Think tinder’s just a dating app and kindling’s something to read the latest bestseller on? Time to make like a true outdoors person and crack the tricky art of making fire
Step 1. Prepare your pit
Clear an area of leaves and debris and dig a shallow pit the size of a dinner plate, then lay
a grate of green sticks. The pit means that you are keeping your fire off the damp earth. It also means that when the hot air created by burning your tinder rises, it can draw fresh air into the heart of the fire through the grate.
Step 2. Collect kindling
You need bundles of different sized kindling. It is important that you collect dead sticks and not ‘green’ – it needs to be as dry as possible. The smallest should be no thicker than a match and the next should be finger thick. The third about an inch thick and the fourth bundle should be fuel wood – wrist thick which will burn for half an hour.
Step 3. Ignite your tinder
Split the smallest size kindling into two big handfuls and lay them side by side, leaving a few extra for later. Now ignite your tinder (try birch bark, dried grass or dried bracken)and place on the raft of green sticks.
Step 4. Get it going
Quickly grab the two large bundles of the thinnest sticks and place them one above the other in the tinder’s flames. Only once they have started to burn should you lay them down on the tinder.
Step 5. Create more heat
Fire is a thermal column so it always wants to burn upwards. So once the smallest kindling is underway, place the next sized sticks around the fire in a pyramid formation. This creates more heat.
Step 6. Keep it going
Once these are burning you can place the next sized sticks around the pyramid you’ve created. Grab the sticks you left in step 3. and feed them in to the heart to keep the whole thing going.
Step 7. Build it up
When you have a decent bed of embers, you can start to put bigger wood on. That’s your fire well and truly going. You may want to split the bigger sticks: these are dryer on the inside as they haven’t been exposed to the elements.
Step 8. Control your heat
To get the greatest heat, keep the pyramid formation, but to get the even heat you need for cooking, you may want to lay the next lot of sticks in a flat lattice formation so that they burn evenly and with a controlled heat.