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2017 MAY FOCUS - FIRE STARTING

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The be all end all fire starting thread post everything you know and discuss!!

 

As you’re beginning your foray into the world of learning survival skills or if your a seasoned vet, you’ll become familiar with tasks like building a shelter, performing first aid in the field and mastering navigation.

 

Along with these skills is one that’s essential to survival in a variety of ways -- how to build a campfire.

 

What is it about building a fire that’s so important for survival when you’re trapped in an emergency situation?

 

 

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  • Fire keeps you warm.
    Depending on the environment where you’re trapped -- warm and dry, frigid and wet, etc. -- building a campfirecould be the difference that saves you from discomfort, hypothermia, frostbite or even death.
     
     
  • Fire gives you a way to signal your location.
    When you’re stranded in an emergency situation, you’ll want a way to notify those searching for you of your whereabouts. Especially in the dark, fire is helpful for informing searchers of your location.
     
     
  • Campfire furnishes the heat needed to make both water and food safe to ingest.
    If you have a fire, a pot/skillet and access to food and water, you’re able to refuel your body by hydrating yourself with purified (boiled) water and refueling your body with cooked food.
     
     
  • Fire provides light and comfort.
    A fire is also a great survival tool because it emits light that’s comforting and allows for you to study your map, compass, etc.

 

 

How to Build a Fire

Learn to make and start the perfect backpacking campfire

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In almost any hiking, backpacking, or camping survival situation a fire is needed. Although it may seem like a simply task, most struggle to construct an efficient campfire. In addition, starting the fire can be a difficult job if you run out of matches while outdoors. Whether it is used as a heat source during cold nights or to cook your gourmet outdoor dinners, it is essential that all outdoorsmen know the proper way of building fires and starting it with and without matches.

 

 

 

Campfire Preparation

If you plan to build a campfire, be sure that the area you are hiking in allows fires and if they are required to be built in developed fire pits. Before beginning to build your fire, be sure to have water available nearby and a shovel to throw dirt on the fire if it gets out of hand. Next, there should be a proper fire pit. If there isn’t one already, build a small fire ring with rocks. To prevent wind from blowing your fire out, create a depression in the ground 3-6 inches deep inside the fire ring.

 

If you plan to make a traditional wood campfire, the next step is to search for and gather 3 types of materials:

 

Backpacking Tip:

Use alcohol prep pads from your first aid kit for a quick fire starter with flint and steel. It burns for a minute with no mess to clean up.

Read more backpacking tips »

 

  • Tinder: Small materials that will ignite easily with a spark kindling such as dry grasses, shredded bark, fungus, or mosses. To spark, this material needs to be as dry and finely shredded as possible.
  • Kindling: Medium sized materials that will catch flame from the tinder quickly such as dry leaves, small twigs and sticks, or larger pieces of bark. For the kindling to catch fire, it must consist of small, dry items.
  • Wood logs: This is the large, sustainable material used to keep the fire going once it has caught flame from the kindling. The wood should be as dead and dry as possible to catch on fire faster. Find various sized logs to use once the fire gets larger and use an axe or knife to cut the wood into more combustible pieces.

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Building the Campfire

There are two popular methods of building a wood campfire, the “teepee” and “log cabin.” Although the teepee method is more popular, the log cabin method is better if you plan to cook over the fire.

 

Teepee Method

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To build your teepee, wad the tinder into a ball about 4 inches in diameter and put it in the middle of your fire pit. Stack the kindling into a cone around it, then lean the logs on the kindling.

 

 

If matches or a lighter are used in starting your fire, leave an opening in the teepee so you can light the pile of tinder from the bottom. If the tinder lights, it will spread to the kindling and logs and give you a great campfire. Blowing softly on the fire might be necessary to create flames to spread to the kindling and wood. If the fire goes out, try adding more tinder or kindling. Your burning materials might also be too wet to burn. Once your campfire is going, keep adding logs in the teepee pattern.

 

Log Cabin Method

logcabin_campfire-200.png

For the log cabin method, you may want to build a small teepee of tinder and kindling in the middle of your “cabin.” Once this is done, stack your logs a foot or less apart in an alternating pattern around the teepee in the shape of a square. The space between logs will allow for air circulation from the bottom to the top of the cabin. Once you have built the log cabin as large as you’d like, light the kindling in the middle. If the fire struggles to burn, blow into the teepee or dig small air holes underneath the base logs.

 

 

Be sure to keep your fire to a reasonable and safe size. Be sure to never build your fire near vegetation, low-hanging branches, or closer than 6 feet from your shelter.

 

Top

Other Common Fire-Starting Methods

Even if you find yourself without matches while hiking or backpacking, there are plenty of ways to start a fire without them. Below are a few of the most common methods of starting a campfire without the help of matches or a lighter.

 

Backpacking Tip:

Potato chips, Fritos corn chips, and other greasy snack foods can serve as quick and easy fire starters.

Read more backpacking tips »

 

  • Flint and steel: Using flint and steel is one of the most primitive ways of starting a fire. There are multiple ways of using it and making your own kit. For an in-depth look, see CampfireDude’s Flint and Steel article.
  • Lenses (magnifying glass or eyeglasses):If it is a sunny day, angle your lens toward the sun. Put a ball of tinder under the lens as you concentrate the light into the smallest area possible. If you add water to the lens you will be able to intensify the beam.
  • Steel wool and batteries: With a nine-volt battery and a strip of steel wool, simply touch the contacts of the battery to the wool. Blow on it gently to encourage flames and add it to your tinder.
  • Household items: Common items that can be found at home can be used as a quick and easy fire starter. Items include clothes dryer lint (which is extremely lightweight), candles, insect repellents and alcohol hand sanitizers.

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Putting Out the Campfire

Even if you may think your fire is completely out or can burn itself out, wind can come up and reignite the embers and make the fire start up again. As a safety precaution, drown the campfire with water or dirt once you are finished. Stir the fire’s remains to uncover any hot embers and throw on more water or dirt. Remember, only you can prevent wildfires!

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Good choice for first topic. Fire is life. Seems pretty basic until your lost, freezing and cant get one going

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I carry a lighter and a ferro rod with me all the time. In my back pocket I keep a cotton bandanna. If I find myself hoofing it and a fire starts to become a need, I gather tinder in the form of grass and leaves, keep them in my front pocket to dry them.

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I carry string and a sharp knife to make a biw, add dryer lint, guaranteed hot fire from the jump . Less noisy than firesteel , easier to pack and carry multiple sets of the whole kit . Get a long, 24 inch piece of mower pull start line, bag up your dryer lint. Give it a try . There will be thousands of dryers to puck from if SHTF .

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Ive two bics, beeswax lipbalm in my edc. Ive started fires in the pouring rain using white birch bark though. It was done under cover and it was touch and go but i got it done. Any of you guys ever try using a 9v battery and steel wool? Never done it myself but i seen someone else do it

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I carry string and a sharp knife to make a biw, add dryer lint, guaranteed hot fire from the jump . Less noisy than firesteel , easier to pack and carry multiple sets of the whole kit . Get a long, 24 inch piece of mower pull start line, bag up your dryer lint. Give it a try . There will be thousands of dryers to puck from if SHTF .

Ive tried making bow drills a few times but ive never been able to get my spindle to turn right with the bow so i always end up spinning it by hand. Is there a trick to it? I know material choice makes a big difference

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i keep a bag of cutup egg crates filled with drier lint and covered in wax in all my vehicles along with lighters, fire steel, and storm matches in my edc in both. the egg crates work great and very eady to make and keep lots of. 1 or 2 egg pockets and will burn for about 5 mins each.

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Ive two bics, beeswax lipbalm in my edc. Ive started fires in the pouring rain using white birch bark though. It was done under cover and it was touch and go but i got it done. Any of you guys ever try using a 9v battery and steel wool? Never done it myself but i seen someone else do it

I've done the steel wool trick but used a motorcycle batter. It works . My best trick is still dryer lint and a bow . Good old boy scouts !

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Never tried rubbing two sticks together since boy scouts an explorers in 58-62. Always packed matches and lighters, If I'm on a Canadian fly in, or hunting trip in DA U.P. I wear my fire starter around my neck, like the one you strike with your knife. Never used it. No excuse. Pack a survival candle too, burns long time/ like love you long time. Never smoked till later so it wasn't something I always had so I to make a point of it. Now I picked up the pipe, and cigars. Used to make fire starters out of used cardboard egg cartons, and woodchips/sawdust. Place sawdust into egg carton sections and pour melted paraffin wax into them, let harden. Then when needed cut one section off after you build your fire place into tinder and light will burn for five ten minutes making sure tinder and smaller twigs and branches light. Strolling around the woods as we will have to do if the SHTF. Birch bark trees provide plenty of tinder, those cargo pockets on your BDUs make good tinder storage or a cheapo plastic bag. Dry moss around trees, Any dry grasses, Marsh grass, Place were there were any logging operations, Old dry sheds of bark. There will be people out there after us. If not the Convoluted government, those have nots who would take ours. Your head has to be thinking 360 all the time, preservation, food, comfort, and taking the fight to get our Constitutional Republic Back. The inner lining of the Birch Bark tree makes a good tea with sprinkle of pine needles, Tastes Like hot Gin, or hot toddie if your have some hootch, helps with headaches, stress, stomach queasiness or all round soothing drink. We re not all gonna have coffee/hot chocolate/tea/PBR and Mountain Dew s on us. Same with the Aspen Tree/ were Asprin comes from, boil the bark. Farmers matches, or stick matches can be stored in cigar tubes or similar containers. Those military matches we used to get with our C Rations that were so called water proof were probably old. because they were crap. You see, I said C rations and not MREs that's how old I am. I save a bag full of plastic containers with sealing lids for Food storage, crack your eggs and put them in a cool whip , margarine/chip dip container. that way they don't break in your pack, and if they freeze no broken shells when they thaw. To Keep lose ammo dry, or cashed in your area. Those large coffee cans will hold a small handgun loaded an a few rounds. Wrap gun with oil rag if possible keep ammo in a baggie if possible. Petrol base products kill primers even the fumes. Sorry I got long winded and off subject. I wish to pass this on too those who were less experienced, and younger who still love their country, but for whatever reason don't have all the info the need. Keep your Powder dry and God Bless.

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I've done the steel wool trick but used a motorcycle batter. It works . My best trick is still dryer lint and a bow . Good old boy scouts !

If its raining and ground woods saturated i always look for standing trees with low hanging dead limbs. Pine is best if you've got it in your area. All those fine little twigs make great tinder and the dead branches can be shaved or split for kindling. Theyll always be dryer inside than anything youll pick up off the ground. dead standing wood of any kind seasons and remains dryer

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No I read articles on it but never applied it. U say a cycle batt works better. I suppose more spark. Ya I've shaved twigs and branches to make kindling too. Have to put the batt steel wool trick, on my to do list along with using my spark striker. Always sumtin to do? God Bless

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No I read articles on it but never applied it. U say a cycle batt works better. I suppose more spark. Ya I've shaved twigs and branches to make kindling too. Have to put the batt steel wool trick, on my to do list along with using my spark striker. Always sumtin to do? God Bless
if i remember right powdered magnesium will enhance a growing flame and make it burn higher. Me and a buddy made black powder when we were kids and he showed me that trick. And yeah man, always something. Keeps life interesting

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I keep all kinds of different methods of making a fire both on my person and in my go bag, car, truck, and hidden caches. Without the ability to create a good fire your already dead. I did see an interesting article on creating and upside down fire so it can't be seen. Wish I still had the information because it could come in handy.

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Ive tried making bow drills a few times but ive never been able to get my spindle to turn right with the bow so i always end up spinning it by hand. Is there a trick to it? I know material choice makes a big difference

Use an old roller skate wheel or skateboard wheel to hold pressure down on spindle the ball bearings really help.

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Use an old roller skate wheel or skateboard wheel to hold pressure down on spindle the ball bearings really help.
. Ill give it a shot, just happen to have an old pair of skate wheels under the tool bench. Figured they might come in handy one of these days

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I keep all kinds of different methods of making a fire both on my person and in my go bag, car, truck, and hidden caches. Without the ability to create a good fire your already dead. I did see an interesting article on creating and upside down fire so it can't be seen. Wish I still had the information because it could come in handy.

Upside down fire?

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Making a fire is great, but if they are trying to locate anyone a fire is a deadly way to get caught. Just in case of buy some chem bags to heat meals and drinks. The bags only require a little water to heat a nice meal in a cold situation... makes for a happy belly and less chance of getting caught. Their are a few ways to hide a fire and still have warmth and a hot meal, but it takes a few chemicals and a nice pit with rocks. I suggest that everyone invest in a few over the counter chemicals and make a few ways to get warm without fire. I don't trust them! You can look up a lot of ways to do what I'm talking about on youTube. Best of luck to all!

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Making a fire is great, but if they are trying to locate anyone a fire is a deadly way to get caught. Just in case of buy some chem bags to heat meals and drinks. The bags only require a little water to heat a nice meal in a cold situation... makes for a happy belly and less chance of getting caught. Their are a few ways to hide a fire and still have warmth and a hot meal, but it takes a few chemicals and a nice pit with rocks. I suggest that everyone invest in a few over the counter chemicals and make a few ways to get warm without fire. I don't trust them! You can look up a lot of ways to do what I'm talking about on youTube. Best of luck to all!
the esbit fuel tabs work great when youve got to worry about smoke being seen. Each tab burns around 5 min or so i think and will easily heat a quart of water or meal. They are cheap,light and come with a little stove to use them on. Pretty sure its a 12 pack+stove for $5
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I keep all kinds of different methods of making a fire both on my person and in my go bag, car, truck, and hidden caches. Without the ability to create a good fire your already dead. I did see an interesting article on creating and upside down fire so it can't be seen. Wish I still had the information because it could come in handy.

I found these links that show the method you mentioned. It really does look fairly easy and useful. I hope these help.

https://www.thebugoutbagguide.com/upside-down-fire/

 

http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/wild-chef/2014/05/how-build-upside-down-fire

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjBfzyz-xM8

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