Understanding just how to start a fire is an important skill. However knowing how to do it in the rain is an impressive skill. Whether you’re a frequent camper or an avid explorer, it’s a crucial ability to have. In an emergency, it might quite possibly make the difference between life or death, as fire gives not only heat, but food also. With the pointers below you will never be without fire, even on cold and wet night.
1. Find a protected area that will allow you remain dry and cozy, like a rock face or in a grove of trees. You can even string a tarp in between trees, but make sure it is high enough so it doesn’t catch on fire. In gusty weather, dig a pit for your fire to be in; the more powerful the wind, the deeper your pit has to be.
2. Gather tinder. When it rains there are usually areas that can still have dry (or drier) kindling. Search for a location with natural cover to find completely dry wood, great places can be a leaning rock, fallen tree, or under the branches of an evergreen. If those areas don’t result in dry tinder, then try pine needles which dry quickly or the inside of tree bark. Of course you should always have your own firestarter with you too. Collect more wood than you expect so you don’t have to repeat the process again later.
3. Make sure wood is dry enough to light. For kindling, try to snap it to expose the inside. For branches, spilt them with a knife to get to the dry timber inside.
4. Make a strong base or bed for your fire to keep it separated from the wet ground. The foundation can be tree bark or larger sections of wood.
6. Next build the framework. You can make a pile of tinder, and create a teepee over it with kindling, and bigger teepee around that with your fuel wood. For the tepee, start with smaller pencil sized twigs (try to find the dry dead branches at the base of evergreens) then add layers of progressively larger sticks on top. Another popular method is to build more of a tower structure so that the fire gets enough oxygen to burn. Try to find birch bark near your site, or carry a bag of cotton balls covered in Vaseline as your Firestarter.
7. Always be prepared with numerous approaches of lighting a fire, like matches, flint and steel, so you always have a way to start them. Keep a lighter and weatherproof matches in your backpack too. Light the tinder from below, very carefully strike the matches on it, and see your fire grow. Lightly blow on it to
8. Set kindling as well as larger logs next to fire so they dry out and can later be used to keep the fire going.
Now that you know how to start a fire in a wet environment, get out there and go camping in the rain!