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Camping Tip: How to Properly Build a Fire

4/23/2018
Camping Tip: How to Properly Build a Fire

Camping will never be camping without building a fire. Even if you own one of our awesome camping trailers, you will still need to build a fire for the evening affairs. In the bush, building a fire is one of the most valuable skills that you can have. Aside from cooking, you can use fire great atmosphere and ambience. Most importantly, the kids will love roasting marshmallows! For this article, we will share how to systematically start a fire and the easiest way to build a fire in less than 15 minutes.

Before Starting a Fire

Before anything else, you have to take note that starting a fire in a camp site or in any place can be potentially dangerous. You don’t want to wake up and see things burning around you. Check with your local Rural Fire Service or Country Fire Authority to ensure the conditions are right to start an open fire, it is also a good idea to ensure if you plan to camp in a National Park or State Forrest you adhere to the strict rules for fire conditions. Many National Parks & State Forrest’s have designated fire pits and do not allow fires outside of these areas.

Before setting up anything, consider the following safety precautions:

  • Ask permission first if you can build a fire pit in a camping site.
  • Find a place where there is no grass, trees, and other flammable materials near the fire pit.
  • Make sure that there are no hanging branches above the area where you want build a fire.
  • Dig 10 to 15 cm down in the space where you want to create your fire pit.
  • Put small rocks around your fire pit so the fire won’t spread out from the pit.
  • If you’re not using the fire pit anymore, extinguish the fire and don’t leave it there unattended.

Building a Fire: Simplified

First off, you have to understand that fire is created through heat, fuel, and oxygen. When building a fire, you have to make sure that these elements perfectly complement each other. Building a fire is a process that involves all the elements mentioned and the absence of any element means you will struggle starting your own fire. In order to keep these combustion components together, you have to start a small fire first and from that, you will create a momentum to grow a bigger fire.

Before burning large pieces of firewood, you have to start first with tinder. Tinder is anything that can easily burn even with just a spark (your heat). It can be a dry grass, paper, and small twigs. Arrange the tinder in a way that oxygen can pass through it so your fire won’t be extinguished easily (remember the elements of combustion? Yes, you’re fire needs oxygen). A good way to arrange your tinder is to copy how a teepee is setup.

From the tinder, you can start adding the bigger “fuel” for your fire. It’s called kindling. The idea is to grow the source of fuel of your small fire without blocking the airflow of your fire set up. As you grow the fire, you can now add you bigger pieces of firewood that will sustain your fire for hours.

You can also watch this video on how to properly set it up https://youtu.be/nHuu6aInr1w

Heat and Tinder

Now that you fully understand how to systematically build a fire, the next question is how to create the initial spark, the heat, which you need to burn the tinder. You can use the following to create the initial spark:

  • Waterproof matches
  • Waterproof lighter
  • Rod fire starters

There are also other tinder that you can use aside from the materials mentioned in the first section of this article. You can use the following materials to create the initial fire that you want to build:

  • Sawdust
  • Left-over candles
  • A cotton soaked in petroleum jelly

Building a fire requires a systematic approach. You cannot just put every flammable material in a fire pit and hope that it would burn without properly setting things up. Patience is important. Aside from patience, you should always take into consideration the safety of everyone around you before starting a fire. Camping should be fun and safe.

Do you have a personal trick that you want to share? Let us know in the comment section below!

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