How To Start A Fire In Rain With Wet Wood

how to start a fire ft image

August 2, 2023 / Comments (3)

Survival Skills

When you need a fire the most, the conditions to create it will be at their worst. Even if you've conquered the art of firecraft, it can all go to hell when a little rain is added to the mix.

So what do you do when the weather is working against you and getting a fire going doesn't seem to be on the cards?  These 5 tips could keep you high and dry:

How To Start A Fire: Building Fire On A Rainy Day

Your body is in a constant state of losing heat, and most of the time, that's a good thing.  But when it's cold, wet, and rainy, as little as 3 hours could be a death sentence.

Hypothermia can happen at temperatures as warm as 50 degrees.  Your best bet is to get a fire going fast.  But how do you do that when everything is soaking wet?

1. Find Dry Tinder

Tinder is any flammable substance that has a large surface area, can take a spark, and burns hot enough to dry out and ignite your larger kindling.  This can be anything from dried grass, pine needles, or moss to the shaved denim on your jeans or even lint from your socks.

Find A Tinder | How To Start A Fire In Wet Conditions

The key is that it has the most surface area possible and that it is dry.  It doesn't matter how much tinder you gather; if it's soaking wet, it will never take a spark. If you don't have tinder on you, look for it in covered areas that have been out of the downpour, such as the crooks of trees, crevices between rocks, or under the eves of trees.

Be prepared and make your own Tinder here.

2. Kindling

Look for covered branches, twigs, or wood that has been kept out of the elements.  Good kindling should snap when you bend it.

Kindling | How To Start A Fire In Wet Conditions

If it bends or splits but does not snap… keep looking for more kindling.  Also, never assume that you have enough kindling…. just how much is enough? Check out our guide on How To Build A Campfire.

campfire infographic 20170904 Survival Life Everything You Need to Know About Building the Perfect Campfire 1

3. Dry Ground

Next, you'll need to find or create a dry platform for your fire. The optimal place would be inside a cave, but you could also hang a high tarp to prevent the rain from reaching your campfire.

Dry Ground | How To Start A Fire In Wet Conditions

If you have tinfoil in your kit, it makes a perfect barrier to ground moisture.  Nothing will put your fire out faster than wet ground.  If you don't have any tinfoil, laying down a small pile of dry kindling under your tinder could keep your fire lit long enough to catch your fuelwood.

4. Organize Your Fuel

Keeping your campfire organized is the key to a good, long-lasting fire.  Make sure that you have access to enough fuelwood to keep the fire going through the night.

Organize Your Fuel | How To Start A Fire In Wet Conditions

The worst thing you can do at this point is to get a fire going just long enough to run out of fuel in the middle of the night leaving you scrambling dangerously in the dark.

Speaking of fuelwood… Which one works best for a fire?

Fire wood types infographic fireplace tinder kindling 2

Image Courtesy of

5. Start Your Fire

The next step is to choose the type of fire you're going to build… When it comes to campfires, you've got options.

Start Your Fire | How To Start A Fire In Wet Conditions

Below are a few of my favorites with a description of when to use them:

How to build a campfire infographic

Image courtesy of Atlas and Boots – 4 Best Campfires and when to use them

Once you're all set and ready to get a roaring fire, a standard Bic lighter is your best bet. But don't worry… No lighter? No problem. Here are 5 Natural Firestarters you can use.

Creating a friction fire is another skill you should keep in your mental armory…. It's the one thing that will work when all else fails (but it does require a ton of practice!)

Check out this video to learn how to start a fire by friction:

No matter how long you've been practicing fire craft, getting a fire going is never a sure bet.  But with a lot of practice and built-in redundancy will go a long way to help you out.

How To Start A Fire In Rain With Wet Wood

Did we miss anything? Do you have another fire starting secret you'd like to share?  Let us know in the comments below.

Up next: Don't fall for THIS Cold Weather Survival Hazard 

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on August 17, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

3 Responses to :
How To Start A Fire In Rain With Wet Wood

  1. I have two weather treated jacket’s that resist moisture and both have 2(one each side) weather lined and insulated zippered pocket’s on the inside front-side’s. When I use to do a lot of camping, I carried cedar shaving’s(mid to large/2″–$” in length) in one of the pocket’s and a small note pad in the other. Also had thin cut cedar shaving’s and small thin starter split’s-6 to 8: 1/2″x6″ in the bugout bag. Helps to repel and keep bugs out of your bag and tent also if carrying food. Just don’t be offended if everything smells like cedar. I like it! Good luck.

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