Lighting a campfire is a vital skill for anyone who wants to head out into the great outdoors. It can be used as a source of light, warmth, protection, as well as for preparing food.
Next time you find yourself building a campfire, don’t just toss logs in a stack and hope it burns. There are different ways to efficiently build campfires. The method you choose will depend on what you will use it for. Here are the five basic campfire building methods and their uses.
Materials: Top Tip!
Prepare, relax and enjoy…
Collect your materials in these three stages, have everything ready by your fire location. Keep it all neat and tidy and you won’t go wrong!
Stage 1: Hair thickness
This is your tinder, and the thinner this material the better. Collect a really good handful.
Stage 2: Pencil thickness
This is put carefully onto your burning tinder, and you’ll need two good handfuls of this.
Stage 3: Finger thickness
This goes onto your burning Stage 2. Ensure you have a good flow of air through your fire.
This style of fire is the best place to start if you’re a beginner, as it’s simple yet effective. It is recommended to learn this method first prior to attempting the other methods. These fires are great for cooking because they burn steadily for a short amount of time.
To make a teepee, grab a good handful the smallest and driest pieces of kindling you can find, then make a small, teepee-like structure with them. Make sure the structure isn’t too tight; you’ll need to leave an opening for the next step: putting some tinder, like twigs and grasses, inside the center of the structure. Finally, light the tinder. You want to give the fire a place to concentrate its flame while still allowing a good amount of air to come in. Once the campfire gets going, you can try putting in more wood to make the fire slowly build.
When it’s windy, or even rainy, going for the lean-to method is more efficient, as it uses its own wood as a windbreak.
To make a lean-to, place one big log down as the windbreaker, then, lean smaller firewood on it perpendicularly. You then have to build a mini teepee under the lean-to. This will protect the campfire from rain or wind.
The star fire is the best option when there is a shortage of wood.
To make a star, create a small teepee with dry sticks and kindling, then lay out four to six logs around it, each with one end barely touching the teepee and the other facing out. You should create a sort of wood asterisk. Then light the teepee and adjust the logs as it burns to ensure that every log is slowly consumed by flame.
If you’re looking for a fire with a sustained burn that requires minimal effort but enough to provide all the warmth and comfort, the log cabin is the way to go.
To make a log cabin, place two large, sturdy logs horizontally as your base, then place two logs on top of them vertically to create a three-dimensional hashtag. Then, work your way up with smaller logs and leave space in between them. Finally, add tinder or even a small teepee structure at the base, then light your fire.
The platform is an effective campfire lay for cooking. This fire is also called the “upside down fire” because your largest logs are used as the base and the small pieces of wood that make a teepee go at the top. To make a platform, set two or three of the largest logs down horizontally and then place smaller logs vertically on top. You should continue putting smaller logs on top until you can put a small teepee of kindling on top of it. You can then proceed to light the fire and you should let it burn until the wood coals are glowing.
These fire building methods are all useful for different purposes. Learning these methods will help you build the style appropriate for your unique needs on a given night. If you follow the simple guidelines you will be able to enjoy your fire safely during your trip.
Fire By Friction
Look out for our upcoming Blog on other methods of lighting your fire…
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