Knowing how to start a fire without matches or a lighter is an important skill to have. One fun way to start a fire without matches is to use a magnifying glass. Now, in case you didn’t do this to poor little bugs as a kid, don’t worry–you can make up the learning curve pretty fast. It’s not too hard and it’s one fire starting method the kids really enjoy learning as well.
If you want it super easy, just watch the video below:
For those of you who like to read and look at pictures, read on.
What you’ll need:
Magnifying lens of some type. Even plastic ones work.
Tinder like newspaper, napkin, or a bundle of dry grass or vegetation.
Char cloth is optional, but it sure speeds the process up and makes it more reliable
And last but not least, a sunny day
Hold your magnifying lens by the edges so that you can see the light through it hitting the ground below. I had a large round glass lens and a small rectangular fresnel lens I got from a pharmacy. Either type works fine.
Move the glass closer or farther away and tip it to get your point of light as small and round as possible.
Place the small dot of light on your tinder and wait. It may take a while. Just because it is smoking does not mean it will make a flame–be patient and wait to make sure you have a good ember burning in your tinder. Some tinder is harder to catch on fire than others.
Which is why I like to use char cloth for these fires. I’m not a very patient person and actually like to have all the fire starting cheats I can. Char cloth lights far faster and more reliably than other tinder types with a magnifying lens. Even the smaller lenses with less magnification strength can get char cloth lit.
Use the char cloth to light your other tinder and you’re burning in no time.
Lighting a fire without matches is a requirement for LDS Girls Camp. For more requirements check the Girls Camp Requirements category.