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Campfire tricks + magic
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Matthew Naylor

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Campfire tricks + magic on 10/05/2012 07:42:00 MDT Print View

I think the Chaff board needs some more lighthearted discussion lately.

What are some of your favorite tricks or magic to perform around the campfire (or during other backcountry activities)?

My contribution:
Find a disposable waxed paper cup.
Fill with water.
Place on a flat rock or flat board in the middle of a campfire.
Although the top rim of the cup will melt and burn, the rest of the cup usually resists burning, and the water will even boil.
Eventually the lower waxed seam will fail, but it usually lasts for a while... long enough to impress the kids and foster discussion of heat transfer and boiling points :-)

This can also be performed indoors with a cone-folded postit and a BIC lighter

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
Campfire tricks + magic on 10/05/2012 10:47:35 MDT Print View

When roasting marshmallows you can be 12 inches away to get a nice gold brown marshmallow verse a burnt marshmallow that impatient kids usually roast. Using slow radiant heat.

Now two fire lessons to not do with a campfire found the first one out backpacking in boy scouts don't throw dry flour on a fire it tends to explode.
Also don't pee on fire to put it out with your personal fireman's hose it really stinks bad.

The really bad one:
The next one happened on a surfing trip at San Onofre campground back in high school don't throw a capped bottle of beer in to a four foot high bon fire it will explode the fire all over the place and hot shards of glass will end up in fellow campers legs and arms. We never did that again.


Matthew Naylor

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Campfire tricks + magic on 10/23/2012 10:32:45 MDT Print View

Found another one (for daytime use): starting a fire with plastic wrap + water:

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: Re: Campfire tricks + magic on 10/23/2012 11:37:57 MDT Print View


Good info on the water starter. Wouldn't have guessed that it would work. Might save my life someday.


Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
Non-dairy coffee creamer on 10/23/2012 19:32:19 MDT Print View

Don't know about Boy Scouts and flour, but a bunch of rafters went through most of a case of powdered non-dairy coffee creamer, throwing handfuls over a camp fire and enjoying the whoosh.

No explosions, no injuries.

Fun, but not cheap.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Tricks that are good and Tricks I will not repeat on 10/23/2012 20:19:28 MDT Print View

First a trick you can safely do with mom around then one that I share only as a funny story and do NOT recommend.

Mom Approved Trick

Light a birthday candle then blow it out. You'll notice a very heavy smoke for a moment. If you hold a lit match or lighter in this smoke it will ignite and send the flame back down to relight the candle. If you are good you can re-light the candle from 4 inches away.

Not Mom Approved Trick (actually borderline Darwinian Awards Trick)

We once threw a bottle of spray on sunscreen into a fire. I didn't realize sunscreen has petroleum in it. The ensuring explosion actually looked like a mini nuclear test, mushroom cloud and all. It also scattered red hot coals all around. One melted through our tarp and clear through a sleeping bag about thirty feet away. Do NOT try that one at home!

Other fun tricks
-Light steel wool on fire with a 9-volt battery (has to be fine steel wool)
-Bow drill fires
-Magnesium fire starters and cotton balls, little guys love these.

Matthew Naylor

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Campfire tricks + magic on 11/08/2012 09:18:17 MST Print View

Another gem from lifehacker similar to my original post: eggs and bacon cooked in a paper bag over a campfire