Notice: This website may or may not use or set cookies used by Google Ad-sense or other third party companies. If you do not wish to have cookies downloaded to your computer, please disable cookie use in your browser. Thank You.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Fire Starting With Magnesium Stick

Knowing how to start a fire without the use of matches or lighters is a very important basic survival skill that everyone should learn to master.  Fire is a very important necessity in our everyday life. Imagine if you still had to eat your steak raw like our early ancestors did.

Not everyone carries matches or lighters, especially those who do not smoke. And for those who do carry these items, they may only last a short while.  Matches can become wet and lighters will soon run out of fluid.

Having an alternative fire starting tool will allow you to get one step closer to making it through a wilderness survival situation alive. Alternative fire making tools are small and fit in a pocket just a well as a lighter will.

There are many types of survival fire starting tools. In this segment, as you will see in the above video, I will demonstrate how to use the 'Magnesium Fire Starter stick'. The one I used in the video is made by Coghlans and can be purchased in Walmart, as well as in sporting good stores.

The object to using this fire starting technique is to focus a spark onto a pile of magnesium that is shaved off the side of the stick. For this a small pocket knife, which you should always have on you, will get the job done.

To prepare to start a fire using this method, first gather enough dry grass or leaves or both, to make a medium side bird nest shaped bundle.  Crush and rub the grasses between your hands until it has a powdery or fluffy texture.  Form the bundle into a bird nest shape. In the center of the bird nest place a dry leave or small piece of cloth or something that will hold a small pile of magnesium shavings.

Make sure you are in the location where you want your fire and it is out of the wind.  Shave off enough magnesium to cover a quarter. If the material is really dry and fluffy, you can use the size of a nickle allowing you to save on your fire stick.

Make a small pile of starter kindling next to where the fire will be made. These twigs should be the size of a pencil or smaller.  Next to kindling pile should be another pile of larger wood, about the size of broom handles or baseball bats. Your next pile will be the other larger stuff you plan to burn.  If you have damp wood, set it close to the fire while its burning so that it can dry out.

Set the birds nest in the center of your fire pit. On the side of the magnesium fire stick is a striker that follows the length of the fire stick.  Point the striker into the center of the magnesium pile.  Using your knife blade, scrape the striker from top to bottom- this will produce small sparks if you are applying enough pressure and speed.  It does not take much pressure to make the sparks, so be careful not to over do it and don't cut yourself.

After a few tries you can judge your aim causing a spark to hit the magnesium pile.  The magnesium will burn fast and hot. Once you get a flame going, cup the bundle and blow gently in the center until the bundle is burning strong.  Place the bundle back to the center of the fire pit and slowly add the small starter kindling.

Once the kindling is burning strong, start adding the larger stuff and soon you will have life sustaining fire. Remember to add the wood a little a time so that you don't starve the fire of oxygen before it gets started.

This method is very easy to use and can be mastered in less than 20 minutes, but if you don't practice it, you will not learn it.  Try starting your barbecue grill (the charcoal type) the next time using this method, instead of matches. Makes for some kind of practice anyway.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!



  1. cazador1022@yahoo.comOctober 26, 2010 at 7:29 PM

    Looks like El Paso, kind of where I go hike in St Theresa.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I don't even consider starting my camping adventures without a firestarter rod in my gear. No thanks! Lighters usually get empty when you need the the most, the matches get wet and useless... On the other hand, a firestarter rod will never give up on you! You can check out some of the best models (I have actually tried using a few of them and didn't find any downsides) in this great article: