Gum Wrapper Fire Method

Recently a Survivaltek visitor contacted me regarding a fire method that uses a gum wrapper and one AA battery. I asked for more details so that I could try it out for myself and validate it (and add to my successful firecraft methods list!). I had previously achieved a fire using two AA batteries in series using a thin strand of foil removed from a gum wrapper which when connected to the batteries became a hot filament that ignited cotton tinder. I was skeptical that this method only required a single battery and created a flame from the foil covered paper wrapper.

I followed the information that I was given but without success. The following week I viewed the television program “Dual Survival” where Joe used the same method using a “D” sized battery which initially failed. The hot point in the middle of the foil strip burned out and separated into two pieces. However, Joe created sparks by touching the severed ends and was able to generate a flame. There was some comfort in that achievement but I still wanted to use only a single AA battery and a single piece of foil.

Today there is a wealth of survival skill techniques and information on the Web, especially in the Social Media and after viewing a number of sites I was able to find an excellent video by GreenHHO on YouTube that was strait forward and easy to replicate, enabling me to successfully create a flame with just the wrapper strip and a single AA battery. Thus, I wanted to provide written instructions for my readers.

Items that you will need: foil gum wrapper , fresh AA battery, and a pair of scissors.

1) Take a foil gum wrapper and cut a 1/4″ wide strip lengthwise.
2) Fold the strip mid-length in half on the foil side.
3) At a 45 degree angle cut 2/3s of the width off the fold leaving 1/3 uncut that connects the 2 halves.
4) Pinch about 1/4″ at the middle while separating the 2 halves out to form a straight line.
5) Fold 1/4″ at each end in the opposite direction of the middle fold.

The folded piece of foil should resemble the “bracket” symbol.

6) Place tinder above the mid-point to capture the flame that is created when you place the AA battery between the 2 ends and touch each terminal simultaneously.

This is a marvel of sorts but it has practical applications in emergency situations, so take time to practice this fire method as it could save the day in the future.

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9 thoughts on “Gum Wrapper Fire Method

  1. Huh???? Word problems where never my strongpoint and I venture to say not a lot of people could not also replicate the directions to get to a “bracket” symbol with a 1/4 inch here and a 45 degree angle there, not to forget the folding and pinching, etc. Perhaps illustrations, at least, of the final product would have helped.

  2. I can appreciate your point… I wrote the instructions to compliment the video like in the text. View the link and see if the words match the visual…

  3. Agreed … initially the instructions sound harder than it is, but the following text, along with the video clears it up perfectly. Great post!!

    The folded piece of foil should resemble the “bracket” symbol.

    6) Place tinder above the mid-point to capture the flame that is created when you place the AA battery between the 2 ends and touch each terminal simultaneously.

  4. I can attest that this IS viable. It is a very common method used widely in tobacco-free prisons, where inmates are not allowed to have matches or lighters. They aren’t allowed to have tobacco, either, but like everything else, it gets smuggled in. Since they can’t have lighters, but ARE allowed small radios or alarm clocks, using the AA battery is the preferred method of lighting up…

  5. I’ve seen this technique on several survival websites and it bothers me that there is no safety disclaimer. What you’re doing is short circuiting the battery and no surprise, things get hot. Including the internals to the battery you’re holding in your hand. Shorted batteries have been known to explode. The battery is essentially a potential firecracker. I would use this only as a last ditch survival tool when there was no other way of making fire in a freezing situation. Think about it… do you want to blow your fingers off in a survival situation?

  6. Thankyou. I now have a new appreciation for the good old battery, Over the past four years I have had a bit of a pet pev with them, especially during the Christchurch earthquakes that are still going, so now I know I don’t have to use them for my devices but can use them when my gas runs out. Very useful Post:)

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