Fire By Compression Using The Fire Piston

The Fire Piston As An Instant Fire Starter

Compact, Light & Easy To Use

Being able to make a fire is an essential requirement in a survival situation.

Fire is nature's TV, gives you warm, wards off animals and insects, gives you a means to cook and sterilise your water for drinking as well as being a great physiological booster.

Without a means to make a fire will hamper any chances of survival that you have in a disaster situation and is one of the top five survival skills you must learn and practice.

fire piston beach camp fire

The art of making fire has been with us for centuries, with different methods and ways to create fire being found from around the world.

"In this article I want to look at making fire by friction using modern techniques and equipment" 

It is believed that the predecessor of the modern fire piston came out of the jungle.

When the tribesmen used to hollow out pieces of bamboo they found that sometimes, during the hollowing process they had to force the hollowing tool into the bamboo and in doing so created an internal seal.

By pressing harder and faster they created compression at the bottom of the bamboo, and. where there were small shavings of the dry bamboo they found a hot ember - ideal for starting a fire.

 I have found this old YouTube video (above), that shows an old bamboo fire piston being prepared and used to make an ember. There's a lot of fiddling about to make it work.
In fact people still make wooden fire starters for sale but they lack the accuracy and reliability of an aircraft grade, precision machined, modern, metal fire starter. 

The secret of making a hot ember for fire is good compression

Using the old bamboo methods as a guideline, but using the modern manufacturing methods to produce a far more consistent piston and barrel - which are the essential components to give maximum compression, the results are a very good fire starting tool for us preppers and survival practitioners alike.

Trying to produce an ember for fire lighting can be a difficult task at the best of times, even under good, dry conditions.

But trying to create an ember in wet conditions can be pretty much impossible.!

Now that's the beauty of this bit of kit I am reviewing in this article - it's a self contained fire making powerhouse and will produce a good ember to create a fire in any conditions: dry, wet or windy you will always be able to have a means to start your fire.

The Fire Piston I have been using is from Bushcraft Tools and is a very neat bit of kit.

Here's the spec:

  • Barrel/Piston Length - 117mm x 22mm
  • Aircraft Grade Alloy Body
  • Pecision Machined Bore And Screw Threads
  • Carrying Pouch 150mm x 40mm
  • Total Carry weight - 80 grams
  • Includes - Char Cloth / Lube / 4 x 'O' Rings
  • Includes - 64mm x 5mm Diameter Ferro Rod
  • Cotton Carry pouch

This method of 'Fire By Compression' gives you a good ember every time.

fire piston

The photo above show the Fire Piston with Built-In Firesteel - PYRO PISTON (Silver edition) *also available in a green edition, click for more info and latest prices.

Here's my test, review and personal technique
for getting the best results from your fire starter

So, as you can see in my video, I was easily able to create a small ember that will burn happily for quite a while. No matches, sparks or effort was required.
With a glowing ember carefully placed into your prepared birds-nest, its an easy case of gently blowing onto the ember to create your flame ready to add to your kindling.

fire piston
fire piston

Pro's & Con's


  • Compact, light & very well made
  • Tinder & Lube included
  • spare O rings included
  • Backup fire steel included
  • Packs away easily in carry pouch
  • Price - good value for money


  • Can take a little practice to master
  • You must keep everything clean & dirt free
Steve Hart UK Prepper

A very easy tool to master that will create a good ember for your fire - comes ready to use, straight from the box and a good investment into you survival gear.

five star rating

Highly Recommended

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    • Chris on July 24, 2016 at 8:24 am
    • Reply

    A friend who has been into prepping for a while was trying to make one I shared this with him – hope its of use to him, Im over 60 an am dabbling with prepping as I see the state of things going downhill rapidly, dont know if Id last long but Id give it a try.

    1. Hi Chris,
      Never too old to start.
      Not only that prepping is a great ‘hobby’…..

      Good to have you on board..

    • greg on March 26, 2016 at 11:52 am
    • Reply

    interested in starting to learn about prepping I am over 18

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