Do you always need kindling to start your fire?October 3, 2018
Starting a fire can be a tricky task as it is a multi-step process. Not only will you have to stack and arrange your firewood right to ensure a long burn, the quality of kindling is also important to ignite the perfect fire you can be proud of.
Whether you want to light a fire for warmth or cooking, it is essential that the kindling you’re using is completely dry. Maybe kindling is even the most important ingredient for lighting the perfect fire but commonly the one least paid attention to. There are great suppliers in Australia, who offer bags of high-quality hardwood kindling containing a mix of Iron Bark, Red Gum and Blood Wood. Remember the kindling should go at the very bottom of your stack, arranging the smaller pieces first and then finish off with larger pieces and bigger logs once the fire is burning. Also, keep in mind that the fire needs to breathe, hence arranging the firewood too tightly will not only prevent oxygen from coming in but prevent the fire from lighting up in the first place. If you want to light your fire in the fireplace at home, make sure your flue is open as this is one of the common mistakes made.
Especially when camping you might find it difficult to light a fire as the firewood you find might be moist and not catch flames this easily. And what about when there’s no kindling at hand for the wood to catch fire? The best substitutes are small, very dry sticks or branches of softwood to ignite the bigger pieces. There is also the possibility to roll up a newspaper and tie a knot for the tight paper to burn slowly. If you brought lint with you this is another great substitute for kindling, especially when combined with a toilet paper roll. Place the lint in the centre of the cardboard roll and light the inside.
This way the fire will burn towards the exterior and let the piled wood catch fire. Dry pine needles and cones, small pieces of tree bark and dry debris such as leaves and dry moss are another great organic kindling that you might meet when wanting to light a fire in the great outdoors. Bark will catch fire very quickly and also burn for a long time. Even if you’ve never thought about it, potato chips make great kindling too. Imagine you could start a fire with your favourite snack that will make the fire burn for approximately three minutes.
Stacking and arranging firewood to give off the nice burn you want might take some practice but there are a couple of popular methods that are not only efficient but foolproof.
The tepee method is maybe the best-known one to start a fire as it is very effective. Place kindling in the centre and arrange the logs around it in a cone shape. This way the bigger pieces will fall into the middle during the burning process and feed it. Although giving off intense heat, the tepee method might not be the one you want to use when aiming for a long night as the wood will burn very quickly. Remember it sometimes only needs a spark to light a fire.
If you want to cook something over the campfire, stacking logs the log cabin method might be your best bet. Place two sticks of wood on the ground and pile another two sticks parallel on the first layer to form a square. Keep stacking each layer to forms the four walls, always alternating direction each layer. This way the fire burns like a chimney and will give off consistent heat.