In this video I look at three more methods of getting your first fire going if you’re stuck in the jungle without a lighter.

Once you get that first fire made, your options for further fire starting are much greater and both percussion fire starting and carrying fire become possibilities.

Many people seem to stop at the bow drill and don’t get round to learning the hand drill.  This is a shame as the hand drill is a very satisfying way to start a fire and, as long as you get suitable materials, is not as hard as some would have you believe.

Getting the right set-up for the hand drill is critical but a lot of the technique can only be learned through individual trial and error.  It’s a bit like cooking – even though they might have the same recipe and ingredients, a beginner won’t get the same results as a trained chef….

The picture on the right shows a hand drill set (hearth board + drill) that can produce between 5-10 embers – it’s not much bigger or heavier than a cigarette, so it is something that can be easily carried with you.  And, unlike the bow drill, there is no need for strong cordage to make a bow string.

If you are interested in learning more about the hand drill, there are plenty of resources on the internet that explain/show more advanced techniques (e.g. floating) and types of woods that can be used.  In the UK there are also one-day courses in bushcraft where you can quickly learn this technique.

There isn’t the same available knowledge on suitable bushcraft techniques for the jungle as there is for, say, North America or Europe.  When I first learned the hand drill I had to go out and look for (and test) materials in the jungle that would work – there was no handy guide to refer to.  Sometimes this can be a bit frustrating, however it is also fun to be able to discover things for yourself, particularly in a world where there doesn’t seem to be much left that hasn’t already been discovered and documented by someone else.

This is generally true of the rain forest – there is still much left to be learned and discovered – but it is a race to see whether this can be done before our moronic, rabbit-paced population growth means that there is no space left for any trees or wilderness…. just mega-cities, farms and far, far too many of us.

Anyway, I would be very interested to hear from you if you know of other materials that work for the hand drill (and that can easily be found in the jungle).  I know someone managed with bamboo on rattan, but I haven’t been able to get this to work with the bamboo species here.