If you are planning on exploring the outdoors in the less than desirable conditions, then one of the most vital things you can be proficient in is how to build and light a fire in bad weather, as this is arguably when you’ll need it the most. On the flip side of the coin, these conditions can present tricky fire-starting conditions, therefore it’s important to take these tips away with you.
If you’re out in adverse weather and there’s no time to spare, you want to be able to whip up a fire, lickety split. Collect sufficient fuel, render kindling, utilise tinder and ignite to stay warm – these are the main objectives here.
The objectives we outlined above need to be achieved in that order, simply due to the fact that the secret of generating a warming fire is to build it from the outside in.
First things first
Gathering fuel for your fire comes first. By doing this you will be ensuring warmth, a critical cog in the wheel of holding on with those all-important steady hands to get the fire started when the time comes. Do this in daylight or you’ll be making life hard for yourself. If you have a fire lasting all night in mind, then you’ll need to collect as many logs as it would take to reach your waist from the floor up. Assuming you don’t have an axe, you’ll have to stockpile deadfall and then break it up by wedging the ends between two trees and pulling to break it into more manageable sizes.
All the small things
If you’re out and the snow comes in, you won’t have time to forage for dry grass or fungus to use as tinder, therefore you should be prepared and pack tinder to take out with you. Consider using cotton balls that have been smeared with Vaseline; this is arguably the best form of pre-made tinder you can have with you.
Get yourself a large handful of bark shavings, and loose wood that has come from your kindling splits, and place the tinder on it. Once you’ve done this, loosely cover the tinder with more loose wood shavings. Construct your kindling into a tepee around the tinder. You want to start with a good foundation, so kick things off with the smallest twigs from your pile and work your way up to kindling that is around the same thickness as your thumb.
Time to ignite!
There are several ways to light your fire up, but the best ways to get the fire started in the adverse conditions is to use a butane lighter that offers a strong flame that is nice and tall, which can be paired with a sparking steel that can toss out a shower of white-hot sparks, which will combat the windy conditions you may be faced with.
If you want to know how big your fire should be, envisage it being as long as your body, then sure it up with a wall of rocks or logs that help reflect the heat back at you. If you have a few green logs to hand, toss them on as they’ll last longer, ensuring you have a cosy night under the stars on your own glamping or camping trip, no matter the conditions.
Important things to remember to pack:
- Cotton makeup balls/pads smeared in Vaseline
- Butane lighter
- Sparking steel