Bare bones soldering comes in handy when you're stuck on a desert island and you need to make a repair to your headphones so you can watch the sun go down while being serenaded by your most recent whale songs cd. It's also a cool trick to pull off next time your decide to be MacGuyver for Halloween.
I took some pieces of wire and stripped them with my teeth - the best method for doing this I have found is use my molars. I just grab the insulation with my teeth, try to sever the insulation a bit, and then pull on the wire. It's easiest to do with braided wires, and it certainly takes a little practice to apply the right tension so you don't just rip the wire apart entirely. But once you get the hang of it it's actually a pretty functional method. (WARNING: I do not encourage stripping wire your teeth at all, and it will probably lead to expensive dentistry work if you do it enough.)
Once I had the wires stripped and twisted together I got a lighter and a bit of solder and went to work heating up the wires I wanted to join. It took the lighter about as long to heat up the wires as it did when I used the iron. I then fed a little solder into the joint, continued heating the wire to smooth things out, and then turned off the flame.
It worked just as well as it would have had I used an iron. Of course it's harder, if not impossible ,to use this method on circuit boards, but it sure does the job on wire. I have heard that using matches also works well when soldering wires.
Here is some video of bare-bones soldering with a lighter.