How to Start a Fire with an Aluminum Can & a Chocolate Bar

If you find yourself out in the cold wilderness without matches or a lighter, you can still start a fire. Or you can impress your friends with this little trick.


Up next in Wilderness Survival Skills (40 videos)

Conquer the wilderness with the survival tips in these Howcast videos. You'll learn how to make fire, build a shelter, boil water with hot stones, make a bow and arrow, avoid poison ivy, purify water, track animals, make a solar still, tan a hide, sharpen a jackknife, avoid a snakebite, tell directions without a compass, and much more.

You Will Need

  • Aluminum can
  • Chocolate bar
  • Towel
  • cloth
  • or paper
  • Tinder
  • Wood


  1. Step 1

    Rub chocolate on the bottom of the can

    Rub the chocolate all over the bottom of the can.

  2. Step 2

    Wipe the chocolate off

    Wipe the chocolate off with a towel, cloth, or paper, rubbing and polishing as you wipe.

  3. Do not eat the chocolate after it's been in contact with the aluminum – the residue may be toxic.

  4. Step 3


    Repeat this process several times until the bottom of the can shines.

  5. The can has been polished enough when it shines and reflects like a mirror.

  6. Step 4

    Angle the can

    Angle the can in direct sunlight. Find a direct ray of sunlight and angle the bottom of the can so that it reflects the sun's rays.

  7. Step 5

    Place your tinder

    Place your tinder – dry leaves, sticks, or paper – in a spot where you want your fire.

  8. Step 6

    Reflect a beam of sunlight

    Reflect the concentrated beam off the can and onto the tinder, similar to how you might with a magnifying glass and a leaf.

  9. Step 7

    Continue to hold the beam

    Hold the beam on the tinder until you see smoke. As soon as the tinder starts to burn, add wood to build your fire around it.

  10. Wildfire severity has increased and fire frequency has decreased during the past 200 years.