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How to start a fire with a rock

by Timothy Martinez Jr.

Every camping trip is a new adventure, whether you’re at a new campsite or simply exploring a different area, so you need to be prepared for absolutely anything while you’re out in the wild.

In terms of survival skills, nothing is more important than the ability to start a fire to create heat or attract attention. You should always have matches or a fire starter’s kit, but if you ever find yourself stranded in the woods, a good skill to know is how to start a fire with rocks. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to make a fire (you will need a knife or file).

  1. Find the right rocks

Despite what you’ve seen on television, you can’t make a fire with just any rocks. You need to find the right rocks that will produce sparks. The best types of ignition rock to find in the wild are chert, flint or quartz. One rule to follow is that a good rock is one that’s a bit chalky and flat on one side. For more on identifying good sparking rocks, take a look at this video.

  1. Knock a sharp edge off the rock

Take another rock or some sort of tool and strike the rock in order to knap an edge (similar to knapping flint). The ideal edge should be flat and very sharp.

  1. Take your knife or other high carbon tool and strike the rock against it

Carefully take the rock and strike it against the edge of the knife to see if it creates sparks. Sometimes, you have to experiment with other rocks, especially if you’re new at it. If you don’t see any sparks after a while, you might have to go find a different rock that will work.

  1. Assemble kindling or tinder

After you’ve found an adequate rock, it’s time to start building the fire. You want to kindle the sparks with dry leaves, grass or wood powder to help keep the fire going.

  1. Start the fire

This might be harder than it sounds, but you get the rock and strike it on the knife over the tinder. You might have to do it quite a bit before the sparks take to the material, but once it does, you have to make sure you keep it alive by giving it some oxygen and transferring it to a better location.

This might be a good thing to practice even when you aren’t in desperate need of a fire because it’s an important skill to have in your arsenal. Remember, stick with it and don’t be afraid to try different methods and rocks.