Primitive Fire Making Techniques- Fire Making Tips for Survival

Learn about survival fire making!

Out of all the survival skills and techniques that you can learn. Probably one of the most important is primitive fire making. Today we are going to discuss some primitive fire making techniques that have withstood the test of time. In addition to some fire making tips that are just not practical and you should not depend on.

Why is learning primitive fire making techniques so important?

  1. First and foremost a fire will give you the warmth you need to survive in cold conditions.
  2. A fire will give you the ability to signal for help.
  3. If you get your clothes wet. A fire will help to dry them out and prevent sickness.
  4. A fire will allow you to cook your food and to boil water to make it safe to drink.
  5. A fire helps to keep wildlife at a distance.

Survival Fire Making Safety Tips

Learn about survival fire making safety.Before you start building your fire there are some survival fire making safety tips that you may want to consider.

  1. Choosing a proper fire site: When choosing where to place your fire site. You want to put it where there is a lot of wood close by. So you don’t have to wonder too far for more in the night. If there is bad weather you also want to put your fire where it can have at least some protection from rain and wind. Building a ring of rocks around your fire pit or digging a hole are great ways to protect your fire from high winds.
  2. Look around and above your fire site: Be sure to look around and above your chosen fire site. Make sure there are no dead trees on the verge of falling or which can cause your fire to spread. Clear the ground of any dry grass, leaves, and twigs. If there is snow clear a space and put a platform of green logs to build the fire on to prevent the fire from sinking in the melted snow and going out.


Choose the Fire Making Techniques that are Practical to a Survival Situation

There are some pretty popular non-practical fire making techniques that work great, but are just not practical. Like for example the flashlight and steel wool trick. Or using the deflector inside the flashlight. Both of which are listed in the video below.

These are both very good fire making techniques, but they require items that are not always available. Such as the sun, batteries with a good charge, and steel wool. If it is a cloudy day and there’s not much sun. You might as well forget about using the deflector in your flashlight or even the magnifying glass method. If you are in a long term survival situation. Your batteries will eventually be dead and you will have the same resulting problem. No fire!

Primitive Fire Making Skills That Work!

First you need to make a tinder bundle. This is simply a bunch of gathered dry leaves and grass bundled together. Once you have this. Set your tinder bundle aside and build your kindling pile on your fire site. A kindling pile is simply small twigs and branches usually built in a tee pee fashion. You want to be sure to start with small twigs and progressively go to larger ones. Be sure to leave an opening where you can place your tinder bundle once you have ignition.

One thing to keep in mind when you are building fires. Some people think the bigger the fire the better, but in a survival situation. It is probably not a good idea. You want to conserve your resources. The bigger the fire you have, the more heat you have. But, if you have too much heat. Your fuel will burn up faster, which requires more work and resources. A small camp fire is less work and it can keep you just as warm and cook just as well. That being said.. Let’s get to it.

The Fire Roll

Knowing how to use what the wilderness provides in primitive fire making is crucial in my opinion. Buying a survival fire making kit will make things a lot easier for you.. sure, but what if you have used up your kit? What if it is a situation where there is no way to buy anymore?.. Rest easy my friend. Observe the environment around you. There are fibrous materials all around you in the wilderness which you can use to make a fire roll. Watch this video below.


A few things that the video didn’t point out. Once your fire roll is tightly rolled and you are ready to start rolling it to create friction. An important thing to keep in mind is that if you don’t see smoke. Keep rolling until you do. Second, once he saw smoke. He began to peel the fire roll apart to find the red hot cherry. This can cause you to lose the hot coal or snuff it out. A much better method. Is once the fire roll starts smoking. Hold the fire roll at each end, than gently push in and pull out. This creates air flow to the ember inside. Keep doing this until the ember burns to the surface and boom.. You have ignition.

Peeled bark and even freshly cut yucca leaves can be used to make a fire roll! Just be sure to press out the moisture. Here is the yucca leaf fire roll technique from start to finish.

The cord drill and the pump drill.

Two very simple fire making techniques are the cord drill and the pump drill. They take a little work to make, but they are very efficient fire making techniques that were used ages ago. In fact, they are tools that are even more efficient than the bow drill, “more on the bow drill in a moment”. Once you master how to properly use them. You will be making fires in just seconds. In the video below. You will first see how to build and properly use a cord drill to build a fire. Than the cord drill will be upgraded to a pump drill. Which is my favorite fire making skill.

You will need the following things to make one:

  • A small branch that is thinner on one side than the other to use as a spindle rod. Make it about the length of your arm from your elbow to your wrist The fatter end will be where the flywheel rests.
  • Peel some bark into thinner long strips and weave the resulting material into a man made length of rope
  • Find a flat round rock with which to make a fly wheel. Pound and grind out the center by using another pointed sharp rock until you break through the other side. Than adjust the diameter of the hole so the fly wheel slides easily over the top of the spindle rod, but doesn’t allow the spindle rod to go all the way through. The flywheel needs to rest on the fatter end of the spindle rod. This helps to give more weight and tork to the spindle rod.
  • This will give you everything you need to make a fire making cord drill. If you want to upgrade to a pump fire making drill. Simply find another piece of wood. Drill a hole in the center with a diameter wide enough to allow the spindle rod to spin freely. Then you just tie the ends of the rope to each end of your fashioned pump handle.
  • The next step is to have a flat piece of dry bark to us as a tray to catch the hot coals as they fall from your fire board.
  • Next you will need to split a piece of wood into a flat board to use as your fire board. This is where you will get the hot coals from. Bore a hole the diameter of your spindle rod close to the edge of the fire board, but don’t go too deep. You just want a small hole so that the drill can rest inside and not slide everywhere when you are drilling.
  • Now you want to use your drill to burn the hole a bit into your fire board. Then, using a knife, cut a small v shaped notch on the edge of your hole so the coals can fall onto your dry piece of bark lying underneath.
  • Once your drill produces a good amount of coals. Transfer them to your tinder bundle. Do some huffing and puffing and presto. You have fire.


The bow drill

The bow drill is a prehistoric friction fire making technique that requires a bit more work on your part to get the friction needed to get a coal, but is well worth the effort. Here is a list of what you need:

  • The fire board and coal tray mentioned in the previous method.
  • A bow shaped piece of wood. The more bow shaped the better, but you want it to be reasonably flexible and not brittle.
  • Some man made rope, also in the previous method.
  • A branch for your spindle rod
  • Finally a block of wood with a small hole that fits the diameter of your spindle rod. You will use this as a spindle socket to hold the top of the spindle rod for control.


Well there you have it folks. Primitive fire making techniques that will keep you warm, dry, fed, and protected in hard times. Keep practicing these skills and stay sharp. You never know when you may need them. Until next time. Stay safe :-)!

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