How to Light a Fire With Just One Match

Even the most experienced outdoorsman will struggle to light a fire in some harsh conditions, which means that even those who know their way around the wilderness may find themselves without enough fuel. That’s where matches come into play – lighters are always handy but they require more fluid and burn out quickly, while matches are not as dependent on oxygen so can last longer than lighter fluid. With this knowledge we’ve put together our tips for how to get started lighting your own fires with just one match…

The “how to start a fire without matches” is a great survival skill that can be used in many different situations. It’s easy to learn, and it’s one of the best skills you can learn.

Illustration of lighting fire with one match stick.

You’re trapped in the woods on a frigid day that’s only going to become colder as the sun sets and the sky darkens. You’ll freeze if you don’t warm yourself, so you grab some wood fast and carelessly and attempt to fire it. The wood, on the other hand, isn’t catching. As you get more panicked, you blow through your matches faster and faster, but each one is extinguished before it can kindle a flame.

After a while, you’re down to only one match. What will you do with your one and only chance? You regain control of your thoughts and hands, restart, and proceed to construct a methodical, flawless fire setup that will ignite with only one match. 

1: Gather a large amount of tinder—approximately two large handfuls.

2: Gather an armload of different lengths and thicknesses of kindling. Make 6′′ chunks out of the kindling.

3: Make a teepee fire by laying a large bundle of tinder on the ground and leaning little pieces over it.

4: Crouch or kneel upwind of the fire to block the wind.

5: Light the match near to the tinder and wrap your hands over the flame to protect it.

6: If feasible, ignite the fire in three or four distinct locations. This increases your chances of getting at least one slot.

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Ted Slampyak created the artwork.



The “how to start a fire with only wood” is a process that can be done by anyone. It just requires one match and some dry tinder.

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