Up in Smoke: Backcountry Fire Building Videocast

Building a fire is nothing short of an art form, and no one can teach you everything you'd need to know to perfect it in a ten-minute video. Instead of attempting to do this (perfecting your form), we've simply highlighted some of the gear and techniques used to start a fire.

Print Jump to Reader Comments

by Sam Haraldson | 2009-07-14 00:05:00-06

Fire building videos on the Internet are a dime a dozen, but each and every one of them can teach you a thing or two. However, building a fire is nothing short of an art form, so no one can teach you everything you'd need to know to perfect it in a ten-minute video.

Instead of attempting to do this (perfect your form) you'll find that we've simply highlighted some of the gear and techniques used to start a fire. A short description of the fire triangle, finding fuel, and other quick tips are included as well.

Watch for a quick intro to these techniques and discuss some of your own on the Backpacking Light forum at the bottom. If we get enough reader suggestions, perhaps we'll release Up in Smoke II - More Fire Building with Sam H.

 

For a better viewing experience, please download the Flash Player.

Backcountry fire building tips, techniques, and tools with Sam H.


Citation

"Up in Smoke: Backcountry Fire Building Videocast," by Sam Haraldson. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/backcountry_firebuilding.html, 2009-07-14 00:05:00-06.

Print

Reader Comments

You must login to post comments.

New Visitors: Create a new account
Username:
Password:
Remember my login info.

Up in Smoke: Backcountry Fire Building Videocast
Display Avatars
Sort By:
Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Up in Smoke: Backcountry Fire Building Videocast on 07/14/2009 18:33:25 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Up in Smoke: Backcountry Fire Building Videocast

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Up in Smoke: Backcountry Fire Building Videocast on 07/14/2009 19:06:25 MDT Print View

Nice video; I like the demonstration on the fire-starting tools. I'd love to see more videos demonstrating reviews, techniques and trips.

I would like to see more fire starting with natural materials i.e. what to do if your fire-starting products fail. Knowledge weighs nothing.

Also, the close-ups are a little too close.

Edited by citystuckhiker on 07/14/2009 19:32:16 MDT.

William Puckett
(Beep) - F

Locale: Land of 11, 842 lakes
Re: Up in Smoke: Backcountry Fire Building Videocast on 07/14/2009 19:29:13 MDT Print View

Discerning forum watchers want to know...where are the cheeseburgers? ;-)

Nice video, Sam! The biggest challenge I usually face isn't fuel or starter but coping with too much wind (that blows out my baby fire before it grows up). I'd love to see some creative solutions for that!

Gary Boyd
(debiant) - F

Locale: Mid-west
Love it, want more... on 07/14/2009 21:06:06 MDT Print View

I suck at starting fires, so I need all the help I can get, short of butane or oil.

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F - M
Re: Up in Smoke: Backcountry Fire Building Videocast" on 07/14/2009 21:25:48 MDT Print View

Matt, you probably already know about the fire bow, but this video is pretty good. All natural materials.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0bEoVhxFJ8

This video is part of a series on friction fire methods, so be sure to check the others out if you're interested.

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: Up in Smoke: Backcountry Fire Building Videocast" on 07/14/2009 21:50:40 MDT Print View

Dave: I was more referring to building a fire, especially the tinder ball, using natural materials and not relying on commercial firestarters as tinder. I'd be more worried about soaking my Tinderquiks than losing my flint/steel combo. In Minnesota, we have pine sap, pine needles (dried) and paper birch bark, among others, as excellent natural fire-starting materials.

As for all-natural fire building, I have read through Tom Brown's survival text many times and conceptually understand how to do a bow-drill. I have never really sat down and worked at it. Perhaps it is something I should take a weekend (or two, three or more) to work at.

Nice video: one thing that is not explained is how to make the various pieces.

Edited by citystuckhiker on 07/14/2009 21:57:08 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Two thumbs up on 07/14/2009 22:06:20 MDT Print View

Excellent video, and a great thing to present.

I got pretty good at a bowdrill working a wilderness therapy program years ago, and it's a whole art form in itself. Getting the right wood for the spindle and fireboard is crucial.

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F - M
Natural tinder on 07/14/2009 22:11:40 MDT Print View

>>I was more referring to building a fire, especially the tinder ball, using natural materials and not relying on commercial firestarters as tinder.

Ah. Well, that's dependent upon the area you're in to a certain extent. In the 'Dacks I know to use birch bark as tinder. Works like a charm and smells really good. I always pick some up and carry it around with me.

When I was in Montana, I used a lot of that fluffy Old Man's Beard stuff for tinder.

One natural tinder/firestarter that I've always wanted to get better at finding are those tinder fungi. You break them off a tree and mash the insides just a bit with your knife, then they catch a spark. You can use them as hand warmers if you're careful

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F - M
Tinder on 07/14/2009 22:13:32 MDT Print View

Oh, and knowing how to make char cloth is handy too. Though not really a natural tinder.

Lawton Grinter
(disco) - M

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Up In Smoke with Sam H on 07/14/2009 22:26:02 MDT Print View

Sam H, you're a regular Les Stroud! Nice vid.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Up in Smoke: Fire building on 07/14/2009 22:46:32 MDT Print View

A great fundamental to backpacking-cool stuff!!!

-Jay

Jason Brinkman
(jbrinkmanboi) - MLife

Locale: Idaho
Re: Up in Smoke: Fire building on 07/15/2009 00:26:12 MDT Print View

Great video Sam! More like this in both format and down to earth topics please (no professional video crew required). Although the intro and conclusion closeups were a little bit Blair Witch Project! :)

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: Up in Smoke: Backcountry Fire Building Videocast on 07/15/2009 05:41:13 MDT Print View

thanks Sam, a great refresher...

James Gealy
(surnailz) - F

Locale: White Mountains
Fire starting in non-ideal conditions on 07/15/2009 06:51:40 MDT Print View

I really liked that video. Well done! What I would like to see, and I'm not sure if this exists already, is a fire starting video that is taken in the rain, after many days of it, and perhaps while it's dark too. These challenging conditions are exactly when you need a fire the most and I would like to see how others cope with these challenges.

-jim

Peter Surna
(PedroArvy) - MLife

Locale: Melbourne
Can you light a fire in wet weather on 07/15/2009 07:40:02 MDT Print View

Definitely, I agree, the techniques were interesting but lighting a fire in dry weather - come on, anyone can do that!

Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
Great Video on 07/15/2009 08:34:38 MDT Print View

Great video Sam! Nice to see one of those Sparkies in action.

Edited by cmcrooker on 07/15/2009 08:35:08 MDT.

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F - M
Tinder and natural fire starters on 07/15/2009 08:36:54 MDT Print View

Matt,

That fungus I was thinking of is called Daldinia concentrica (i.e. cramp balls). Check them out in this video:

http://www.videojug.com/film/how-to-use-natural-fire-lighters

Also, regarding firestarting in wet conditions, I think the unfortunate reality is that is cannot be done reliably if you are hiking in an ultralight style and don't have the sorts of artificial fire starters that Sam was demonstrating.

If you have a full tang knife for batoning into wood (to get to the dry center) and for making feather sticks, you'll probably be able to do okay.

EDIT: Also, here's a good place to learn about how to start a fire with the traditional (and ultraheavy) flint and steel method.

http://www.ragweedforge.com/striking.html

You can also buy steel strikers from this guy (handmade no less) and buy Mora knives on the cheap.

Edited by Ramapo on 07/15/2009 08:39:30 MDT.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Up in Smoke: Backcountry Fire Building Videocast on 07/15/2009 08:39:31 MDT Print View

I'm happy to see all the positive comments so far - thanks! This video was quick and covers only the absolute basics of using a few different tools to get a spark going.

I should probably revisit the topic and go into the art of turning a spark into a fire as well as using only natural materials rather than Tinderquik and Wetfire.

Personally I always carry a fire starter into the backcountry so I've not taught myself bow drill or friction techniques although I respect those who practice it in the utmost.

Sean Thompson
(Questtrek) - F

Locale: Michigan
Fire Starting on 07/15/2009 10:08:39 MDT Print View

Great video, I've always had a hard time starting a fire in wet conditions! Thanks for the tips!

Frank Deland
(rambler) - M

Locale: On the AT in VA
without artificial tinder on 07/15/2009 10:21:43 MDT Print View

The small dead branches at the bottom of pines that the video shows also have very small branches or tiny twigs that can be bunched up into a baseball size loose fitting ball. A trick is to get your match at the bottom of this ball of twigs. Just with your fingers dig a small trench and then a small platform with bigger twigs, so the lighted match can fit directly under the pile. In wet weather, split thumb sized dead sticks with a knife into small pieces which will be dry in their center. You can also carve these sticks along the edges to create dry chips. You can split the wood with a large single blade knife. Place the knife on top of the stick you want to split. With one hand on the handle take a large stick and pound the blade down through the center of the wood piece you are splitting. Imagine that you are splitting large pieces of wood for your fireplace or wood stove at home.
I learned this from reading Cody Lundin's book 98.6 Degrees, The Art of Keeping Your A__ Alive. Google "Cody Lundin"

Here are some photos of the above method:

http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/556839194qbaYfz

Edited by rambler on 07/15/2009 10:24:15 MDT.

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F - M
Fire Fixins on 07/15/2009 10:46:07 MDT Print View

Although they weren't featured in the video (presumably because BPL doesn't sell them) Fire Fixins make great natural tinder should you be interested in that.

I think they're made and sold by a father and his son here in the US, so that might be appealing to some.

http://www.woodsmonkey.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=166:fire-fixins-review&catid=78:firestarting-equipment&Itemid=97

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Up in Smoke: Backcountry Fire Building Videocast on 07/15/2009 11:08:49 MDT Print View

There are literally thousands of ways to start fires so I only featured those things that I had on hand. I've never heard of Fire Fixins and will have to check them out.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Fire Fixins on 07/15/2009 11:23:24 MDT Print View

Dave,
To be fair, BPL doesn't sell dryer lint either (or maybe it's just not currently in stock...just kidding, glad to see many items restocked!).
Tom

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F - M
Re: Up in Smoke: Backcountry Fire Building Videocast on 07/15/2009 11:28:25 MDT Print View

No BPL doesn't sell lint. But they sell everything else that was featured in the video.

So, to be fair, the video was basically an infomercial.

Nothing personal, Sam. It's not even that I mind infomercials. I just don't like framing a video that's meant to sell products as an educational piece.

Maybe it was an accident. I'm just saying...it's tacky.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Up in Smoke: Backcountry Fire Building Videocast on 07/15/2009 12:52:37 MDT Print View

I chose to showcase some of the best commercially available fire starters in the video. I also happen to choose to sell some of the best commercially available fire starters in the BPL store. It's no coincidence that there was overlap in this video ; )

Jay Well
(jwell) - F

Locale: Willamette Valley
Up in Smoke on 07/15/2009 13:34:34 MDT Print View

Thanks for the video, but how can you not like Air Supply??

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HejVjzhKTY

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F - M
Up in Smoke: Backcountry Fire Building Videocast on 07/15/2009 13:38:11 MDT Print View

>>I chose to showcase some of the best commercially available fire starters in the video. I also happen to choose to sell some of the best commercially available fire starters in the BPL store. It's no coincidence that there was overlap in this video ; )


Fair enough. Maybe I'm just grumpy today.

Edited by Ramapo on 07/15/2009 13:38:42 MDT.

Jason Brinkman
(jbrinkmanboi) - MLife

Locale: Idaho
Re: Up in Smoke: Backcountry Fire Building Videocast on 07/15/2009 14:06:16 MDT Print View

I am not aware that BPL sells egg carton fire starters or waterproof matches. I thought the video was fair and balanced, and I did not have any impression of it being an infomercial.

I would like to see a followup done in the rain, and with more use of natural tinders.

I have occasionally used part of an Esbit tablet to sustain a flame long enough to dry materials so that they will burn. Once you get a few small sticks involved it can make enough heat to dry larger stuff.

Kerry Rodgers
(klrodgers) - MLife

Locale: North Texas
what about cooking? on 07/15/2009 14:41:16 MDT Print View

Enjoyed the video, Sam. The build-up techniques and wet demonstration you mentioned would make a worthy part 2.

Another future direction I'd like to see would be how to actually cook on such a fire. People who know how to do this will laugh at me, but I've never actually seen someone cook over a backcountry wood fire. Of course, I'm mostly interested in light or UL style.

How do you prepare the fire? Do you need to make coals? How to get those quickly? How do you boil water without ruining the pot or burning your hands getting it out? How do you roast the fish another camper gave you, if you don't have all those wire baskets on long handles?

Go ahead everyone, laugh.

Gary Boyd
(debiant) - F

Locale: Mid-west
Bic Lighters... on 07/15/2009 15:12:09 MDT Print View

Hey Sam, I'm interested in those bic lighters you showcased, how do I go about accquiring those. I've heard great things.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Up in Smoke: Backcountry Fire Building Videocast on 07/15/2009 15:18:22 MDT Print View

Gary, Bic lighters can be procured at just about any Air Supply concert ; )

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Up in Smoke: Backcountry Fire Building Videocast on 07/15/2009 16:46:00 MDT Print View

Mini Bics +1!

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: what about cooking? on 07/15/2009 17:15:10 MDT Print View

"People who know how to do this will laugh at me, but I've never actually seen someone cook over a backcountry wood fire."

The people who truly know how to do this won't be laughing at you, Kerry. Nobody has ever been born with a Tinderkwik in one hand and a striker in the other. We all had to learn by a combination of trial and error, and/or asking those with experience. There is a fair amount of info already posted here on your questions, but I don't think it is organized into one thread. You might try using the BPL search engine and, if you don't find satisfactory answers, just start a thread and you'll get plenty of opinions, answers, recipes, etc. Then you can start experimenting and see what works for you. In time, you'll develop your own set of methods and materials, part you and part what you have learned from others. Everyone does. Have fun and don't ever be afraid to ask a question here. This is a very supportive bunch of folks.

Andy Berner
(Berner9) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Got lint? on 07/15/2009 18:01:31 MDT Print View

Did someone say they need some lint?

Alright this is embarrassing but here it goes.

Lint collecting for 2.5 years with me and my 3 roommates that has collected in the corner of my basement. There is a paper bag full... and a little overflow.

lint

Whats the price per pound on this stuff? lol

Edited by Berner9 on 07/15/2009 18:08:55 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Got lint? on 07/15/2009 18:40:34 MDT Print View

"Lint collecting for 2.5 years with me and my 3 roommates that has collected in the corner of my basement. There is a paper bag full... and a little overflow."

All that from 4 guys' navels? Awesome!!

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Got lint? on 07/15/2009 19:10:09 MDT Print View

Most disgusting fire hazard - ever.

Andy Berner
(Berner9) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
lint on 07/15/2009 19:41:42 MDT Print View

"Most disgusting fire hazard - ever."

wow...didn't think about it like that. Although its in the corner with nothing around it should be ok but I'm gonna go clean it up now.

Maybe I will save it up in something and then make a quilt out of it next year

Gary Boyd
(debiant) - F

Locale: Mid-west
Will this work? on 07/15/2009 19:43:14 MDT Print View

Iphone lighter...

I got this lighter app for my iphone, I figured it would work the same. I'm just curious, how do I start a fire with it?

Edited by debiant on 07/15/2009 19:43:44 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Interesting Vid on 07/15/2009 21:44:42 MDT Print View

Nice video. I never use fire starter in the wilderness so it was a good introduction for me. Normally I just grab a couple squares of toilet paper (unused) and that's enough to start small twigs.

The bit about the dryer lint was cool. I'm going to try that sometime. The egg carton/lint/wax creations looked a bit bulky and time consuming to make (for a lazy person like me).

It appears that the 'Sparkie' requires a firm surface to use. It's cool that it's one handed but a regular flint & steel seems like a better choice since you can throw sparks where ever you want (ie. into a tinder pile).

Edited by dandydan on 07/15/2009 21:46:25 MDT.

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: Tinder and natural fire starters on 07/16/2009 03:08:12 MDT Print View

In the North East there is whats called "tinder fungus" its fairly easy to find. It will take a little practice to figure out how to get it to take a spark - (try crushing it into fine powder or slicing paper thin pieces ect.)

More info here:
http://www.wildwoodsurvival.com/survival/fire/tinder/tinderfungus/true.html


The advantage of this is that it will smolder and hold a coal for a while giving you time to try and get some kindling to flame up.
Every environment will have some different material suitable for tinder just read up on what was traditionally used in your area.

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: what about cooking? on 07/16/2009 03:14:37 MDT Print View

"People who know how to do this will laugh at me, but I've never actually seen someone cook over a backcountry wood fire. Of course, I'm mostly interested in light or UL style."

I second that this is no silly question. Whole books could be written on the subject. I have built small fires and racked out half the coals when they formed and set my mug on them so that the mug was on the coals and next to the flame. You can continue to feed the flame and make more coals as the water starts to boil. Thats what I did anyway. I have a ti tri cone now.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: what about cooking? on 07/16/2009 05:42:44 MDT Print View

Sam,
Yeah, how about a similar video, but under challenging conditions (wind, rain)? That might help showcase some of the other helpful tips.

Good video.

Tom

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Up in Smoke: Backcountry Fire Building Videocast on 07/16/2009 09:25:07 MDT Print View

It took me a couple weekends to finally shoot this video. I took two backcountry trips in which I planned to get footage for this but both trips I ended up pushing darkness upon arrival at camp and didn't have light to shoot.

The video I did produce was shot on a car camping trip (note I'm wearing sandals) at a beautiful location near Hyalite Resevoir in the Gallatin National Forest.

I'd like to do another one that focused on the use of all natural tinders and fuels using only a fire striker. Also, I'd like to present techniques for fire starting in wind, rain, and snowy conditions.

All that being said I'll probably have to bring a video camera on a half dozen trips in order to get the footage I want. It's a worthy topic and I'll see what I can do.

todd harper
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: Sunshine State
Re: Up in Smoke: Backcountry Fire Building Videocast on 07/16/2009 16:26:15 MDT Print View

Nice, Sam!

I appreciate the instuctional articles, reviews, and videos!

Keep 'em coming, BPL!

Todd

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Up in Smoke: Backcountry Fire Building Videocast on 07/16/2009 19:29:33 MDT Print View

Good job! Been saving dryer lint, but have not yet used it. Like your technique with the fire steel. Will try it soon.

Please give us more videocasts.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
natural tinder on 07/17/2009 08:46:40 MDT Print View

as mentioned earlier- Old Man's Hair, Witches Hair, Bear Hair (and I'm sure lots of other local names)- family of tree lichens, makes a wonderful tinder (if dry)

you can also add a little fir sap to it for extra oomph :)

many of the birch family barks are also a good bet for natural tinder

iirc survivor man in one episode used a corn chip as tinder! :D

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Up in Smoke: Backcountry Fire Building Videocast on 07/17/2009 09:18:09 MDT Print View

I am glad to see the format and application... thanks!

One of my pet peeves about emergency firestarters is the need for redundancy inherent in some of the methods. Example? Using a sparklite tinder to ignite the wax/lint firestarter in the video. If I really need to get a fire going, I don't want a "product" (including homemade) that needs a strong open flame to get it burning. I've also found that hexamine tabs and such don't light as easily. Through lots of "experimentation," (ie, playing) I've found that petroleum jelly-soaked cotton balls offer the best combination in ease of catching a spark, ease of ignition, and steady, hot, wind-resistant flame. If you have petro/cotton balls, you don't need to carry any other kind of tinder whatsoever. I carry them double-wrapped in foil so that I can wrap a bit around them to enhance the burn time.

Simplicity...

Cheers-

John Davis
(Bukidnon) - F
Fires in Damp Conditions on 07/17/2009 13:39:39 MDT Print View

Basically, in damp locations, it may be necessary to bring in dry tinder. Leather bags are popular for tinder as they breathe. The first survival book I read recommended collecting dry tinder whenever you see it in case you need it days later. After a series of damp days even air dried birch - the dead twigs caught in branches - can be challenging to light. Or so I thought till an expert showed me the secret. He filled the bottom third of my Bushcooker with dry bog cotton from his leather bag, invited me to put a spark on it and then added dead heather flowers. We had flames two feet high within twenty seconds. After a start like that, the Bushcooker will burn just about anything. My mistake had been meanness with the tinder.

Obviously, you need to think before bringing in dead plant material from another place. Petroleum jelly-soaked products definitely have a place in my pack.

Edited by Bukidnon on 07/17/2009 13:43:25 MDT.

Benjamin Hamilton
(krondek) - F
Uhhhh, Sam you stole my mojo on 07/18/2009 22:47:55 MDT Print View

I'm assuming that this is a sequel to my demonstration from our Packrafting trip: "How to Start a Fire in Only 3 Hours Using Nothing But 16 Swedish Firesteels and An Acre of Dry Brush".

- Ben H.

Jane McMichen
(jmcmichen) - F

Locale: Maine, DownEast Coast
Question about egg carton on 07/19/2009 08:42:02 MDT Print View

Maybe I'm a bit slow on the uptake. What's the purpose of the wax in the egg carton method?

Also, I followed the link about the fungi in the Northeast. Did I read it correctly that the False Tinder kind burns as well as the True Tinder kind? If so, somebody could have come up with a better name... :-)

Here's the link I followed:
http://www.wildwoodsurvival.com/survival/fire/tinder/tinderfungus/true.html

Thanks in advance!

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Question about egg carton on 07/19/2009 15:37:04 MDT Print View

>Maybe I'm a bit slow on the uptake. What's the purpose of the wax in the egg carton method< Jane, I don't know a nicer way of saying this so here it goes- have you ever seen a candle burn, and look at what it’s made of? The wax slows the burn of the cardboard. I help the scouts make these- I put wood shaving in them along with a small bit of dryer lint in the cup part then drizzle wax over them. They really burn for a long time and stay lit very well. They are too heavy for my use- I use Vaseline and cotton balls (much lighter), but the boys like to make them and then watch them burn. The Vaseline/cotton balls are a little anticlimactic for them.

Edited by bestbuilder on 07/19/2009 15:38:53 MDT.

Jane McMichen
(jmcmichen) - F

Locale: Maine, DownEast Coast
Re: Egg carton question on 07/20/2009 18:14:48 MDT Print View

Tad,
Thank you for your kind reply. I had never (obviously) considered what wax actually does for a candle. I hope that's the dumbest question I ever ask, but somehow I'm thinking 'not'.

I do appreciate that one can ask such questions on this webiste and not be flamed into humiliation forever.

Thanks

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Up in Smoke: Backcountry Fire Building Videocast on 07/21/2009 11:26:21 MDT Print View

Good video Sam. I'd like to see more of these too. People should list suggestions for short video podcasts they want to see.

I've always heard the three components of fire being fuel, heat and oxygen (instead of air).

http://www.smokeybear.com/elements_triangle.asp

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Alcohol stove for rainy firestarting? on 09/12/2009 03:45:51 MDT Print View

I've not done it in the rain yet since I don't expect to ever build fires in general, but the one fire I have built while backpacking (just for the heck of it really) was after a rain. I simply built 2 "walls" with larger sticks and a "roof" with tinder and slid my lit Super Cat under the roof. Worked like a charm.

Thomas Choat
(tho1cho)

Locale: Wet, Windy, cold, "Westland"
wet firemaking on 09/22/2009 12:44:20 MDT Print View

I came over this video on starting fires when its really wet, haven't tried it yet, but someone might find it interesting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFpioDN6Hlc&feature=channel

Don Christensen
(logger) - MLife

Locale: West Texas
Tinder and fire starters. on 05/03/2010 22:00:32 MDT Print View

In Central & West Texas, and parts of New Mexico, mountain Juniper (aka Cedar) is the best tinder available. Even when conditions are wet, you can always strip some bark off of the side of a tree and crumple it up until it begins emitting dust. Then throw a spark and give it a few puffs of air, then Viola, you have fire.

Works every time.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Up in Smoke: Backcountry Fire Building Videocast on 05/03/2010 23:55:56 MDT Print View

In these days of freeze-dried food and/or Freezer Bag Cooking (really hydration), cooking on a campfire has become a lost art.

Back in the 1940's and 50's, campfires were all that was available for cooking. My mother was a true gourmet camp cook! She used to make pie, cake and yeast rolls, using aluminum pie/cake tins (lighter substitute for a dutch oven) and coals from the campfire. Yes, once in a while (usually not more than once a week) we had to scrape off a little burn, but even so they were delicious! Of course back then hardly anyone was in the backcountry (we'd go for a week or more without meeting anyone, and then it was usually a sheepherder), so wood resources were not scarce, even around timberline, as they are now.

I have gotten lazy in my old age, so I do the Freezer Bag thingy--no dishes to wash, and no worries about scarce wood resources or fire scars. I suspect that if I were in an area where firewood was plentiful, no fire danger and plenty of existing fire scars to use, I could relearn those skills she taught me, given sufficient motivation. Which I don't have, sorry!

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Up in Smoke: Backcountry Fire Building Videocast on 09/07/2013 09:34:37 MDT Print View

classic