The Ways of the WOODSMAN – How to start a fire

”The Woodsman complete the near-perfect circle of rocks by placing a last rock on the damp ground. The freshly dug hole is now lined with a wall of rocks and he packs a small platform with small dry sticks in the middle of the hole. The Woodsman rubs a small ball of dry grass between his palms and create the perfect fine tinder bundle.
He takes the fire-steel out of his leather sheath and with a skill perfected during many adventures, he strikes the fire-steel with his knife and ignites the grass tinder bundle instantly.”

He carefully lay a handful of selected dry snap sticks on top of the flaming tinder bundle and patiently wait for the flames to establish.
Only then do he lay a handful of pencil size sticks on the flames and with a smile he sits back and watch his campfire growing and burning strong. He opened his pack and reached inside for his coffee brewing kit to start his newest adventure with a steaming cup of buffalo-thorn bean coffee”

Becoming a Woodsman is a life-long journey of discovery and one of the most important skills to learn early on your path is to learn how to make a fire in the outdoors effectively and safely. Most adventurers and explorers learn how to make a fire properly the hard way by making many mistakes.

A fire needs 3 things to burn. A spark or heat source, fuel such as tinder, sticks and firewood, and oxygen. Making a fire effectively in the outdoors will depend on your preparation of the materials needed for your fire as well as the skill of your fire-making.

Only by spending time to patiently prepare your fireplace, tinder and sticks, and practicing your fire-lighting skills as often as possible, will you be able to light a fire as a true Woodsman.

In this article I will teach you how to make a fire efficiently in the outdoors every time you journey into the wilderness.

The following steps will teach you how to prepare a fire-pit properly, how to select and prepare tinder, how to select and prepare stages sticks and how to light your fire efficiently using a fire-steel.

Follow the steps patiently and do not take shortcuts. Always spend time and patiently follow the required steps in this article and you will be able to light a fire effectively in any weather condition whenever you explore the wilderness.

“I welcome you on this journey of discovery in learning how to light a fire”

Clear your fire area.

Clear an area of 2 square meters where you want to make your fire. This area should be free of any flammable materials that can accidentally set fire to the surrounding area.

Dig a hole.

To keep your fire safe you will need to dig a hole about 50cm in diameter and about 10cm deep.

Line your fire pit with rocks

Line the outside of your fire pit with rocks to keep your fire contained and safe. The rocks will keep all burning embers and flames safely inside the fire pit.

Build a small platform with dry sticks

Pack a small platform with dry sticks in the center of your fire pit to keep your tinder off the damp ground when you light the tinder. The cold from the damp ground will prevent your tinder from burning easily and the dry sticks platform will protect your tinder against heat loss and allow the tinder to burn easily.

Collect dry grass

Collect dry grass in an area that is exposed to the sun and wind. The sun and wind will dry out the grass and you will be able to collect grass that is free of moisture and completely dry.

Prepare your tinder

Roll the grass between the palms of your hands to break up the fibers and create a fine tinder ball that will be easier to ignite with a firesteel.

Collect snap sticks

Collect a big handful of very think dry sticks that is so dry that it simply snaps off the tree. You should collect a big handful of these snap sticks and they should be completely dry and free of moisture.

Collect pencil sticks

Collect a big handful of dry sticks the thickness of a pencil. These sticks should be absolutely dry and will help to establish your fire.

Collect firewood

Before you start your fire you should collect as much dry firewood ranging from thin sticks to bigger logs to keep your fire burning. Pack your snap sticks, pencil sticks and firewood neatly beside your fire pit ready to be used.

TIP ! The more snapsticks you can collect and the drier the snap sticks are, the easier you will be able to light a fire.

Prepare your tinder for lighting

Place your prepared tinder bundle on the dry sticks platform in the middle of your fire pit. Break the tinder bundle open carefully to create a large fine tinder striking area for your firesteel sparks to land.

Use your firesteel

You will use a firesteel that is completely waterproof and that burns at almost 3000 degrees. When you strike a firesteel with your knife, the shower of sparks will ignite dry tinder.

Collect a big handful of dry sticks the thickness of a pencil. These sticks should be absolutely dry and will help to establish your fire.

Light the fire

Strike the firesteel with your survival knife to create a shower of hot sparks that will ignite the grass tinder.

Lighting the fire

Direct the sparks into the tinder bundle and concentrate to strike the sparks into a specific area to easily ignite the tinder bundle.

TIP ! Learn the technique on how to light a fire with a firesteel and practice the technique often to master the technique and light a fire easily.

Put your snap sticks on the flame

carefully put your snap sticks on the burning tinder bundle to allow the flames to establish.

Put your pencil sticks on the fire

Now slowly put your pencil sticks on the fire carefully and make sure that you do not disturb and kill the flames on the snap sticks.

Keep your fire burning

Always keep enough firewood close at hand ready to put on your fire to keep your fire burning strong. You should make regular fire collecting trips and add to your pile of firewood in your campsite.

You have now learned how to make a fire in the outdoors. Firemaking is a patient art and the secret to successful fire-making is preparation.

You have now learned how to prepare a fire pit, how to select and prepare tinder, how to select and prepare the stages sticks for your fire, and how to light a fire using a firesteel.

Knowledge and skill will enable you to safely explore the wilderness on your own personal journey of discovery.

Nothing can replace the experience that you will get from attending a practical outdoor survival course with Boswa Survival and you should book your place on a survival course and learn first hand how to survive in the wilderness.

I look forward to welcoming you around the campfire and to share your journey of discovery in becoming a WOODSMAN