How to Light a Campfire Without a Match
No matches? No problem. Using some items you may already have at your campsite, like a soda can and some chocolate, you can get a fire going. Just be sure you’ve got a sunny day and some patience. Check out this can-do trick from howstuffworks.com.
What you’ll need:
- Empty soda can
- One bar plain chocolate
- Tinder (a handful)
- Small cloth or rag
- Watch or timer
How it Works
According to Wildwoodsurvival.com, the bottom of a soda can is a good surface for reflecting and concentrating the sun’s light and energy. But since the finish is slightly dull, the can needs to be polished first so it’s shiny enough to reflect the sun’s rays. That’s where the chocolate comes in. Pure, plain chocolate is ideal, and a regular-sized bar is plenty. Also, be sure you’re in a designated fire area before attempting.
1. Rub some room temperature chocolate on the bottom of the soda can using the wrapper or some cloth. (This will polish the can.) Add a bit more chocolate to the bottom of the can and continue to rub for about 30 minutes.
2. Wipe off the bottom of the can with the rag. The surface should be shiny and reflective with an almost mirror-like finish.
3. Angle the can toward the sun and place the tinder on a fire-safe surface about an inch away from the center of the can. This will create a concentrated hot spot where the light converges and your tinder should start to smolder. This can happen within seconds in bright sun, but could take longer depending on brightness.
4. Once smoldering, blow on the tinder until it ignites and transfer to your fire pit.
NOTE: It’s important to dispose of the chocolate right away and not eat it, as it will contain toxic aluminum.
Originally published September 2014.