Malaysian Fire Pistons: Api Lantak
Here is a novel fire starting method that you most likely haven't heard of. All indigenous people have ingenious ways of creating fire. Some critical thinker came along and discovered a way to create fire, then they taught it to their family and friends, and then it was passed along in time to future generations. They took a novel idea and made it a routine way to create fire. The only way this can happen is if the idea is a time saving creating invention, is practical, can be replicated, and is taught. Then wise ones can transmit the information on and on through Time.
The Malaysian people discovered a fundamental process in physics known as adiabatic compression.
As pressure is generated, molecules are compressed and heat is created by the friction of this molecular activity. When those molecules impact against a combustible substance, then a coal is formed. Other cultures (either from trade or cultural drift) learned how to do it in other Southern Asian regions like the Philippines, India, Burma, etc.
[Note: Adiabatic heating result in Chinook winds in nature, and adiabatic cooling results in those pretty lenticular clouds that look like UFOs.]
Now in a way, this method is superior to flint (or chert or any other rock that will cause sparking in steel) and steel. It protects the coal in it's chamber from wind and quickly ignites, versus the transfer of a metal flake as a spark to a bit of punk wood to ignite into a coal.
[Note: most people in history didn't use charcloth as cloth was expensive and difficult to weave. They used punk woods like tulip popular that would easily ignite and for a coal. Wealthy people used charcloth.]
However, the process was facilitated in Southern Asia since bamboo is prevalent as a naturally occurring species there. Still they can be constructed from a few inexpensive items, and then placed in your kit to start a fire as long as you have some punk wood to use for coal forming and can find wood to use as fuel.
The issue with steel is that you need steel. You can't make it easily. Using a steel rod will eventually wear. Some people use their knives and honestly that's not good for the tool, is it? Most people can source a rock to spark some steel if they've been trained.
Anyway, the point is have alternatives for fire-starting, and this is a very good alternative. Many of us come from Western nations, and so because of familiarity and tradition, we hold Western ideas in high regard. In all honesty, our ideas really come from world-wide sources like the Middle East, Africa, Asia, as well as Europe and North and South America. The ideas slowly were learned by merchants and soldiers as they passed through those regions.
Consider making one like this:
Here's one being used: