The Complete Guide to Making a Fire in Any Weather Condition

Fire making is very ancient. It is a skill that humans have lost especially now with all the modernization. Not many people can start a fire outdoors with tinder.

How to Make a Fire

Finding the right tinder

Pines first spruce and most other needle-bearing trees are excellent for any kind of weather, but particularly wet weather because the wood has a sticky sap. This flammable pitch allows a fire to grow. So stick with the sticky stuff that's under a protective canopy of these trees. It's dry and it's sticky and great for wet weather fire.

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If you can't find pines to light your fire with, you can purchase these Tinder-Quik Fire Tabs from Amazon. Since you would most likely be in a survival situation, use the tabs sparingly!

Peel it back until exposed

The bark is the tree's protective structure, it can save a tree from perishing in a forest fire.  Likewise, it can impede your ability to burn a good fire. So peel bark away from your sticks and kindling to expose the dry wood underneath.

how to make a fire
Dry twigs burning

Make sure this wood is from dry trees. Keep thinking dry. Green tinder or sticks/branches just cut from a tree will not only smoke but will sometimes put out a flame.

Choosing wood and kindling

Choose wood that is kindling or split. You want wood that is exposing the inner wood this will light faster.   Often when you see stacks of wood, you'll see that bark has been removed and that it's split open.

how to make a fire

Throw another log on, doesn't mean tossing on a chuck of whole wood which not only will burn unevenly, but sometimes won't burn at all.

Teepee Towers

Think teepee! Fire doesn't do well when it's flat. Building a cone or a teepee of small twigs and keep building as the flame grows. Those spaces between logs allow the fire to breathe.

how to make a fire , teepee camp fire
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Also, you aren't creating something massive, that can be hard to control   Smaller and more contained teepees are the way to go, not only for manageability but safety.


The Hand Drill

The hand drill strategy is a primitive method and the hardest method of how to make a fire. It takes time and a certain amount of strength and speed. Have a small flat board and create a notch in it this is your fireboard. Then take a stick that the bark is removed and a point and surround it with some tinder on the fireboard.

hand drill , how to make a fire
Photo Courtesy: Outdoor Life

Go back and forth and back and forth or spin it in a circle with your hands moving it back and forth and eventually the friction will create a small fire. It's doable but not an easy task to learn.

Bow Drill

A bow drill is a bit more proficient but is less demanding because it creates fiction faster. Create a small sturdy bow with some flexible greenwood, and a little bit of cord from either your hiking boots or some string this will help you spin the drill faster and have a better chance of creating a flame.

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Stone and steel

Flint is the usual standby and flint and steel can be carried in a pocket.  But most solid Rock will do though not as well. Having a bit of steel and some form striking the stone against the steel near a small tender nest will catch the spark.

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Steel wool and a battery

If you smooth out the steel wool, make sure there's no soap residue on it, have it at least an inch wide rub a battery on the wool.   As the wool starts to ignite put some tinder on the wool and help the fire along by blowing on it slightly to create a bigger fire.

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In modern times we have advantages: fire starters fire packets fire paste and even cotton balls that are soaked in oil. Or even lint from home. These things can turn a cold or wet weather situation into something easy.Duracell - CopperTop AAA Alkaline Batteries - Long Lasting, All-Purpose Triple A Battery for Household and Business - 20 Count

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Wind -While Making a Fire

Know where the wind is coming from.  Windy days can be difficult to light a fire but if you sit with the wind at your back and light the fire and let the flames travel through your sticks and through your kindling, you can use the wind to get your fire going faster. Also by shielding your fire from the wind protects that fragile flame.

Bottoms up

Fire rises heat rises. So when you have a match or a lighter touch the material at the bottom of your pile. I can't fire isn't a candle don't try to like the top it will never work.

Tinder is your friend. Tinder is a light dry fluffy element whether it's milkweed or a light and fluffy plant, dried flowers, lint from your dryer, cotton balls. These small things can save a failing fire or start a new one.

The ancients treated fire like a living creature if you do too. Knowing what it likes and feeding it where it needs to be fed you'll be a world-class fire builder.