As with most wilderness skills, it is important to hone them until you can confidently use them in less than ideal situations: being able to light a fire in your backyard on a hot day is not the same as being able to light one in the jungle with it’s raining.

Flint & steel is a good example of this; a lot of people learn this skill (using nice sharp flints, with specially made strikers and charcloth to catch the sparks) but never advance their skill much beyond this. These same people, in an emergency situation and without their trusty ‘fire-kit’, would probably give up on the idea of using flint and steel altogether (“No flint, no striker, no charcloth, no tin!…no way!”)

This is a shame as flint & steel fire-lighting can be extremely useful, particularly if you are able to char materials – it’s quick, doesn’t require much physical exertion and you can carry your fire-starting materials with you.

If I was in a survival situation (with only a parang) I would use, say, the bamboo fire saw to light my first fire and then either carry fire or switch to flint & steel for all subsequent fires.

In the video below I show you how to use the flint & steel technique even without your striker… or an ideal flint… or charcloth ( or, for that matter cloth)… or a tin… and how to use it with non-charred materials you can find in the jungle.

If you’re new to flint & steel it is a fun skill to learn and easy to pick-up (compared to friction-fire methods) if you’re using ideal materials.  There are plenty of videos on Youtube that clearly explain the basics so I haven’t gone over the same ground here.