7 Different Types Of Fire Starters

Since the era of the caveman, fire has played a vital role in human life. It helps with cooking, burning, and keeping warm during those chilly nights and freezing winters. However, starting a fire and keeping it burning for hours on end is a challenging feat.

This is especially true in emergencies, such as after a disaster or camping in the wilderness. Fortunately, this is where the focus of our article comes into play—fire starters.

So, whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or a prepper or want to learn more about them, read on. We’re going to look at seven types of fire starters. Let’s get started.

What Are Fire Starters?
As the name suggests, fire starters are devices crafted to help start a fire swiftly and efficiently. While all fire starters aren’t made equal, they share standard features, including combustible materials and an ignition device.

Various Kinds of Fire Starters
Below is a summary of some of the most reliable fire starter options.

  1. Wood Friction Fire Starters
    This is by far the oldest yet functional means of starting a fire. It’s so simple and reliable that it’s still being used today! While there are multiple variations, they all leverage the same principle of physics: FRICTION.

When you rub two objects against each other, friction is produced. This leads to heat generation. As the heat increases, combustion occurs, leading to a fire. Some of the models working under this principle include:
Fire drill
Bow drill
Fire plow
Pump drill
While this option is primitive and requires readily available tools, it does need lots of practice to master the skills.

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  1. Percussion Fire Starters
    It is believed that the first percussion fire starter included bashing two stones to start a fire. Striking flint against iron or steel to create a spark that ignites flint traces its roots decades ago.
    As our ancestors did eons ago, multiple percussion fire starter kits are available today. They operate on the same physics principles as they did back then—the release of thermal energy onto a bundle of tinder.

Ferrocerium and Magnesium are two of the most common percussion fire starters available today. Both function by releasing a blast of hot sparks igniting tinder (or magnesium shavings from a mag rod).

  1. Lighters and Matches
    Your average corner store lighters and matches can quickly help you start a fire. A typical disposable lighter uses a thumbwheel mechanism and butane, making using them a walk in the park.

At the same time, matchsticks are foolproof. They’re convenient and easy to use. When the modern matchstick is struck, a chemical reaction between the red phosphorous and the potassium occurs, resulting in a flame.

That being said, you must ensure you store them properly at all times. This means keeping them in a dry place, as moisture can render them useless. Similarly, for a better user experience, ensure you use them away from strong winds.

  1. Electric Fire Starters
    Did you know that a current from a small battery as low as 9 volts is sufficient to start a fire, provided you understand how? That’s right. Electric fire starters use electricity to start a fire. They use the “wire wound resistor principle.”

It generates heat, which in turn is used to light up tinder (fine steel wool is a good example) that can be used to produce amber, leading to a fire. The process is straightforward. Move the steel wool across the battery terminals.

This may result in an intense enough amber you can use to start a fire. However, like with everything else, please exercise caution. Ensure you store these two items separately. This is to avoid unintended fires. Also, if an accidental fire starts, familiarize yourself with what to do next.
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  1. Chemical Fire Starters
    Combining potassium permanganate and glycerin can result in an exothermic reaction, potentially leading to a fire. You can still substitute glycerin with sugar to create a fire, but please ensure you use the chemicals in minute amounts. Remember, you’ll only need a tiny amber to get a big fire; hence, there’s no need to go all in with colossal chemical volumes.
  2. Piston Fire Starters
    Rapid air compression can generate heat, and fire pistons can be practical. You’ll need a fire piston and combustible material like cotton-based or fine and dry grass as tinder material. Before firing up your piston, ensure it’s clean and the chamber airtight to allow seamless movement through the tube.

Access the piston head’s indentation and place the char cloth inside. Load the piston by inserting it into the cylindrical tube and firmly hold the fire piston in one hand before sharply striking the other end against a hard surface. Carefully examine the piston for ambers and transfer them to the tinder bundle to build a fire.

  1. Flint and Steel Fire Starters
    Flint and steel also utilize friction to start a fire and can be helpful additions to your arsenal. This fire starter is straightforward to use and only requires you to rub the steel against the flint to generate a spark. You can collect this spark by striking the flint and steel on a tinder and gently blowing it to start a fire.
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Bottom Line
There’s every reason to have fire around you since pretty much anything can get you an amber if you don’t have a traditional lighter. These fire starters can be handy in compromising situations that you may find challenging to get out of when camping in the woods or a remote area.

However, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the processes involved in starting fires using different fire starters to avoid struggling.

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