With backpacking season upon us, the Survival Skills series on the Backpacker site caught my eye. Their newest skill is how to start a fire in the backcountry with your cellphone battery, some steel wool, and tinder. Simple enough, but worth sharing. You never know when the skill may come in handy for survival … or for solving the next installation of Makeshift. Check out the vid:
Other Survival Skills videos cover surviving a bear attack (hilarious reenactment with a guy in a bear suit), treating broken bones, and putting together a homemade survival kit (that looks pretty darn good). Also check out their tutorials on how to fix your gear.
12 thoughts on “How-To: Start a fire with your cellphone”
Wouldnt conserving your cellphone battery in the backcountry be an equal priority?
As a wilderness first responder and professional mountain guide I can say that it is a pretty safe bet that no actual backpackers carry steelwool and many don’t carry a cell phone. But for this to be a remotely useful tip for real backpackers (as opposed to ones in magazines) they would have to figure out how to do this with stuff we might really have in our packs.
Depending on what type of battery your cell phone uses, this could be quite dangerous. Lithium ion batteries have a nasty habit of violently igniting or exploding when short circuited. While there is a lot less stored energy in a cell phone battery than in a laptop battery, short circuiting lithium ion batteries is generally a bad idea. So, save this one for true emergencies and don’t hold the battery in your hand.
If you have the forethought to bring steel wool, why don’t you just bring three lighters?
Save your cellphone battery for emeergency contact, just take a knife and magnesium fire starter with you. And/or waterproof matches. Be prepared :)
The worst forest fire in Arizona was started by a ‘stranded’ motorist. Search “Rodeo-Chediski Fire” Lasted three weeks and burned nearly half a million acres.
Fires have very limited uses.
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