There are many ways to start a fire in an emergency situation. Ferro-rods, fire-drills, steel wool and a battery, flint and steel, all have their advantages and disadvantages. One method that I have never tried is a fire-piston, though I am intrigued by the idea.
A fire piston uses the heat generated by rapidly compressing air to ignite a piece of charcloth which can then be added to a tinder bundle. The downside is that the cylinder in particular must be fashioned ahead of time. If I need to fabricate a firestarting device before I leave the house, and need to bring along charcloth, I might as well bring waterproof matches or a lighter. That said, it isn’t a bulky item to carry in a pack, and if I ever take the time to make one, I will probably include it in a fire kit.
In the video above, survivalist Cody Lundin demonstrates the use of a fire piston. Below the jump find a (very well made) video on how to make your own.