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It should be a mandatory life skill for everyone to learn how to build a campfire without starter fluid. What happens if you get to a campsite and realize you didn’t pack any starter fluid? Are you just unable to have a fire? Not at all! Be prepared with everything you need to know about building a fire from scratch.
Most of what you need for a fire is around a campsite, other than the lighter or matches. If you want to get even more primitive than a gas station BIC, pick up a ferro rod, also known as a fire steel. Then, search around outside for the three main categories of burnable materials: tinder, kindling, and wood.
Tinder includes things like pine needles, dried leaves, and wood shavings. The tinder pieces should be thin and small enough to catch on fire easily. You’ll also need some kindling. Smaller twigs with thicknesses between that of a pencil and a finger work well. Finally, you’ll need larger branches and wood pieces to sustain the fire.
Prepare the Foundation
The secret to building a campfire without starter fluid is to start with solid groundwork. First, place a small pile of tinder in the center of the fire ring. It should be about the size of a bowl and stay compacted together as much as possible.
Next, grab some kindling and construct a teepee shape around the tinder pile. After this, you’re ready to light the tinder to get the fire going. The flames should reach high enough to set the smaller twigs and branches on fire. If they don’t, you might have to add more leaf matter underneath or lower the height of the twig teepee.
Continue To Feed the Fire
Starting the fire is the hardest part. It takes some practice to figure out, but it generally comes naturally to people. As the fire begins to take over the twigs, add some thicker branches to it a little bit at a time. You don’t want to smother the fire too soon, but you also want to continue to feed it more fuel to grow. Eventually, you can add logs as the fire becomes strong enough. Even if you’ve dressed appropriately for a bonfire, it may become warm enough for you to remove some layers at this point.
Creating a campfire might be a little frustrating at first, but it’ll become easier over time.