Fire with SOL Fire Lite and Wheel Sparkers. No packed tinder.

Woods Walker

The Wood is cut, The Bacon is cooked, Now it’s tim
Jun 8, 2008
New England woods.
Starting a fire with the SOL Fire lite or other spark wheels with no packed tinder can be a challenge in the woods. These spark wheel devices are popular for good reason. They're small so easily fit into little fire kits. They're added to other gear items for extra fire starting options. Most of all (for me) they can be DIY from a dead lighter. SOL Fire Lite on left DIY Zombie Bic on right.


But there is a down side. A ferro rod fire is a right of passage for many outdoors people. The first ferro rod fire using natural materials gathered in the woods is the next step. Why is this a right of passage? Because it's not easy for the uninitiated. There is no shame in this and I have failed at ferro rod fires myself. Any method of firecraft without practice can be problematic. Anyone who has not failed at firecraft probably hasn't done it. This difficultly is compounded by the marginal spark from the little ferro rod the wheel striker makes contact with. Look at the spark from an empty Bic and that is it.

This is a GO!

First a run down on using the Tinder Quik supplied with a SOL Fire Lite so we will have a base line. From a Little fire kit which has multiple way to start a fire and tinder.


The tinder was cut in half as unless it is very wet don't need more. Action shot from the video though not sure if cutting tinder qualifies as action. Really I am just looking for a reason to inject a knife into the mix. Just fluff the end up and flick the wheel. One handed fire starting is yet another reason why people pack spark wheels.



Time to move up the food chain or is that food web? Either way maybe you did pack tinder even if yea think otherwise. A first aid kit is a pyromaniac's dream as they often contain both tinder and accelerants. This time going with plastic Q-tips and Vaseline. I am doubling up on the Hydrocarbons because I like success and hate failure.



Just fluff up the Q-tip going easy on the PJ then one flick is often all that's required. For the video I opted for three Q-tips taped together with a Peanuts Band-Aid without PJ.

Action shots.



Yes! It's raining fire. Adding raining fire to my list of reasons to love hydrocarbons.


So many options within a first aid kit but what to do if yea don't have anything? I know of multiple ways to do the job but ultimately limited to what is available within a reasonable distance. Flash over tinder would be really nice but is that worth a 10 mile jog when I got this punky wood 1/2 mile away?


The local natural hydrocarbons are on the way so took no additional time or effort. Lots of Yellow Birch near the river.


I take only the outer fluffy bark which is harmless to the tree. Like cutting your finger nails.


Ordinarily my preference is to use punkwood as a coal or coal extender but can just skip that step here. By flicking the wheel of either an empty Bic or SOL Fire Lite it is possible to get direct flames from punkwood though some practice is required. You must get the correct level of decay, dryness and proper method but this isn't rocket science. I am just sparking some rotting wood after all.

Action shots.




Look at those hydrocarbons burn. BIG power.


So it is very very possible to get fire from a spark wheel using natural tinder. That said my advice is to pack multiple means of starting a fire combined with tinder. More options are never a bad thing. Here is a video.

Thanks for looking.


Staff member
Dec 23, 2008
Penn's Woods
As always, good video and a kick in the arse to practice more... :) Thanks! I like the spark wheels as a one-hand optioin in case of injury, and have a few.