How to start a fire with a coke can.

The following prepping advice is an example of the kind of wilderness survival tips which will be taught at the ShieldWall Network summer campout coming up on June 23rd:

Wilderness has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I credit my dad with a lot of what I learned and I feel privileged to pass much of this knowledge on to you.

I have to tell you, fire starting is one skill that is beyond valuable to you and your family whether you are caught in a survival situation or you are simply out camping. Things can happen out in the wilderness: matches get wet, lighters get lost…

Most people in our great country tend to enjoy a can of pop (or soda, or coke, depending on where you are) frequently, so I figured I’d share with you how you can start a fire using a soda can.

This method is based on the reflective qualities of aluminum. More specifically, it relies on you using the aluminum can to direct the sunlight onto your tinder, so you will need:

  • The sun
  • An aluminum can
  • Some way to polish the can (we’ll get to that)
  • Some dry tinder
  • A little time and patience

Once you have your materials, here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Clean the coke can and dry it.
  2. Polish the bottom of the can until it shines and reflects like a mirror.
    • You can use fine steel wool to polish the can.
    • Or you can use chocolate. If you are using chocolate, be sure to complete several applications. Rub the chocolate all over the bottom of the can, polish with a rag or paper and wipe off.

    The goal is to make the concave part of the can really shiny.

  3. Experiment with positioning the can in a way that it reflects the sun well. After you find a good angle that allows you to see a spot on the ground that receives the reflection of the concentrated light, move to step 4.
  4. Throw together some good primary tinder. You can use really dry grass or leaves or (if you follow my advice and carry them with you), Vaseline-dipped cotton balls. Place the tinder in the spot that you found in step 3.
  5. Position the can in such a way that the reflected sunlight concentrates on your tinder. Wait and watch as your tinder begins to smoke and, consequently, burn.
  6. When the flame gets strong enough to spread to the rest of your tinder and sustain itself, add some larger tinder (bigger sticks) to build a better fire.

It’s a good idea to take different fire starting supplies when you go camping and store them in different backpacks. Have each member of your family carry a lighter, storm proof matches and other fire starter of choice in their own bag. Be sure you do this for your EDC bags and bug out bags and have a bunch of different fire starting supplies in your prepper pile. You just never know what you’ll need in an emergency…

To your survival,
Richard Marshall

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