If it doesn’t have a fire… a real fire, then that is not camping. But before you learn how to make a fire with nothing but sticks, you need to know a few things. Firstly, is such a fire allowed in that camping ground? If yes, you are good to go.
Is the area safe for a wood/tinder fire? Again, if the park or area authorities have permitted this, it must be safe. With the area of legality covered, you can now go ahead and learn how to light a fire with sticks when camping. If you brought your camping cookware, you can even make a piping hot coffee and pour some in your travel coffee mug to keep it hot for later.
How to start a fire – how to start a fire in the woods
Knowing how to start a fire with sticks, and without gasoline or, lighting device or other store bought means is a real kickass technique to pass down to your children. In addition, it makes you feel somewhat good about yourself knowing that you can use stone age skills to make a fire amidst all the modern tech jungle.
Start fire with sticks – Why you need a fire
Fire is tradition for camping trips especially in camping destinations where firewood is not a problem. The warm flames of the fire at night brings people together to reflect on the events of the day, narrate stories and share some laughter or a meal together. Fire just has a way of bringing people together, in the same way that light attracts moths.
Some camping destinations are usually very cold at night and a fire will help you keep warm. At other times, you may decide to go camping during the winter season and we all know how freezing cold it can be, especially at night. During such camping adventures, you will definitely need a fire to keep you warm so that you can enjoy your camping more.
Learning how to start a fire in the woods with sticks is a very helpful skill, a technique that is worth knowing. That is how the men and women of the western frontier, the wild west did it, if you read Louis L’Amour. Besides, knowing how to start a fire is a survival skill.
Fire can protect you from wild animals. If you get lost in the wilderness, you need to keep safe. You need to start a fire. That should keep you safe from the bugs, and should deter wild animals.
It is also possible to start a fire with wood alone, without using any modern lighting tools, even without a wood stove. Here are the steps, techniques and tips that will help you successfully and safely do this.
Fire starting Tinder
This is very light flammable natural material that you will use o ignite your fire. If you are camping in dry conditions, you just need to look around to spot a lot of tinder. Dry glass, very thing sticks, fir leaves and any other light and dry material lying around is good for tinder. You will use this to line the bottom of your fire pit. If your are camping in wet conditions, you may need to bring your own tinder, or carry a sleeping bag for cold weather or both! Some of the things you can bring for tinder include wood shavings, old newspapers and cartons, leaves and so on.
What is Kindling?
You do not want to place heavy wood on the tinder because it will not light up. What you need is kindling. These are moderately thin twigs and branches that you can place over the tinder. When these ignite, all your worries about the fire going out before the wood catches on will be gone. Just like tinder, there is a lot of kindling around you everywhere you look.
How to make fire with wood – Best time to make a fire
Timing is probably the first factor to consider when you want to start a wood fire. This is because unlike when using modern devices to make a fire where it takes you only a few minutes to do so, this will take a considerable amount of your time. Therefore, knowing the most suitable time to start making the fire is crucial. Otherwise, darkness will fall while you are not yet prepared for it.
Even as you engage in the other camping activities during the day, you should designate sometime to start preparing all the necessary materials that you require for making the fire. This includes collecting some dry woods, dry, sticks, dry leaves, grass, and keeping them in a tent or in a place where they will remain dry in case there are light or heavy showers. Ensure you collect enough firewood that will sustain your fire as long as you require it to last.
The most suitable time to start building and starting your fire would be when the sun starts to set. This gives you enough time so that by the time darkness sets in; you have a roaring campfire burning and spreading warmth.
Find the right spot – How to build a campfire
You can literally start a fire with sticks from anywhere but before you settle for a place, ensure that you follow some campfire safety tips first, lest you end up destroying the surrounding environment with a raging wildfire.
If your camping destination has a designated fire area, make use of it. If the site does not have such an area, you need to prepare one for yourself. To prepare the best place for your fire, you need to start clearing the place by pushing back any dry vegetation and leaves.
How to build a simple fire pit
Ensure that the place is a distance away from trees and other vegetation. You will need to know how to build a fire pit, which should be dug some inches down.
When digging the fire pit, ensure that you keep the soil that you dig aside as it can help you put off the fire very fast in case of an emergency. Look for some stones to place around your fire pit in order to create a boundary that isolates the fire in the fire pit for enhanced safety. Lay some tinder on the fire pit using dry leaves, dry grass and some dry thin sticks.
How to make a fire with nothing but sticks – Methods and techniques
When your fire pit is ready, you can use any of the following major ways to start a campfire using sticks and without the help of a modern lighting item. But first, you need to lay good and dry kindling on the floor of the pit. Then when you start grinding the wood, you can do it close to the fire pit so that any coals formed drop inside.
Hand drill fire
This method requires you to hold a dry stick in an upright position using both of your palms as they face each other. The stick should have one pointed end, which you can shape using your camping knife. Rotate the stick as you press the sharp end downwards on another flat piece of wood in order to create a great friction between the two surfaces.
Ensure that you keep the rotations going without posing so that the friction generated can bring forth enough heat to make the tip of the stick you are rotating to start glowing. Do not stop at the first sight of smoke; keep on rotating until the stick forms a hot coal that can be transferred to the waiting tinder in the fire pit.
Find a flat like piece of a wood and use your knife to cut a channel along its length. Get another dry stick that is about 15 inches in length and with a thickness of that of a pencil. Hold your pencil thick stick at an angle and rub it vigorously up and down the channel.
This friction will create some heated fine dust that should be dropping at the tinder on your fire pit.
Bow drill fire
This method requires you to prepare a bow using a bent stick and drawstring cord, a shoelace or any other kind of a strong string. Make a small hole or depression on a flat piece of wood that will help you to steadily hold your fire stick.
Use one hand to hold the stick on the flat wood and use the other hand to rub the bow against your fire stick to create a rotational movement of the stick until it creates an ember at the small depression the flat wood.
How to start fire with sticks – Things you should know
If you are a beginner camper, there are some few tips that you should know when making a fire with sticks so that it may be easier for you.
When choosing stones to put around your fire pit in order to isolate the fire, not every stone will make a great choice. Look for bog dry stones because if you go for the soft ones, they can overheat and explode hurting those around the fire.
A very big fire is more difficult to sustain that a smaller fire. In addition, an extremely large fire may produce less heat when compared to a much smaller one.
In case you need to keep animals and insects away, add some wet woods in order to produce smoke that will irritate them, thus keeping them at bay.
If you need more light, use soft wood instead of the hardwood as soft wood produces more light.
Use completely dry wood and sticks when starting the fire because they catch fire more quickly. Using semi-dry woods and sticks will only make you frustrated and it may take a very long time before yielding any fruits.
Fire safety – Basic things to observe
As earlier mentioned, safety is crucial when it comes to starting camping fires. If you fail to observe safety precautions first, it can result into great damage resulting from uncontrollable fires, which injure people and the environment.
When starting the fire, ensure that you are prepared to control it in order to prevent the environment and the people around from getting hurt. Isolating the fire in the fire pit might not be as easy as you think. It requires constant monitoring and observing some basic safety precautions.
Here are some basic safety tips that you can use to ensure that your camping fire lighting adventure does not result into a disaster.
Ensure that your fire pit is at least 20 feet away from trees and other vegetation ( especially the dry vegetation). If you think it will act as kindling, it definitely will.
Consider the direction of the wind before preparing your fire pit and lighting the fire. Wind is notorious for spreading campfires, in return turning them into serious wildfires. Do not take this precaution lightly.
Keep any flammable material at least 5 feet away from your fire place. This includes your stuff, your bags and anything else that can catch fire easily. Besides, your electronics can be damaged by heat.
Dig up some soil and heap it just near the fire pit so that it can help you put off the fire in case of an emergency. Always ensure that you keep some water near for the same. If you are camping in an area that is well-supplied with water, fetch some. Do not make the firs near the water though as it may deter animals from coming to drink.
Do not use highly flammable liquid such as gasoline on the fire. Besides, you are making fire with sticks. Why then would you need to carry camping stove fuel?
Always keep a close eye on the fire and never leave it unattended. Do not leave kids or pets all by themselves around the fire.
Once you are done with the fire for example when going to sleep, make sure that you put it off. You can do that by heaping soil on it.
Putting out campfire safely
On their website, the USDA Forest Service gives out the best ways to put out a campfire. When you are done using your fire, it is time to safely put it off completely. Start preparing to put out the fire as early as 20 minutes before going to bed since it may take longer that you think to totally put off the fire.
Allow all the wood in the fire pit to first burn into ashes before doing anything else. To speed up the burning process on any wood that has not yet burnt, poke the fire with a piece of wood. This lets in more oxygen, which rekindles the fire. Once all the wood has burnt into ashes, sprinkle some water around the pit until all the frizzing noise stops. Ensure that you sprinkle the water but you do not pour it because if you flood your fire pit with a whole bucket of water it will be difficult for you to start the fire again the following evening.
As you sprinkle the water, use a stick to stir the ashes, in order to ensure that all of it gets put out. When you no longer hear the hissing sound from the ashes, you are almost done with the process.
Do a touch test by putting the back of your palm close to the ashes. If you still feel some heat coming from the ashes, keep on sprinkling water on it until it is completely cool.
If you are not going to need the fire pit again, patch up the ground by replacing and covering the place with all the soil and materials that you had dug up earlier. Putting back the soil will also help in completely putting off the fire.
Teach your children how to make a fire
Teach your children how to make a fire without using matches or store-bought fuel. It sounds like a simple feat, but it is something that they will never forget. One day, they will also teach their children how to make a fire with nothing. Besides, knowing how to make a fire without modern lights and stuff makes you feel like a real badass dad or mom. After knowing how to start fire with sticks, the next thing you need to know is how to start fire with rocks.