The Survivor Fire Challenge

The Survivor Fire Challenge

I have always loved Survivor. Right from Season 1 with Richard Hatch and his naked beach intimidation, I was hooked. Some of the most dramatic scenes are not the naked ones but the one that you should really not do naked is the fire challenge. Come to think of it, other things you should not do naked on Survivor include spear fishing, sleeping, and any challenge that requires a blindfold–but that one is obvious.

The skill you absolutely have to have to stay around for more than one day is lighting a fire with flint and steel. We have had a record summer here and there was a total fire ban so when we had one day that I could attempt this, I was on it. Turns out, I might have been ok to try it any time. I learned a lot of lessons, which is what you are supposed to do when you fail (spoiler alert). Here are my top 5, and you’ll have to watch the video for my final pearly wisdom.

  1. The bigger the steel the bigger the spark. I started with the 2″ flimsy bit they provided with the flint (and the helpful instructions to strike and light). I finished with a chisel–which got me closer to my goal.
  2. You should put something under your knees if you plan to be on them for three hours. aka: The grass is not as soft as it looks.
  3. Reality TV may not be as real as you think folks. I know. Shocker.
  4. Don’t rely on me in a zombie apocalypse to cook your dinner unless you supply the matches.
  5. I like roasted marshmallows more than I like learning lessons.



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  1. Well, I would have taken it back where I bought it from (or mailed it) and enclosed the video. I also not only would have requested my money back, but maybe extra for the “damage” to your person. The band aids weren’t enough because I’m sure your shoulders and arms were killing you after the 3rd hour. Maybe even after the first hour. But at least you didn’t set yourself on fire – always a plus.

    • Setting myself on fire is a real risk. So, whew! I did have repetitive motion injuries and for the three days after I attempted this, it was hard to do laundry, wash dishes, make beds, make dinner. You know, because of the injury (wink).

  2. Awesome except for the blisters.

  3. I was waiting for you to go all Tom Hanks in “Castaway” and dance around screaming “I HAVE CREATED FIRE!” That’s okay, though–as an Eagle Scout I know how it is to struggle to start a fire. Once on a camping trip my troop realized we’d forgotten to bring matches. Yeah, we kinda forgot that whole “Be prepared” thing.
    If you’re ever up for a retry of that challenge try a magnifying glass–unless it’s a cloudy day.
    And, hey, at least you were already familiar with one of Survivor’s secrets–the magic of editing!
    Christopher recently posted…Getting There.My Profile

    • We used a magnifying glass to burn our names into a board once–but Survivor uses flint. Maybe it is a Canadian thing. Survivor doesn’t accept applicants from Canadians, maybe it is because we are going to blow the secret I’m-holidng-a-match cover thing they have going. Now THAT is a conspiracy theory I can get behind.

  4. So my comment to you got lost. I’m sure I was very witty, but can’t remember much of what I wrote (other than getting your money back with interest for the wear and tear of not only your fingers, but your shoulders and arms). The comment will probably show up tomorrow, or on a different blog – that’s how my luck has been running lately.

  5. Man, I WAS counting on you for help in the zombie apocalypse. Geez. Way to dash my hopes:).

    • Trust me, I’d hoped to be so badass that the line would form around me to protect my resourcefulness giving me ample distance from the nearest zombie. Plan B is matches, but that doesn’t have the same street-cred protection factor.

  6. Survivor is one of the three reality shows I watch. The others being The Amazing Race and Big Brother. Even if you didn’t get the fire started with that f’n flint, it takes a lot of dedication to be on your knees for three hours, so I think you get points there.

    I have a survivalist knife that I take with me on overnight backpacking trips. It has a flint in the scabbard that you can supposedly strike with the back of the knife to start a fire. I did it a few times to look at the pretty sparks but that was about it. The rest of the time I cheat with something even easier than matches, although I do carry waterproof ones for back up. You can see evidence of this type of fire making prowess in a post I did a while ago.
    Arionis recently posted…These Doctors Are Jamaican Me Crazy!My Profile

  7. I think your spam filter got me too.

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