Starting Campfire in the Backcountry

Building, starting campfire, and maintaining campfires is really pretty simple. Although we suggest you use a camping stove whenever you can, you might want to experience fixing camping food in your Dutch oven on an open campfire. Here are some short steps to make it easy.

Gather your wood for starting campfire. You should have some pretty thin twigs and some small sticks that can be used to get a fire going.Then, larger pieces of wood to put on top once your fire is underway. Gather enough larger pieces for the campfire to keep it roaring for the length of time you need. You can use the lower dead branches of trees if the ground is wet.

Starting a campfire requires combustible material

Material for starting campfire.Starting a campfire requires combustible material that easily ignites.A variety of things can be used, such as dry vegetation, leaves, grass, wood chips, bark, and paper products.You can also purchase some fire starters from most of the stores referenced on this site.

Build your campfire site.When you are in the backcountry or elsewhere, you need to build a containment for your campfire. It should be located away from combustible things, and you need to build a wall around the campfire with rocks to help contain it.Just build a double circle of decent size rocks.

Starting the campfire.Place the fire starter or combustible material in the center of your campfire site.Leave enough room for air to circulate in and around the material.

Next, place the small twigs around the combustible material in a V shape.The larger twigs are placed around the small twigs, and the wood logs are placed around the larger twigs.

Just light the campfire starter or combustible material. In a minute or two, the combustible material will catch the small twigs on fire, then the larger twigs.

Within a matter of minutes you will have a roaring campfire.Your V shaped campfire, and red hot coals, will crumble to the ground. Just keep feeding it wood as long as you want or need. Best of all, enjoy the experience.

Starting a Campfire During Rainy Weather

Starting CampfireKenneth Rexroth was a highly experienced camper and mountaineer. In his late teens he worked several summers as a cowboy cook and wrangler as well as at various forestry jobs in the Northwest.Camping in the Western Mountains was written in the late 1930s by Rexroth, and it was originally intended as a WPA publication. He explains starting campfire, specifically during rainy weather.

As a general rule, the heavier the wood (if it is dry), the more slowly it will burn; the harder the wood, the hotter the coals; the softer the wood, if it be without pitch, the cleaner the flame. Woods rich in pitch will give a fat, quick flame and a bright light. Rotten wood, in the damp, deciduous forest of the East, is poor firewood; it burns slowly, if at all, and makes a punky, smoky fire.

Decayed coniferous wood, on the other hand, particularly the firm outer crust of decayed “short-haired” pine logs, makes a fine fire, and the undersides of such logs, if they are clear of the ground, will provide firewood in rainy weather.A small fire, just big enough to do the work required of it, is best. Never build “bonfires” and never build a fire against a tree, log or stump.

If you had an unlimited supply of paper, matches, and time, you could afford to build fires any which way, but since you are not so supplied, it pays to learn how to do it properly.The most difficult fire to build is one in rainy weather.I will describe that and you can simplify the procedure to suit yourself.

Gather an armful of dry branches about as thick, at the butts, as your thumb, from standing timber, another armful of similar branches about two inches to three in diameter and an armful of dry wood chopped from the center or underside of a decayed log.Strip the bark from the branches and split them into four pieces.Take four of the smallest pieces and shave them with your knife, leaving the shavings attached to the stick.

Make a little tent of these towards the front of the fireplace with the curls down.If it is raining, shelter them with your hat.Have the rest of the wood piled within reach.Light the shavings, and as the flame catches, add the smallest sticks first, one at a time, adjusting them to the flame and carefully preserving the structure of the tent.

Don’t put on too much, give the fire just enough to feed it as it grows.As soon as all the small sticks have caught, add the large ones, crossing them carefully to leave spaces between and beneath them for draught.

If you wish to be very precise, you can start the fire in a triangle of medium-sized sticks, each laid with one end on the ground and one end on its neighbor, and add the larger fuel, interlaced in similar fashion, to this base. If you are an inexperienced camper, it is a good idea to build all fires this way, then when you have to you will know how.Take care of your matches, it is practically impossible to strike a hot spark from granite, and a friction-stick fire requires exactly the right wood and lots of experience.

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