How To Start A Fire With A Water Bottle

You probably have been told that learning “how to start a fire” from scratch is one of the most important things for survival.  If your stranded out in the wilderness, or deserted island without a lighter or matches; not knowing how to produce a fire can mean the difference between life & death.  We need fire to keep warm, cook food, sterilize tools, keep dangerous animals away, repel insects, dry wet cloths, light torches, etc.

If you’ve seen that movie cast away with Tom Hanks, you might remember the scene of him producing a fire, and how important it was for his survival.

However, producing a friction fire by rubbing sticks together is not as easy as you may think. And if you don’t gather the right wood from trees, or fibers/tinder to get the flame going, then starting a fire becomes near impossible.

But thanks to our friend Grant Thompson, there’s another method to starting a fire that’s much simpler.  And it involves only having the following materials: a water bottle, and a few pieces of paper.

This video shows you how to start a fire with a water bottle. Also get step-by-step image instructions below:

Water Bottle Fire ObjectsStep #1 – Objects You Will Need

* Water Bottle:

Make sure it’s filled with liquid(water preferably).  The size of the bottle really doesn’t matter, but make sure the top-portion of the bottle is smooth & rounded.  Also make sure the bottle is clear plastic.  Colored bottles will work, but they are more difficult to magnify the heat.

* 3 Sheets of Paper:

Computer paper works best.  Make sure that the paper has black ink, or other dark colors in it.  The darker the surface, the better it will absorb heat.  It doesn’t have to be a big surface area, so big black letters or black pictures will do.  If you only have white paper, just rub a section of the paper into the darkest dirt you can find.

Step 2 - Prepare The PaperStep #2 – Prepare Sheets of Paper

Fold the piece of paper with the black ink on it 3 times, and make sure that their is a big enough black surface exposed where will will be focusing the heat.  This will serve as your platform, and the piece that we will focus the suns heat on.  Set this piece aside for now.

Prepare the other 2 sheets of paper by cutting or ripping them in half.  You should now have 4 pieces total.  Now fold each one of those pieces in half so it’s creased down the middle.



focus-the-sunlight-with-convex-edgeStep #3 – Focus Sunlight On Paper

First make sure that the label is removed from the bottle and is still filled with water.

Now use the convex edge of the water bottle; which is shown on the top portion of the left image.  This convex edge serves as an alternative magnifying glass which refracts the sunlight.

Now focus the bottle onto the black portion of the paper.  First start by holding the bottle close to the paper, and slowly back it away.  Also shift  the bottle around to find the precise point where the majority of sunlight is concentrated.

It should only be but a few seconds before that area starts smoking.  Keep the light focused on that are until a hole begins to burn, and grows to the size of a quarter…

producing flameStep #4 – Producing The Flame

Once you got the smoldering hole the size of a quarter, then insert this sheet into the crease part of one of the previously torn layers of paper.  And Hold it loosely at the corner.  Tight enough that the embers are in contact, but loose enough to allow air to flow freely through.

When the embers have burned a hole through the top sheet, then add another one of the previously torn layers, thus repeating the same process until you have added all of the pieces of paper.  By the 4th sheet, you should have a lot of smoke emanating from the bundle of sheets.

At this point, you can either blow vigorously into the embers, or you can swing it back-and-forth gently until a flame is ignited.  You now have fire!


WARNING: Use of all content displayed on the page is at your own risk.  So proceed with caution and responsibility.

This is an excellent DIY survival tip!  And a lot of fun to learn.  You can even use a water-filled sandwich bag instead of a water bottle.  Use this technique to impress your family or friends at the next barbecue or outdoor adventure.

And although this may look and sound easy, it does take some practice to make perfect.  So don’t wait till your in an dire situation to implement it.  Start practicing right away.

If you liked this article, then check out the one we wrote on one of our premier products: the solar powered oven.  And learn the power and potential the sun has for cooking our food off-the-grid, even in the winter.  In addition, also learn other ‘amazing ways’ you can utilize the sun for free to power the electricity in your home with zero-down solar.

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Filed under: DIY Emergency and Survival Tips, Techniques & Tactics

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