree angle, creating a triangle. Leave some space at the end so the pieces remain connected.

Now that you’ve made a wrapper, the next step is a battery.  The easiest to use is a AA battery, but AAA, or a C or D battery will also work.

Then, says Household Hacker:

Touch the negative end of the battery to the one end of the wrapper and get that center piece under some kindling. When you are positioned, touch and hold the other end of the wrapper to the positive contact point. A small flame will erupt from the wrapper and if you are quick you can light something else from it, like a candle or some paper.

Have some tinder available. You may need to be creative. Little scraps of paper, cotton, fluff from wool or strips of cloth all work, as do items you might not consider, like deodorant stick, hand sanitizer, snack chips, or petroleum jelly.   In almost any situation, you have more tinder than you may imagine.

Now you need kindling, or fuel to keep the fire going.  If it is available, gather small twigs, bark, or larger sticks. If the only wood you can find is damp, gather it and put it to the side.

Finally, to safeguard your fire, build a fire ring. Using any nonflammable materials such as rocks, bricks, or scrap metal, form a circular barrier to contain the fire. Build it high enough to protect against wind, but keep it wide enough to be sure the fire gets enough oxygen to survive.

Put the kindling in the center of the ring, piling it loosely in a the shape of a tee-pee. Gather as much kindling as possible, as fire consumes it fairly quickly. Ignite the kindling with your newly created lighter.

If the wood you have is damp, array it around the fire circle so the heat can dry it out.  Decide your purpose in advance, whether that is to get warm or to last through the night, and gather enough fuel to meet your need.

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