Tips for starting a fire without kindling

Tips for starting a fire without kindling

October 3, 2018 0 By sanzida

When it comes to starting a fire, kindling is very useful. Those small branches of wood often catch on fire quite quickly and they are generally a lot easier to ignite than larger pieces of wood. They will also help those larger pieces of wood ignite. If you want to start your fire, and you don’t have any kindling handy, don’t worry, you can still start your fire, it just might take a little more effort.

You can start a fire without kindling.

The traditional way to start a fire has been to build a small inverted pyramid, this is made from your kindling and you can then add more layers as the fire takes hold. Of course, you need to have lots of kindling ready, and sometimes that isn’t always possible.

If you have no kindling, but you have a pile of good logs sitting there *ready to go* it can be a bit of a problem if you have no kindling handy. While you can try and cut one of your logs into smaller pieces of kindling, that can not only be time consuming, but also extremely difficult, not to mention dangerous.

Commercial fire starters

This is really the *lazy persons* kindling, of course most of your large retailers and hardware stores carry them. They are essentially small slabs of compressed sawdust, but they are quite effective.

Newspaper *knots*

If you have your local newspaper laying around it means you have a free and pretty reliable way to get your fire started. NEVER use magazines, or newspaper magazine inserts – (that glossy paper will not work) Simply take 4 or 5 sheets of newspaper lay them together in a pile and then roll them lengthwise, try and roll them as tightly as you can so they form a small, yet strong *tube*. Now tie the tube into a knot and then tuck the ends back into the knot, you now have a good solid wad of paper. You will need about 4 to 6 of these *knots* to get your fire going – depending on how dry and how big your logs are. Crumple up 3 or 4 sheets of newspaper to put your knots in, then lay some of your smallest logs over the knots. Most of the time the knots will burn long enough to get a good *smoulder* going on, you can always add some more knots if you feel you need to.


Perhaps you have bark laying around in the yard, pieces that have fallen off the neighbour’s tree… don’t throw them in the recycle bin, pile it up somewhere and let it dry, as bark is great at getting a fire started, it usually catches alight well and will burn hot, on the down side it tends to burn quickly. While it’s okay on its own, it works a lot better if you can combine it with a few newspaper knots.

Pine Cones

Depending on where you live, if you are lucky enough to live in the right area, when you see some just laying on the ground, pick them up. They start burning very easily and they burn well, but, not for long, so you’ll need to either have a LOT of them, or again, use them in combination with bark and/or newspaper knots.

Staring a fire from scratch without kindling

  1. Start with a commercial fire starter, they are designed to catch fire quickly and produce a decent sized fire. Place them under or between larger logs of wood, starter logs help larger logs catch fire by slowly burning.
  2. You can use rolled up newspaper – or newspaper knots, place them beneath the logs and between your logs and light them with a match or lighter, you may need to add more paper. Keep an eye on the fire and carefully slide more paper under your log holder if necessary. It’s a good idea to shut the door, or, use a screen when you aren’t adding paper to the fire to prevent small pieces of burning paper flying out.
  3. While you don’t have kindling, you can use smaller logs to start your fire. Use paper beneath the logs and then wait for them to catch fire before adding your larger pieces of wood.
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