Survival Skills: 10 Steps to Light a One-Match Fire

Looking for a way to test your fire-building skills? How about lighting a one-match fire? This feat is even more impressive in wet conditions, windy weather, and in other scenarios that increase the difficulty level. If you want to make sure you can pass this fire-starting test with flying colors, be sure to use the following guidelines.

1. Pay attention to detail. One-match fires work best when you're certain that each part of the operation is as flawless as possible. Everything from striking the match to building your fire lay should be executed smoothly and flawlessly.

2. Build a cone-shape fire lay. A foot-tall cone of small twigs, kindling, and tinder will be your best bet for a one-match fire. Avoid low-lying or flat fire lays.

3. Go overboard on tinder. The center of your fire lay should be loaded with dry, dead, fluffy plant tinder. You truly can never have too much tinder.

4. Burn dead conifer twigs. Pines, firs, spruces, and most other trees that bear needles have sticky sap in their wood, which is very flammable. A good ball of tinder and some dead evergreen twigs should get your fire going from one match, even in damp conditions.

5. Don't be afraid to use a fire helper in cold or wet weather. Fire starter cubes, fire packets, fire paste, or some drier lint from home could be a life saver when the weather turns wet and cold.

6. Have backup fuel in place. This can be extra tinder, some wood shavings, Vaseline-soaked cotton balls, or anything else that can save an ailing fire.

7. Light it close. Strike your match very near to the fire lay, so that it doesn't have to travel very far to the fuel. You should be kneeling or sitting right next to your fire lay when the match is struck.

8. Protect the match from the wind. Many one-match fires fail before the match even gets close to the fire lay. Use your body and hands to shield the infant flame of your match stick from an oncoming breeze.

9. Light the fire low. Since fire likes to climb as heat rises, make sure you have your match at the base of the fire lay.

10. Start burning from the upwind side. This allows the breeze to push the heat and flames through your fire lay.

How do you build your one-match fires? Please share your secrets in the comments.