If you’ve seen our video on the fire kit, you already know it’s crucial to carry redundant sources of ignition.

Always Carry:

  • a lighter
  • a Ferro rod
  • some type of solar, like a magnifying lens
  • storm proof matches
  • a flint and steel kit
  • a high carbon steel knife that’s capable of throwing a spark as an emergency ignition source


What if you’re in an emergency situation and don’t have these things? My motto is “be prepared…and be prepared to find yourself completely unprepared”. Learn the modern stuff, learn techniques, but then back that up with a primitive skill that’s considered more “off the landscape”.

Some may ask, why not just use a lighter? Well I always have a lighter in my pocket, that’s not the point. I might not know how long I’m going to be out. Maybe this is a bug out scenario, I only have access to one lighter, and I’m not going to be able to get another one.

This is a simple but critical skill that’s well worth the effort and time. Reliance on self and nature is better than reliance on gear. So let’s isolate this skill, and learn how to build a bow drill, which is the primary backup to all modern ignition sources.

The bow gives you a mechanical advantage, and it takes less effort than a hand drill, or a bamboo fire saw. With a bow drill, you can more easily overcome dampness and moisture because of physical advantage. A hand drill alone requires more strength and technique to get just a small ember. You may have read or heard that building this is difficult, or that it takes hours of effort. This is not the case. It only takes a few minutes if you know what you’re doing and have proper instruction.

Building a Bow Drill may involve some time in the dirt, but then you will have acquired this new skill. Like riding a bike, once you get all of the moving parts working at the same time, it’s easy.

Leave a comment