Man Skills

BUILDING A FIRE FOR DUMMIES

6

When the first man built a fire, he changed the face of mankind. Fire provided our ancestors with warmth in the cold, protection from the dangers of nature, light in the dark and a place to cook food. Today, you can share your stories with your buds, share a romantic night with your lady, tell scary stories to your kids or cook some manly grub on a roaring fire. Herein lies the primal link between man and fire, and it is an essential skill that every man should have.

Here’s how you start a roaring fire at will.

SAFETY FIRST

Always make sure that your surrounding does not have any easily flammable material. Fire can be dangerous so take all the necessary precautions beforehand.

CREATE YOUR FIRE BED

Your fire bed should be on bare earth. You can start by clearing an area from all grass, making sure all dry plants are swept away. Gather in dirt and place it in the center of your cleared area. Form the dirt into a “platform” that’s about 3-4 inches thick.

GATHERING WOOD

You’ll need three basic types of materials tinder, kindling and fuel wood

TINDER

Tinder catches fire easily, but burns fast. Material like dry leaves, dry bark, wood shavings, dry grass, and some fluffy funguses make for good tinder. Get your own tinder from home as dry tinder might be difficult to find out in the wild.

KINDLING

Kindling usually consists of small twigs and branches. Go for something that’s about the width of a pencil. Like tinder, kindling needs to be dry or else it won’t burn as easily.

FUEL WOOD

Fuel wood is what keeps your fire hot and burning. Contrary to popular belief, fuel wood doesn’t have to look like the huge logs you use in a fireplace. If you go too big, it’s going to take a long time for the wood to catch fire. Look for branches that are about as wide as your wrist or your forearm.

TIP: Collect twice as much tinder, kindling, and fuel wood as you think you’ll need.

CREATING YOUR FIRE PLAY : THE TEPEE FIRE LAY

  1. Place your tinder bundle in the middle of your campfire site.
  2. Above your tinder bundle, form a teepee with some kindling. Leave an opening in your teepee on side the wind is blowing against. This will ensure that your fire gets the air it needs and will blow the flames onto the kindling.
  3. Continue adding kindling to the teepee, working your way up to pencil sized twigs.
  4. Create a larger teepee structure around your kindling teepee with your fuel wood.
  5. Place a match under your tinder. Because this lay directs the flame up, the flame should rise to the kindle and then on to the fuel wood.
  6. The teepee structure will eventually fall, and at this point you can simply add some fuel logs to the fire.
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