One of the best things about camping is FIRE! There is something just so primal and satisfying about building a sitting around one – especially if the hardest you have ever had to forage for food and warmth in life is stumbling to the fridge or pushing the ignite button on a gas heater. Aside from that, there is the obvious practical elements of fire such as providing warmth, light and potentially a place to cook. Further, traditionally, humans who had correctly harnessed the power of fire had better social ties and tighter communities which still holds true today – once everyone’s iPhones batteries have died, there is not much else to do than actually enjoy each others company – crazy! Health wise, there is actually scientific evidence that the trance like state that a crackling fire induces can help relax and reduce blood pressure. Ah-mazing! You don’t need to go on some mega expensive 3 week detox program, camping will do hat all for you and more!
Spending the time to give the fire a good foundation using different sizes of kindle/wood as well as the shaping it well, will make the process a lot easier and ensure the fire burns well throughout the night without much fiddling needed.
Too much newspaper, and the fire will combust quickly and go out quickly. Too many big logs and they won’t catch on fire properly and you’ll constantly battle to get anything going. It’s all about balance my friend and making a sort of pyramid in a well defined hierarchy.
You will need:
Spade or shovel
An area away from tents and cars.
What to collect:
In most camping locations, what you need will most likely be all around you. Start by collecting the debris from around your fire pit as this will help contain the fire in the pit with less chance of the outside leaves and sticks catching fire.
Medium sized rocks to complete a full circle
1 handful Something easy to ignite such as paper, this is a great way to use up used l paper towels, newspaper, cardboard etc.
2 handfuls of Small dry debre such as leaves or grass
A few handfuls of Small sticks
A few handfuls of medium sticks
A few handfuls of large sticks
A few large logs
Surplus of logs or bits of wood to keep the fire going
Long dry stick for fire poking
- 1. Dig a pit approx 1 meter in diameter wide and approx 1/2 a meter deep.
- Place rocks around the circle – these need to be edge to edge to keep the flame contained. Doing half a crescent is also fine if you can’t find many rocks. Do the half moon on the side you are going to sit on.
- Start to create the pyramid in the centre of the hole. First add the newspaper – you want it kind of scrunched up as the air pockets in the scrunched paper helps fuel the fire.
- Over the newspaper place the dry grass.
- Over the dry grass, place the small sticks.
- Over the small sticks, place the medium sticks.
- Over the medium sticks, place the large sticks – keep it all close as you want a nice tight pyramid.
- Light the newspaper with a rolled up piece of paper or small stick in several places. The newspaper will light the grass, which will light the small sticks, which will light the medium sticks, which will light the large sticks.
- Once everything is nice and burny, you can add larger logs to the fire.
- Using a large long stick, you can move around the embers e.g move the sticks over to the side a bit, creating a flatfish area so you can place food on the embers.
- Once the fire is established, just put wood on as you need to keeping in mind when you add more logs on, you don’t want to smother the oxygen from below.
- Let the fire and embers completely die out before going to bed as to not accidentally set alight anything while you are asleep. A quick way to achieve this is to pour water over everything.
- Keep a big bucket of water around the fire just in case.
- Don’t overfill the pit.
- Keep flammable stuff away from the fire – this includes debris, paper, gas etc.
- Long tongs or fireproof gloves can be useful.
- Keep children away from open flames.
- Animals are pretty good at keeping away from the flames however keep an eye on them as they might sleep to close to the fire on cold nights.
- Always check if there is a fire ban in the area you are visiting – igniting the entire Forrest on fire is not cool dude.
- Don’t be a dick – generally chucking gas or doing stupid stuff in a fire may result in a not so awesome permanent new look for your face so… just don’t be stupid.
- Ideally, keep some burn cream or water near by if injuries do occur.
Once you have mastered the awesomeness of making the perfect fire you can sit and relax in front of i or use it to cook! Stay tuned for my posts on making the perfect fire cooked vegetables as well as corn and zucchini fritters!