Every bushcraft basecamp should have a fire. You’ll use it for light at night, heat in cold weather, for cooking, comfort, and to deter wildlife. Everyone who does bushcraft should know how to start a fire. Starting a fire with a flint & steel is a popular method of getting fire at your bushcraft campsite. Here’s how to build a roaring fire:
1. Clear Debris from Fire Area
Fire safety is important when building a fire in nature. The last thing you want is to inadvertently start a wildfire. Before building a fire, plan where the campfire will be, and remove all grass, sticks, and other debris from the area. You’ll want a wide circle (at least 8-9 feet diameter) clear of all flammable items.
If you’re planning on building a semi-permanent fire pit, dig into the ground so that when you place the fire pit base stones in place, they’ll be level with the ground. You can also line the planned fire pit with stones to create a rock wall.
2. Collect Kindling
After you know where your fire will be, it’s time to collect kindling for your fire. Kindling generally consists of dry brush or extremely thin sticks that will catch a spark easily. The key is to look for dry kindling – the drier it is, the easier it will be to start your fire. Collect a little extra kindling than you think you’ll need in case you need to stoke the flame before the fire gets going. Generally, two big handfuls of dry kindling should be enough to start a fire.
Take some of your driest kindling and make a tinder bundle – a nest-shaped bundle of very dry materials like dried grass or shredded bark. The larger materials should be on the outside of the “nest” while the finer, more flammable materials are on the inside. Make sure your bundle has a hollowed out center (like a nest) to protect your spark or ember from wind and rain.
3. Make a Spark
Once the kindling is ready, you need to make a spark. You’ll use your bushcraft knife and
If you’re using a flint that has a block of magnesium, here’s an extra trip that will make fire-starting even easier. Simply use your knife to shave a few magnesium shavings and mix them in with your wood shavings before lighting with sparks. The magnesium catches much easier and will help you light even damp kindling.
4. Grow Your Fire
Once you have your spark, it’s almost ready to grow into a fire.
Alternate Bushcraft Basecamp Methods for Making Fire Without a Flint
Without a flint, there are still a few ways you can get a fire going at your basecamp. Here’s a brief overview of how you can start a fire using the bow drill method or the hand drill method.
Start a Bushcraft Fire with a Hand Drill
The hand drill is one of the most basic
Using a Bow Drill to Start a Fire
The bow drill is a modified version of the Hand Drill method. The bow drill method provides better grip and leverage but does require some additional construction and materials to make. A bow drill has a hand rest installed at the top of the drill and creates the friction using a bow to turn the drill. To make the bow, tie a piece of string to one end of a stick, wrap the string around the drill once, and then tie the other end of the string to the opposite end of the stick to form a bow shape. Turn the drill by holding the bow firmly and making a sawing motion. This will spin the drill and create friction between the drill tip and fire board. Follow the same steps of transferring to your tinder bundle once you have an ember.
Flint & steel, a hand drill or bow drill are three basic bushcraft basecamp methods for starting a fire for your bushcraft basecamp. There are a variety of bushcraft firestarters on the market that can make starting a fire easier. Of course, you could always use matches or a lighter, but many people enjoy starting a fire with
Do you have any firecraft tips?