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How to Build a Campfire

Building a campfire is an essential skill for an outdoors lifestyle.

Whether you’re in the middle of the woods or making smores with the family, building a proper campfire can be a daunting task. With some wood and a little bit of knowledge, it’s not really that hard and can be a big help for many different tasks. Here’s how to do it in a few easy steps.

Start with a fire pit

To start building a fire, you are going to need some sort of way to contain it. Whether it be a big bucket, stones, or even a fancy structure. This is so that you don’t ignite the surrounding area including your house. Also, an uncontained fire is a problem especially in dry environments such as California wooded areas.

If you can’t get a proper area to hold a fire, make sure to keep a fireproof blanket or a fire extinguisher near in case of an emergency. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Getting the wood

Choosing your wood is definitely one of the most critical parts of your campfire. You want to get relatively decent sized chunks of wood for your endeavors. Hickory, White Birch, or Oak are some of the best woods to burn. Cedar lacks in flame but excels in heat, making it great for a winter campfire. Try avoiding softer woods like Spruce or Willow because density is proportionate to burn time.

Storing your wood is also an important step because it won’t burn after a rainstorm. You can put in in a storage shed or even set it outside in a stack with a large tarp to keep moisture and other unwanted debris away from your wood.

Setting up the pyre

The most common way to set up wood is in a cone fashion. This is done by inserting a support stick into the ground and leaning the chunks against it over a pile of small combustible material, or kindling, such as wood shavings, leaves, newspaper, etc. As long as they don’t fall over and have a plethora of airflow, you should be all set.

It is imperative to have extra materials around nearby like kindling to keep the fire going as long as you need it. It would be unfortunate to set up a campfire and invite all your friends and family just to have it go out and be unprepared.

Lighting the masterpiece

So you’ve built your pyre and are ready to set it ablaze. You can use a lighter or toss a lit match in the kindling. Whatever you do avoid using things like gasoline or other accelerants that are not designed for this task. You can severely injure yourself or someone else by igniting a flame with gasoline. Surprisingly, cheese puffs are a decent firestarter after you have a flame going.

Remember to never leave the fire unattended, as you never know what may happen when you are absent.

 Extinguishing the fire

You should always put out the fire if it hasn’t gone out. When you are done, there are a few things you can do to end the inferno. If it is still going strong you can pour water on it or use a fire extinguisher to reduce the flames. If that doesn’t work you can use a fireproof blanket to kill off the big flames and put out the embers with water. At the end of the day, there is always the water hose if available.

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7 Easy Campfire Cooking Ideas for You to Try

Out in the open, on a camping trip, the last thing you need is to waste time.

With so many spectacular views to enjoy and so much to take in, food might be the last thing on your mind. Sadly though, you still need to eat to keep up your energy.

For first time campers, cooking food on a campfire is a totally different experience. It takes them some time to get used to the uneven flame of the campfire. They are so used to of an evenly burning stove that the dancing flames can seem daunting. But cooking food on a campfire is just another thing that’s best about a camping trip.

For all those people who don’t want to waste time in cooking, easy campfire cooking ideas can be a lifesaver. So, we’ve come up with some tricks to help you get the best out of your camping trip.

Dutch oven Cooking

If you keep sitting by the campfire, keeping an eye on the food and shaking the pan so it doesn’t burn your food, you’re surely going to miss some fun. The sun set is an amazing sight from your camp site but you can’t leave your spot. Well, now you can. All you need for that is a Dutch oven.

The heavy cast iron pot comes with a lid, which enables it to hold heat efficiently. You get ultimate ease with a Dutch oven. You can directly place it on fire or use a cooking tripod to hand it at a certain height. Unlike the cooking experience with a skillet/pan, you’d rather enjoy cooking with a Dutch oven. Why? It’s because you wouldn’t need to keep stirring the oven. Just leave it on fire and let it do all the work.

Foil Pack Cooking

Health conscious and want to bake food on your camping trip? That can be a problem as it’ll be hard to find an oven in a camping tent. The best alternative is foil pack cooking. Just wrap up the meat or vegetables in a foil pack and leave it on a grate. Make sure you keep an eye on the food though. Once done, just unwrap the food and hey presto! You have freshly baked food right there in the foods. How’s that for an easy campfire cooking idea?

Stick Cooking

We’ve all had our fair share of marshmallow on a stick and you can use the same trick to cook food. Things have changed a bit in the past years and now there is a vast range of metal sticks available, which makes the best fit for easy campfire cooking ideas.

Grilling

This is an intuitive cooking method, and offers a lot of ease and options too. With a vast range of grills and grates available in the market, you can have your pick. You don’t have to miss your BBQ in the middle of the woods. Just set up the grill and take advantage of one of the many easy campfire cooking ideas.

Rotisserie Cooking

With this cooking idea, you’ll almost feel like a native wood dweller. There are two ‘Y’ shaped sticks at either end of the campfire, with another stick resting horizontally on them. The main stick holds the food as the campfire gently cooks it. This is a great contraption to make roast meat.

Iron Cooking

A foldable iron tool makes for an amazing cooking tool and comes 6th on our easy campfire cooking ideas. It is shaped like a tong and is an effective tool for some quick cooking. Available in different shapes and sizes, just place the food in the tool, close it shut and hold it over the campfire. For all the grilled cheese sandwich lovers out there, here is the ultimate campfire sandwich maker.

Charcoal Grilling

You can satisfy your veggie appetite with another one of our many easy campfire cooking ideas. If you like to add the fiery and smoky touch to your veggies, here is your chance. Just place them directly on some charcoal pieces and within no time, you’ll have some well-done, smoky veggies ready to be devoured. Just make sure you keep an eye on the food since the extensive heat can easily burn them to a crisp. Keep changing their side every once in a while and you’ll do just fine.

Now you have the whole list of easy campfire cooking ideas so make sure you use them the next time you go camping. Don’t let burnt food ruin your trip. Use these ideas to hone your campfire cooking skills and amaze others. Have fun!

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4 Unusual Yet Ingenious Ways To Start A Fire

Fire is one of the most important necessities for survival.

While we do not feel the need to start a fire in our day to day affairs living at home, knowing how to start a fire when you are facing a difficult situation like a power outage in extremely cold weather or when you are out on a hiking trip can come very handy. Our basic survival needs have fire as one of the top most priorities and it is imperative to know how to light a fire with what you have.

The necessity of fire is so much that survival instructors explicitly recommend keeping at least two primary forms and two secondary forms of fire starters in a survival kit. By primary and secondary fire starters, what is basically being referred to is the ease with which they can be used to light a fire. Primary fire starters are the easy ones to use at just about any time while the secondary fire starters are a little harder to make use of for creating a fire. This is why the secondary fire starters are used only when there is a lack of primary fire starters available at your disposal.

Any fire has three basic requirements:

  • Oxygen
  • Fuel
  • Heat

The oxygen already exists in the air that we breathe so that is not something you have to worry about. The fuel is what we are planning to burn. Once smaller pieces of combustible material are ignited, it is used to start a fire in the larger pieces and keep the fire going.

There should always be a good supply of primary fire starters in your backpack, especially when you are going out for a hiking trip. The two most common primary fire starters are matches (preferably waterproof ones) and butane lighters. The issue is that these two have their drawbacks. Lighters can be discharged by mistake, which allows all the gas to escape and matches can be lost and don’t work properly when it is too cold.

The 4 unusual yet ingenious ways to start a fire come from the secondary fire starters because they are something that you would never consider in your day to day affairs yet they work like an absolute charm. Secondary fire starters are all those fire starters, which are not match sticks or lighters. They can be categorized into a few different classifications.

While there are bound to be plenty more methods which can be used as secondary fire they are not the techniques which are befitting for a survival situation. Here are 4 unusual yet ingenious ways to start a fire.

Starting a Fire with Batteries

If you have ever seen how a fuse is blown, you already have an idea about how batteries can be used to start a fire. That is why it’s one of the 4 unusual yet ingenious ways to start a fire. When the electricity contained within a battery is travelling through a conductor, which is not big enough to accommodate the electric current, the conductor starts to heat up and it burns up if there is an adequate amount of oxygen around it. For any sort of fire starter, which involves the use of batteries, it is important for both poles of the battery to come into contact with the conductor. A 9-volt battery and steel wool is perfect for starting a fire with batteries. Rub the battery’s poles with the steel wool and use the resulting sparks to ignite combustible material to start up the fire.

Using the Sun

Using the power of the sun, any lens can be used to start a fire. If you do not have the facility of a magnifying glass with you in your kit, you can make use of a waterproof clear plastic baggie. Fill it up with water and twist one corner of it enough to change the shape of the water-filled baggie to being as close to a convex lens as possible. Hold it in the right position so that the sunlight crosses through the baggie and converges onto the tinder so it can heat up the tinder and spark a fire. It’s an unusual method but an effective one. That is why it is a part of the 4 unusual yet ingenious ways to start a fire.

Using a Spark

This is one of the more conventional secondary fire starters. Take a ferro rod (it usually consists of a block of magnesium and a steel striker). Place the rod on the tinder and strike the rod with the steel striker. It will let off sparks and light up the tinder.

Starting Fire with Friction

You already know this one if you’ve seen enough movies and survival shows. It is the age old method of rubbing two dry sticks together to create heat using the friction and then using their heat to light up a tinder. It is the ultimate fire starter but you really need to know what you’re doing for it to actually work.

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Clever Ways to Start a Fire without Using Matches

If you are fond of hunting or hiking then being oblivious to some clever ways to start a fire without matches can be a life-threatening situation. But if you know some of these techniques, this knowledge can turn into a life-saving skill especially in the survival situations.

In fact, if you know some useful yet ingenious ways to start a fire, it can make the difference of life and death!

There can be many reasons why you would run out of matches. For instance, as you are camping, you may lose or forget your backpack somewhere or rain or wind may render your matches absolutely useless.

So, to help you out with that and to make sure you don’t face any uncertain situation just because of this, we are sharing some smart and clever ways to start a fire without matches. Let’s have a look.

Friction Fire

In this method, you should create a hand drill. For this, take straight stick for a flat and spindle, along with wood piece as fire board. At the board’s edge make a V-shaped notch and by using pocketknife, bore a depression (round), close to the tip of V shape.

Now put the spindle in the depression, keeping your hands flattened on both sides. As you apply some downward pressure, use your hands and move back and forth, rotating the spindle. With adequate speed, this friction will result in an ember.

Now on a bark piece, gently dump the ember, and then blow it to make a flame by placing the ember in tinder. For this technique, aspen, cedar, cottonwood, basswood or branches of dried yucca are some of the best woods to be used.

Fire Using a Lens

If fortunately you are in a sunny day then you still have some chance to catch fire. Make lenses using hunting scopes, from glasses, telescopes or binoculars. Sit with your back towards the sun, hold your lens and let the sun rays pass through the lens – using the concave side of it. This way, you can let the emerging rays of lens to be focused on a single point on the tinder bundle. If you do not have a glass lens, you can also use smooth and clear ice to concentrate the sun rays. Lastly, you can polish an aluminum can bottom with a toothpaste or sand to reflect sun rays on your tinder.

Another item to use for this purpose is a balloon. Fill a balloon using water and tie its ends. Keep it as spherical as you can, and don’t blow it too much as this will distort the focal point of your sunlight. You may also squeeze the balloon, bringing it into a shape which will create a sharp light circle.

Battery and Steel Wool

Another useful yet ingenious way to start a fire without matches is through battery or steel wool. This technique is like moving closer to modern times and for this you can use your flashlight battery along with some steel wool to catch fire. All you need to do is to rub the terminals of battery across the steel wool and wait till its smolders. This will cause the fire to get transferred to wood quite instantly and before the whole steel wool get burned.

Catching a Spark

You can easily catch a spark just by striking a steel piece against quartzite or flint. But for this, you must arrange something that would catch the spark. So, once the spark is caught, you may easily transfer it to wood and turn it into full flame. Also, fungus on tinder is also effective in catching a spark and this fungus can be found easily on birch trees, but if not, you may also go with char cloth.

Fire Pistons

If you run out of matches but you were smart enough to bring with you fire piston then you can fight off the need of fire. Use a fire piston to compress a little bit air instantly. This compression will help in raising the internal temperature of the fire piston which will result in a spark. However, if you did not bring a fire piston then unfortunately, this will be really hard to make one right then and there in the forest.

The bottom line – All of these clever ways to start a fire without matches are proven and recommended. However, whenever you attempt any of these fire catching techniques, ensure all the usual precautions to handle the fire. While a well-managed fire can be a great reward, an unmanaged one can easily destroy everything.