Make a Coke and Candy Fire

Make a Coke and Candy Fire

A Mountain Dew and Hershey's chocolate bar on a wood plank background. 

It is true that a simple chocolate bar can help you build a fire.

If you think about it, “fire” is a powerful word. Yell it into a crowd and you could find yourself in serious trouble. Get stranded in the wilderness without it and you will experience a different kind of trouble. Fire is critical if you are hiking or camping. We rely on it for heat, light, cooking, purifying water, and sometimes, for the protection it can offer.

It can be extremely difficult to make a fire or downright child’s play depending upon what you have on hand and the situation. Making a fire is pretty much a science project if you think about it because a fire, any fire, needs the same four basic ingredients in order to start:

  • Spark
  • Tinder
  • Fuel
  • Oxygen

Making a fire using matches and dried tinder is really nothing to write home about. However making a fire without matches is kind of cool and almost MacGyver-like in some cases. One such method is the Coke and a chocolate bar method.

A man rubbing a chocolate bar on the bottom of a soda can on a green mottled background.


Rub or smear the chocolate on the bottom of the can to create a polished mirror-like finish.

I should probably offer a disclaimer here because my first reaction was, “If I am in a survival situation and have a Coke and a chocolate bar I am certainly not going to sacrifice these treats to start a fire.” That was the chocoholic side of my brain talking. Truth is, if you are in a desperate situation you will do just about anything to start a fire, even if it means gnawing off your big toe. So, now that I have your taste buds’ attention, here is how to build a fire using the Coke can and chocolate bar method.

Any type of soda can will work so Pepsi drinkers need not worry. It is the aluminum can we are using, not the contents (an aluminum beer can will also work).

The bottom of a soda can and some tinder starting to burn in the sunlight.


It may take a little time, depending upon the sunlight and how well you polished the can, but patience pays off when you see a tiny puff of smoke.

The amount of sunlight and how polished the can determines how long this takes. Be sure to gather plenty of tinder, kindling and sticks to help turn the smoldering tinder into flames.

You just need three ingredients and a little sunlight.

  1. Open your canned beverage and enjoy the contents.
  2. Take a good sized bite out of your chocolate bar and savor the flavor as you imagine warming yourself next to a toasty fire, because you will not be able to eat it afterward.
  3. Flip the can upside down, take the chocolate bar, and gently but firmly begin to rub the bottom of the can with the bar of chocolate. If it melts it is okay. The chocolate acts like a burnishing solvent to help polish the dull metal can into a shiny reflective device. If you do not have a chocolate bar, you can use other types of abrasives such as toothpaste or cleanser. The wrapper of the chocolate bar works well for rubbing in the chocolate. Scrub the bottom of the can with the chocolate or other abrasive.
  4. Rinse and repeat until you have turned the dull finish into a shiny polished finish.
  5. Hold the polished bottom of the can at an angle to reflect the sunlight (think magnifying glass).
  6. Hold the polished can about one inch away from some dried fire tinder until you have smoke.

NOTE: It is vital to remember you should NEVER eat the chocolate bar or toothpaste AFTER you have using it to polish the bottom of the can as it contains TOXIC levels of aluminum and is NOT safe for consumption.

Have you ever made a “coke and candy” fire? Share your fire making tips in the comment section.

Lisa Metheny is a published award-winning outdoor writer, photographer, speaker and outdoor skills instructor. Lisa holds several instructor certifications and conducts a number of women-focused outdoor seminars on topics such as archery and hunting throughout the year. She regularly teaches hunters education and archery classes and has become an advocate for promoting traditional outdoor recreation to families across the United States. Lisa is also an avid and accomplished hunter with many big game species to her credit. She is a member of POMA and former Board of Directors member as well as a member of the NRA, RMEF, MDF and DU.

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