Top Five Mistakes Campers Make When Building A Fire

Top Five Mistakes Campers Make When Building A Fire

If you think you have enough, go get some more

Making a fire is a skill that has existed as long as civilization, maybe even longer, yet so many people struggle with this simple skill. Building a campfire today is easier than ever. Campers have access to everything from a simple match to candles designed to start a fire. Long gone are the days of rubbing sticks together. Even with these technological advances, I still see some campers struggle when building a fire. Building the perfect fire is a bit of an art. Each fire you make will have to be different. The approach you take to building a fire in the summer is different from the way you build one in the winter. Also, the purpose of the fire will play into how you build it -- you wouldn't build a bonfire to boil water. It's very hard to cover all the different approaches to fire building in one article, so the purpose of this article is to highlight some common mistakes I have seen. Usually you can get away with making a couple of these mistakes on a dry sunny day. When it's raining and snowing, these are the things you have to avoid to successfully build a campfire.

1: Not having enough tinder, kindling and fuel

Tinder is the driest, fluffiest stuff you can find. It's what you'll first ignite to catch the rest of the wood on fire. It can range from pine needles to wood shavings to dryer lint. You can never have enough tinder, especially because some sources, such as pine needles, burn out before they can catch the kindling on fire. What separates kindling from regular fuel wood is its size. Kindling should start off small as twigs to about the diameter of a quarter. Your twigs should be dry, but if they're a little wet it won't hurt it. Before you add any larger wood, your kindling should have burned down to nice hot coals. That's not to say that you should let it burn down to coals, but there should be very hot coals under your fire. A good way to judge this is that the fire feels much hotter than it looks. Then you're ready to start adding larger wood. This entire process falls apart if you don't have enough of one of three kinds of fuel. A good rule of thumb to have is if you think you have enough fuel, go get some more.

2: Building the fire improperly

When you see pictures of fires, you sometimes see that the wood is stacked in a specific way. The common pictures are pyramids, log cabins, and lean-tos. If you stack the wood the way you want it look when it's burning, it will not light. The fire needs room to grow and breathe, and if you cramp it it will die. I start almost all my fires as a few pieces of kindling and tinder mixed together and go from there. In my opinion, it's the best way to create a fire, and the easiest.

3: Smothering the fire

Even though you've collected all those extra fuel sources, you have to be patient when using them. You have to be able to read a fire to tell when it is ready for the wood. If you throw wood in the fire in excess, it will almost always go out. It blocks the airflow and prevents the fire from catching on the other wood. Most people think this is a pretty easy mistake to avoid, because you just stop throwing large pieces on, right? Wrong. Even if you're burning paper or cardboard, you can still smother a fire. When you burn these objects they don't turn into coals, and they don't immediately turn to ash. Instead, they turn into a black, burnt, and fragile version of its former self. Enough of it can clog the airflow and smother the fire.

4: Airflow

We've already discussed the problems smothering a fire by reducing its airflow, but it's much more than that. Airflow is what turns a cigarette butt into a wildfire on a bad day, but can also fuel a bonfire in a rainstorm when you know what you're doing. A fire may never even catch because it lacks airflow. I've seen this most when people try to start a fire in their backyard fire ring that is three feet tall. A tall fire ring on a still day can kill a fire. Usually, however, once the fire gets going, it can stand on its own. To help it along its way you can blow on it. Long smooth breaths on the fire's sweet spot work the best. You know you're hitting the sweet spot when the fire sounds like it's roaring, and flames shoot up after you finish. It's best to work in partners, because after a few breaths you may begin to feel light-headed. Another way to do this is with a metal pipe, as it allows you to focus the air.

5: Burning faster than your gathering

This goes back to "if you think you have enough, go get more". If you're burning straight through your kindling, you may run out before you can burn larger wood. Just like a car without gas, your fire will die down, and you may even have to restart from ashes. In most cases, your fire will get very low before this happens and you can save it. You really only have to worry about this mistake once your fire gets going. Campers tend to think that a fire reaches a point and it no longer needs as much wood or that it's fine without using more wood. As a fire grows it needs more fuel, because it is burning through wood faster than it was previously. Think of it as an athlete; the bigger their muscles get, the more energy they use, the more fuel they will need. You have to be careful though, as adding more wood to a bigger fire won't smother it, it will just make it bigger and harder to control.

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20 Dates That Every Couple Should Go On At Least Once

These date ideas are timeless classics

No matter how long you and your sweetheart have been dating, if you haven't gone on at least half of these classic dates, you are hereby revoked of your "relationship goals" status. Every couple MUST enjoy these activities at least once:

1. The "dinner and a movie" date

Every successful couple has most likely gone on more than one of these timeless dates! It's a staple of the American romantic relationship, really.

2. The "rock out at the concert" date

Dance and sing along with your lover to your favorite artist's best hits (with thousands of people to back you up, of course).

3. The "out and about in nature" date

Drag your darling out into the sunshine to wander aimlessly among the forest or to splash in the ocean waves. Or hike a mountain together and capture proof of your victory with an adorable selfie taken at the top.

4. The "sunrise on the beach" date

Pack plenty of blankets and dress in layers for a late-night campout on the sand. Fall asleep in each other's arms to the sounds of the ocean, but don't forget to wake up in time for the beautiful sunrise!

5. The "dinner at the diner" date

Share an old-fashioned milkshake and a basket of French fries with your sweetheart for a picturesque, memorable meal.

6. The "smile at each other over coffee" date

Give your babe a tour of your favorite café in town, and introduce them to the pure heaven that is your favorite coffee drink.

7. The "big city adventure" date

Find the closest big city to you both and plan a day trip to visit its greatest attractions. Or just go on an improvised adventure and take the streets by storm!

8. The "run around the library" date

Read each other passages from Shakespearean love poem anthologies or mess around and find your favorite picture books in the children's section.

9. The "not-so-candid photoshoot" date

Go somewhere photogenic and have your darling model for you as you snap all of the portraits and candids on your camera.

10. The "picnic in the park" date

Pack a homemade lunch or bring some takeout food to the park for a lovely outdoor lunch. Spread a blanket out on the grass and just enjoy experiencing nature's beauty with your love.

11. The "best friend double-date" date

Get one of your best friends and their bae to join you and yours on your next romantic adventure! The more, the merrier.

12. The "run around the carnival" date

Steal a kiss (or two, or three) at the top of the Ferris wheel. Laugh at how loudly your boyfriend screams on the rollercoaster and hold hands on the carousel, stuffing yourselves with funnel cake after you're good and dizzy.

13. The "hang out at home" date

It could be "Netflix and chill" or even as simple as hanging around in your pajamas with a delivery pizza and some board games to pass the time with. Or you could play with (or against) each other in his favorite video game.

14. The "go out to a party together" date

Let everyone know that you're together with protective arms around each other's waists and strut around like you own the place. You'll be the talk of the party.

15. The "go out for ice cream" date

Because there's never a bad time for ice cream and it's even sweeter when it's enjoyed with someone you adore.

16. The "Applebee's 2-for-$20" date

Put only a small dent in your savings with a dinner date that WON'T empty your pockets, but also won't disappoint!

17. The "at least attempt to study" date

Study together for an exam you both have coming up or work on your own homework in each other's company. At least TRY to focus without taking too many "study breaks"...

18. The "sneak into the playground at night" date

Relive your childhood and wreak havoc in the elementary school playground when no one's around to judge the two of you as you push each other on the swings and slide down the slide.

19. The "ice skating (and sliding)" date

Watch each other try to impress one another with your ability to remain upright on the ice for longer than twenty consecutive seconds. It'll be comforting to know that your sweetie's arm is right there for you to grab onto.

20. The "4th of July fireworks" date

Kiss your lover right there under the exploding night sky for a magical moment that neither of you will ever forget.

Call up your boo and tell them to scrap whatever plans they had for tonight; you've got quite a long list to get started on.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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If Your Man Isn't Obsessed With You, Find You A New Man

Know your worth and move on.

OK, so maybe "obsessed isn't the right word," because personally, I am not trying to deal with some Edward Cullen, Mr. Grey or stalker shit (in real life, not as romantic as it sounds I'm sure). It is important to spend quality alone time, and not have a controlling, together 24/7 relationship because, trust me, I too am trying to lay on my bed, wrapped in a towel in solitude, after a shower, and watch three hours worth of baby sloth YouTube videos.

However, in a dating world full of swipe rights and double taps as flirting, it's hard not to settle for less than we should be receiving. Myself included, and my most beautiful, golden, "the-sunshines-follows-them-when-they-walk" friends, have settled for guys that treat them way less than mediocre. Perhaps we don't even apprehend what we are doing. Like in "Perks of Being a Wallflower," they say "we accept the love we think we deserve."

For example, you and your new guy hit it off pretty well at your first lunch date, and now you've entered an exciting, yet slightly anxious "talking stage." Now you're grabbing froyo with your gal pal and you're filling her in on your new guy. You tell her about your date, how great, funny, smart he is and how well things are going.

Two or maybe three weeks later, you and your friend catch up again. She hears all about the same guy, and but there's a sticky situation, a little doubt in your mind present: "Do you think he likes me?" When the initial nerve-racking, yet giddy talking stage is over, you and your new guy may be more comfortable with each other. Maybe you're both trying to establish if this is going to go any further or if it ends here.

However, by this point, the two paths should be clear and concise. "Maybe he is bad at texting?" Sure, no one has to be up each other's butts all day and ending the millennials' phone addiction isn't a bad thing, but if he isn't responding to your plans or seeing how your day was at all — he just isn't that into you. "He told me he is really spontaneous, he hates sticking to plans.."

Yeah, I love getting vanilla ice cream cones down by the beach at 2 a.m. too, but if he bails on your date 30 minutes before to hang with his friends — he just doesn't care. The harsh truth, believe me, I know, but if you're wondering if he likes you, time to ditch. If he likes you, you'll know. If you're worth his time, he will make the effort. If he cares, he will wish you Merry Christmas, or good luck on your exam. And if not, don't ask yourself the question, "does he like me" but instead ask, "what's not to like?" His loss, move on and accept you deserve better.

The first step to finding genuine, true love is knowing your worth.

Don't settle for 3 a.m. texts.

Don't go over to his apartment when he hasn't answered you all day. Tell him to take the 10-minute drive to yours, instead of going to his place every night. If he doesn't want to? I guess he didn't want to see you that much.

Don't settle for a someone who keeps calling it on and off just because they "aren't sure" if you're the one — instead, realize they aren't the one for you.

I am not concurring that we all need to be demanding, interrogating, bossy, narcissistic or high maintenance at all. In fact, this goes both ways, guys should know their worth too.

Don't accept any guy that will play with your feelings, hurt you in a vicious, endless cycle, or treat you anything less than how you would want to be treated. A relationship goes both ways. You are equals. If your man is obsessed with you, he will want to make you smile. He will know the value of spending time together, but also giving you your space and time apart.

Love is patient and love is kind. Love should energize you and make you feel alive, not drain you of who you are. Love is understanding of mistakes and knows we are only human. Love is sacrifice and knowing there is any other person out there whose happiness is just as important as there own.

So if you're second-guessing if he's into you, if he is genuine, if he is putting in the effort, then tell that boy "bye," and as Beyoncé would say, "Partner, let me upgrade you."

Cover Image Credit: Olivia DeLucia

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