Make a “Matchless” Survival Fire Kit

If you’re in a survival situation and it’s
windy outside, matches can be extremely unreliable, and they certainly won’t light a fire when
they’re wet. So in this project let’s try using a bit of backyard science, to take the
trouble out of lighting your tinder. Because with this special mix, the tinder, lights
itself. Let’s begin this project with the soda cap
container we made in a previous project. They’re lightweight, cheap to make, and amazingly
useful, so look for how to build them in another video. Now our matchless fire starter is about
as simple as mixing two chemicals together. Potassium permanganate, and a bit of glycerin.
These items are sometimes found in survival kits already because of their healing properties
and water treatment abilities. But mix them together, and it opens up a whole new world
of possibilities. This purple product is sold commercially as a rejuvenator for certain
types of water filters, and I found mine in the water treatment section of a pool supply
store. Now it might look like a harmless black sand, but it’s actually a powerful oxidizer.
This stuff can be poisonous and burn your skin, so just make sure you’re well aware
of the risks before you try handling it. Some people have used it for disinfecting water, making antiseptic solutions, providing anti-fungal treatment
for hands and feet, and making emergency signals on snow. Now I loaded up one half of my container
using a spoon and a funnel, and that seemed to work pretty to prevent spills. Now let’s
screw the cap back on nice and tight, so the powder is locked in securely where it should
be kept safe and dry. Alright, now we can add the glycerin to the other side. I found
this bottle at a local super center, but they can be found just as easily at drug, craft,
and baking stores as well. Glycerin is typically used as a moisturizer in creams and lotions,
but it has some really cool uses for first aid and survival situations as well. Some
people have used it to relieve insect bites, sunburns, chemical burns, and some even say it works as a mild mosquito and ant repellant. You may have noticed I color coded the ends
of my container with different caps, and that’s to help identify which chemicals are in which
end. Since the container is made out of bottle caps, it’s completely water resistant, so
everything stays dry, even if the container gets completely submerged in water. Not only
is it waterproof, and incredibly small, but even when it’s fully loaded, the whole thing
weighs a mere 1 oz, or about 29 g. Chances are, that’s small and light enough to be added
to any type of day pack, without making any noticeable difference. Now let’s go on a little
trip to the mountains to see how this reacts when we mix the 2 chemicals together. First
we’ll need to open the black side, because that’s the end with the potassium permanganate.
Now since I was down by the river anyway, I thought this might be a good time to experiment
with disinfecting water. All it takes is a very small pinch of potassium permanganate
crystals in a liter of water to begin the disinfecting process. You can see when the
crystals hit the water, they turn a deep purple. But if we put the lid on and mix it all around,
the water should turn to a nice light pink. The saying is, “as long as it’s pink, it’s
probably ok to drink”. Just make sure it’s not purple, and you should be alright. Ok,
let’s carefully pour the grains on a flat surface, like a rock or piece of wood, and
I’m using about half the container for this demonstration. Now, it’s a good idea to push
a little indentation into the center of the pile, so that when we pour the glycerin on
top, it’ll be held neatly in place, right in the center. These next few seconds feel
like nothing is happening, but make sure you’ve got some dry leaves, twigs, and other lightweight
kindling gathered up, because when this reaction happens, it’s going to happen fast. It can
take anywhere up to a minute to notice anything changing, but if you look closely now, you
should start to see the glycerin soaking down into the powder, and starting to smoke. Make
sure you’ve got your dry leaves ready, because the heat and smoke will continue to build
rapidly, until the the pile spontaneously bursts into flames. Let’s go ahead and gently
set our leaves and sticks overtop, and you should be able to see how quickly the flames
begin to build. Now if you’ve left a little gap at the bottom for air to get in, your
matchless survival fire should continue to build quickly on it’s own, without having
to put in any extra effort. Congratulations, you’ve just started a fire without matches,
and now that you’ve got a healthy flame, why don’t you try making yourself a batch of char-cloth?
This stuff is another must-have for emergency fire starting, and is so sensitive to heat,
you can easily start future fires with your water bottle. So look for the video on how
to make char-cloth, as well. Now whatever you do, don’t ever mix glycerin directly into
the same compartment as the potassium permanganate. I tried screwing the lid back on to seal out
any oxygen, but the potassium permanganate is still a strong enough oxidizer to start
the reaction. And like any air-tight container holding a rapidly expanding gas, it’s eventually
going to blow. So if you want to error on the side of caution and avoid any unnecessary
messes, feel free to store your ingredients in completely separate containers. Well now
you know how to take two very different, but very useful emergency kit items, and mix them
together to get an awesome synergistic benefit. The matchless survival fire. If you liked
this project perhaps you’ll like some of my others. Check them out at