Camping in cold weather? A roaring campfire is more than just a source of warmth; it’s a centerpiece for storytelling, a beacon in the wild, and a crucial element for cooking. But starting a fire in the cold can be a daunting task. Fear not, intrepid campers! Here are some indispensable hacks to get your fire going, even when the mercury drops.
Choose the Right Spot
Your fire pit is your foundation. In cold weather, look for a spot sheltered from the wind. Clear any snow, and if the ground is frozen, lay down a platform of rocks or green logs to insulate your fire from the cold ground.
The Power of a Good Tinder Bundle
Starting a fire in cold weather requires keen attention to your tinder – the small, easily combustible materials that catch fire quickly. Dry grass, birch bark, and pine needles are excellent natural tinders. For an extra boost, bring along some cotton balls dipped in petroleum jelly.
Feather Sticks for Flame
In damp conditions, feather sticks can be a game-changer. Whittle a stick to create thin shavings still attached at one end. These ‘feathers’ catch fire more easily than whole sticks, helping to build your flame.
The Lean-To Fire Lay
Structure your firewood smartly. The lean-to fire lay protects your tinder from the elements. Lean kindling against a larger log, with your tinder nest underneath. This setup shields your flame as it grows.
Keep Your Matches Dry
Wet matches are a camper’s nightmare. Store your matches in a waterproof container or zip-lock bag. Better yet, bring along a weatherproof firestarter like a magnesium fire starter or a waterproof lighter.
Fuel Up Gradually
Start small and be patient. Begin with your tinder and small twigs, gradually adding larger pieces of wood. Adding too much too soon can smother your fledgling fire.
Portable Fire Starters
For a foolproof fire, bring along some commercial fire starters. These are designed to burn for a long time, even in wet conditions, giving your fire a sustained start.
Practice Safe Fire Ethics
Always remember to practice Leave No Trace principles. Keep fires manageable, never leave them unattended, and completely extinguish your fire before breaking camp.
A successful fire can make or break a cold-weather camping trip. With these hacks, you’ll be ready to face the chill head-on and enjoy the unique beauty of camping in the colder months. So gather your gear, embrace the challenge, and let the warm glow of your campfire light up your winter adventure.
By Stanislav Kondrashov