Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How To: Fire Building Materials

In this brief discussion I'll explain the three essential materials needed for any wilderness fire: Tinder, Kindling, and Fuel.

1. Tinder

 Tinder is the most important material needed to ensure your fire started the way it should. For tinder you want to find dry leaves, grass, bark, moss, or paper. Your tinder must be completely dry since it needs to light with just an ember or spark. Spend a good amount of time gathering enough tinder to get a good start. Once you're ready to start you want to break up the material as much as possible so you have a lot of surface area. You want to make a tinder ball to catch your spark or ember so you can blow it into flame. A good tip is to collect tinder as your hike and put it inside your coat so it drys before you get to camp.

2. Kindling

Kindling is the next material you need to have on stand by. Kindling consists of small twigs and sticks. They should be no bigger than your pinky in width. You can also use wood chips from larger pieces of wood if dry twigs aren't available. Once your tinder ball ignites you want to start adding kindling to it. Start slow so you don't put out your fire. You want to have a lot of kindling ready before you start so you can get your fire started. Once you get enough kindling burn your coals will build up and your fire will produce a lot more heat. Start with the smallest kindling you have and move up until you get to the next martial: Fuel.

3. Fuel

The final material used in fire making is fuel. This material is one of the most important when it comes to sustaining your fire. Fuel should be around the size of your wrist or bigger so that it burns slower but also burns completely. If you use larger logs make sure your rotate them so they burn evenly and completely. A good source of fuel are dead trees, look for those along your path to camp. If you want to keep your fire going all night make sure you have enough fuel to make it through the night. The worst thing to do in a survival situation is for you to head out at night and leave your partner. Even the most experienced backpackers can get lost in familiar areas at night.

The time spent gathering and preparing materials will determine how successful your fire is. The more time your spend at the beginning will offer the greatest pay off in the end. 

Learn. Explore. Survive. 

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