When you need a fire the most, is when the conditions to create it will be at their worst. Even if you’ve conquered the art of fire crafting, 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 in 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. 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 or crevices between rocks or under the eves of trees.
Look for covered branches, twigs, or wood that has been kept out of the elements. Good kindling should snap when you bend it. 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.
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. 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. 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?
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.
Below are a few of my favorites with a description of 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.
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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.
Did we miss anything? Do you have another fire starting secret you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below.