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  1. #1
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    Default Fire Starting Tips, Tricks and Techniques

    Hey y'all, care to pass down some knowledge on tips and tricks for building fires quickly and efficiently? Particularly interested in building fires in wet conditions

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    Preparation is important. Have your wood ready--tiny pieces, medium pieces, larger pieces. Wood is usually dry on the inside so slice off wet bark, or split open bigger pieces.

    If you need a fire started in a foolproof manner, use a small tealight candle or a fire starter or heat tab.

  3. #3

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    yep couple birthday candles, make your Tee Pee out of dryest you can find.
    I am a big fan of shows like alone, and naked and afraid. Quire frequently though self proclaimed experts fail for days to build fires with primitive means, or even with modern fire starters in wet conditions.
    The real bone head moves I have seen on Naked and Afraid (show allows you 1 item) so genius brought his home made bow and drill fire starter,,, you know vs a machete to make one, or even a dang Zippo lighter,,,, yeh they didnt make it.
    On another show where they are allowed 10 items, one guy was the first ever not to bring a fire starter, but it allowed him to bring a gill net,, took him about 3 days if I recall to start a fire.

    So lesson, couple candles, and a mini bic lighter, and a pack of water proof strike anywheres in water proof containers in different parts of your gear.. Frequently fire can really be a matter of life and death,, pays to have a couple different methods on hand.

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    In addition to the good advice above

    IDK about wet, but pinecones burn well if you can find them where you'll be. Nature's firestarters.

    My experience in wet conditions is that you need a lot of small stuff and a lot of patience. You need to burn a LOT of twigs to get a bed of coals that will be hot enough to get the larger stuff to catch. You'll be constantly feeding it and blowing on it. A Pocket Bellows or similar might be a good tool to have for that.

  5. #5
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    A couple of good firestarters: cotton balls saturated with vaseline (if you use an alcohol stove just bring cotton balls and a few extra ounces of alcohol), or Fritos (and you can eat what you don't need!).

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    Lightbulb More specifically

    As DeadEye noted. a few cotton balls rubbed in petroleum jelly, then stored in a small plastic bag -- all things you can buy at a dollar store -- will burn hot for a few minutes even in the wettest conditions.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCy0Trjj3JA
    Combine with a fire-stick
    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Light-My-...range/37388847
    and you'll be able to get a fire started even after all your gear is underwater for an hour, and your hands are starting to shiver from the cold.

    I also dip part of the cotton ball in a little bit of alcohol fuel prior to striking my fire stick -- the fumes catch fire from the spark, the vaseline catches fire from alcohol flame, and then you've got a flame to ignite your tinder.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by cmax4 View Post
    Hey y'all, care to pass down some knowledge on tips and tricks for building fires quickly and efficiently? Particularly interested in building fires in wet conditions
    In wet conditions I will see if I can find something dry around to start (eg: around here, dead branches/twigs on the bottom of a spruce tree or any birch bark).
    If that fails, I will find some small twigs and sticks and the lighter colored barkless ones that snap easily tend to be dry enough and burn well. If necessary when really wet, you could scrape off some wet wood layers with a knife
    After that, it's just keeping those optical small sticks going and not getting ahead of yourself. It's easy to put the whole out after your hard work!

  8. #8
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    Dead trees still standing while raining is a good source for dry wood, most rain runs off rather thensoak in.

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    I look for twigs and branches that are elevated off the forest floor, leaners or stuck in the dirt but standing up. Once you get something going, keep somewhat larger pieces close around the perimeter to steam dry. Either in the firepit or suspended across the firering rocks or on the grate. Monitor the steam levels, too much steam and the fire starts to choke out. You may need to go back to adding smaller pieces at that point to kick up the heat. Helps to fan the steam away too.
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    Would a plastic straw be considered a type of bellows?


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    Lots of good info here, might sound crazy but I found something that's worked good a few times when real wet out. I try to find some big branch/small log pieces that aren't like a sponge and put them on the bottom. Then build the fire little by little starting tiny on top of that. Seemed to help the coals build faster and eventually became a massive slow burning coal. It's good if the bottom pieces are wet just not to the point where it will put it out.
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  12. #12

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    As a little girl I used to go outside after a good hard rain and see if I could find dry materials to start a fire. At the time I was using stick matches and I only allowed myself 3 matches or I would consider myself failed. I got really GOOD at this. And no, I never set the woods on fire. You need to practice but it's not hard. If I had a lighter I have really never failed. There's "always" dry material to be found if you are actually in the woods.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LazyLightning View Post
    Lots of good info here, might sound crazy but I found something that's worked good a few times when real wet out. I try to find some big branch/small log pieces that aren't like a sponge and put them on the bottom. Then build the fire little by little starting tiny on top of that. Seemed to help the coals build faster and eventually became a massive slow burning coal. It's good if the bottom pieces are wet just not to the point where it will put it out.
    You want a good base to start the fire on like this not in the mud.
    Pine trees usually have dead branches and tree sap and dead pine needles are good fire starter. Dead mountain laurel and rodos to make good fire starting material.
    If it's raining all day and you're walking stick a baggie in your pocket and when you take a break find dry material and stuff the baggie full of dry leaves, pine needles, pinecone etc.

  14. #14

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    1. A lighter
    2. A ziploc bag filled with cotton balls or dryer lint saturated with vaseline
    3. Wood ready to go. As someone mentioned already, have your kindling and then small/medium pieces gathered and ready before you start.

    If everything is soaking wet, like it's still raining and you're soaked, you'll need a knife to slice off piece of wood until you get to the dry wood inside. Otherwise, the cotton balls will burn loud and proud for about three minutes a piece. That should be plenty of time to get things going. As the fire is starting, get the next size logs ready by placing them around the fire so they can dry out.

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    A couple of good firestarters: cotton balls saturated with vaseline (if you use an alcohol stove just bring cotton balls and a few extra ounces of alcohol), or Fritos (and you can eat what you don't need!).



    my personal no fail fire starter recipe is to fill a paper egg carton (not the lid) with sawdust...

    then pour melted wax over it....

    let it harden...

    and there's a fire starter that will last about an hour or more....

    hasnt let me down yet in the 40 years i've been using it this way....


    (the last batch i made, i had over 13 dozen..........til my landlord tossed all of my stuff away earlier this summer)

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    Dead trees still standing while raining is a good source for dry wood, most rain runs off rather thensoak in.



    that's what i was taught in scouts...

    along with looking for dead branches in a still standing tree.....

    water is not really getting absorbed and/or dries off more quickly on twigs that are elevated....

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    my personal no fail fire starter recipe is to fill a paper egg carton (not the lid) with sawdust...

    then pour melted wax over it....

    let it harden...

    and there's a fire starter that will last about an hour or more....

    hasnt let me down yet in the 40 years i've been using it this way....


    (the last batch i made, i had over 13 dozen..........til my landlord tossed all of my stuff away earlier this summer)
    Under the same theory: use a cupcake holder and use saw dust, dryer lint and wax , repeat layers. If you can't get a fire going with that ......

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    Under the same theory: use a cupcake holder and use saw dust, dryer lint and wax , repeat layers. If you can't get a fire going with that .....


    yeah......basically the same recipe.......

    i've had them last an hour or more, and help dry out some wet wood before catching flame and
    getting the fire going....

    and it's a good way to recycle stuff that normally very little use elsewhere....

  19. #19

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    The top down method works well, especially if the ground is wet.

    In the Northeast, some White Birch bark (the kind that comes off the tree in big sheets) and a splash of alcohol does the trick nicely. I collect some birch bark during the day as I go along the trail. There never seems to be the right kind of tree near the shelter or campsite. Silver birch isn't nearly as good.

    If your at an established fire pit, there's always enough small pieces of wood laying around near-by. If it's a shelter, it tends to collect in front of the building. How well used the site is will determine how far you have to forge for larger pieces to burn. In some places, it can be a 1/4 mile!
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoaknWet View Post
    Dead trees still standing while raining is a good source for dry wood, most rain runs off rather thensoak in.
    It's also illegal in many places to use anything but dead and downed wood.

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