Building & Maintenance Of Firewood For Hikers

If you are one of those outdoor enthusiasts who love to explore the wilderness, there are certain qualities you should be well versed with. How to start a fire and its maintenance is indeed a useful skill which comes handy during a survival condition. Read on to understand the do’s and don’ts while building a fire.

Firewood For Hikers

Places To Avoid To Build A Fire

Avoid building a fire where wood resources are not in abundance, for instance, on top of the tree line. Remote villages must be avoided too as the locals have more requirement of wood than you. If you suspect a possibility of danger due to fire, avoid such places. Know the restrictions and regulations of fire in the area where you wish to hike. Keep the weather conditions in mind as there have been cases of bush fire mainly due to hiker’s ignorance on warning signals such as dry and hot winds.

Firewood Collection

To collect firewood, you need to combine kindling, tinder and large wood pieces. The initial spark mainly comes from tinder, which are the dry leaves, grass, bark strips, pine needles and more. The small twigs contribute towards raising the flame. The bigger the wood pieces, the stronger the fire would be. Ensure that the kindling and tinder are dry always. Collection of tinder especially in wet conditions should be done before the camp is made. Look for it underneath the logs or hanging rocks and towards the base of trees.

There is yet another option which is to locate wood sticks that are not too wet. Trim them down till you get dry wood. If the shaving is finer, it becomes easier to start a fire. Irrespective of the weather conditions, an emergency fire starter must be carried. You can also use the best camping knives that are designed to split or snap wood sticks. Keep in mind that the wood should not be rotten or soggy.

Fire Starters

There have been instances when hiker has found it difficult to get kindling or dry tinder. In such scenarios, it is best to make use of an emergency fire starter. Some of the most reliable options include the cotton balls coated with Vaseline, dry lint, and more.

How To Prepare A Fire

The first step is to look for a covered spot and clear all dried grass leaves or twigs. Ensure that the surface is completely cleared and place a fire blanket or a groundsheet. The stuff-sack can be filled with mineral soil and the same can be collected from a riverbed. The content of the bag must be poured onto the sheet and form a mound. The depth of the mound matters as it helps to insulate the ground underneath from damages caused due to fire. Tuck the corners of the groundsheet below the mound as this helps to safeguard embers from causing any damage to the material.

Fire Maintenance

Before starting the fire, remember some of the key points which include appropriate wood, adequate airflow and sustained heat. One of the simplest methods to start a fire has been briefed below.

  • Place a small quantity of tinder at the centre of the mound. There should be enough space for the twigs as lighting the tinder is simpler. 
  • Once the fire starts to catch, keep adding larger wood pieces slowly and ensure that the firewood has good airflow always.
  • Make use of dry wood at the beginning and when the fire is all set, you can consider wood that may be slightly damp. 

Thus, these are some of the useful tips on starting and maintain firewood.

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