How To Start a Fire With Your EDC Knife

How To Start a Fire With Your EDC Knife

Posted by EKnives on Jan 25th 2024

You know that your EDC can save the day when an errant tree branch is trying to scratch your car or the rope you tied last fall was too tight to untie. But did you know you also carry a fire starter in your pocket? Keep reading to find out how to start a fire with your knife. It can make camping a breeze, but it could also save your life.

Before you begin, you will need to make sure you have the correct tools. Any knife with a sharp blade will work, but we recommend a Microtech Combat Troodon (or any Microtech gear, honestly). You will also need tinder, kindling, and firewood.


Don’t worry. There’s no swiping or awkward pickup lines involved in this step.

The first thing that will ignite from your spark will be your highly combustible tinder, also called fuel. This is easy to ignite and will burn quickly. The purpose of tinder is to help the spark catch onto something right away, which will help accelerate the spark into a flame. You have a few different choices for fire fuel:

  • Magnesium: A magnesium block coupled with your EDC is a perfect fire-starting pair. To use a magnesium block, you will use your EDC knife to shave off some of the magnesium.
  • Lint: Instead of tossing the lint from your clothes dryer, you can collect it for low-cost fuel for your fires.
  • Cotton Balls and Vaseline: Another economical option is to create your own tinder with cotton balls soaked in Vaseline. You can keep a stash of this in your survival kit. And if you run out of Vaseline? In a pinch, hand sanitizer will also get the job done quickly. If you don’t have an accelerant, don’t sweat it. The cotton balls themselves will be able to work.
  • Char Cloth: This handy fabric swatch is highly combustible and has a low ignition temperature, making it an ideal tinder. Char cloth is the main component of a tinderbox.
  • Natural Materials: If you forgot to pack some fire fuel, you aren’t out of luck. You can use natural materials from all around you as tinder. Dead, dry grass or leaves, wood shavings, pine needles, and tree bark are all natural options for tinder. The catch with natural fuel is to make sure it is very thin and completely dry. If it isn’t dry, you’re going to waste a lot of time and a lot of your blade trying to get an impossible fire to start.


Once you’ve ignited the tinder, your fire can spread to some larger (but still small) flammable pieces. You would call this kindling. The kindling will burn longer than the tinder, but it takes more time to ignite, so a spark isn’t always enough. The kindling bridges the gap between the tinder and the actual firewood.

Kindling is usually composed of natural materials such as twigs, tree bark, grass, and any type of wood that is thinner than your thumb. As with the tinder, kindling must be dry to be effective.


Once the flame on your kindling is going strong, you can begin introducing larger pieces of wood. These will keep your fire going longer than kindling could on its own. These are commonly logs you would chop into more manageable pieces.

The Spark

So, where does your knife come into play?

You can use your knife to prepare the materials. The kindling may need to be cut or whittled down, and you might need to chop the firewood.

You will also need to use your knife to generate the most crucial part of the fire: the spark. Raking your knife on a magnesium block can help it create friction and cause a spark. Another option is to keep a ferro rod with you. A ferro rod will create a spark when you strike it with a hard material (such as your EDC).

If you find yourself in a pickle without a magnesium block or ferro rod, you can try using a rock or stone. Creating a spark with your knife will be more difficult but not impossible. Brush the knife sharply against the rock as if you are shaving it into the tinder.

Once a spark has been generated and has caught onto the tinder, it should ignite the kindling and, eventually, the firewood. At that point, you can sit back, listen to the crackling of the flame, poke at it occasionally with a long stick, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Be Cautious

You don’t want Smokey Bear to be disappointed in you. Remember to exercise caution when you are burning a fire. Use a designated and cleared-out area for your fire pit. Be sure to extinguish the fire completely before you leave, or call it a night. Don’t leave extra kindling and tinder where sparks could reach them.

As always, you will also want to exercise knife safety while shaving or cutting things in preparation for your fire. Happy camping!