Tent Camping Tips Begins With a Good
No list of tent camping
tips would be complete without a good discussion on fire building. Ever since Prometheus
brought fire to man, its properties have been cherished throughout our history. Its importance during a
camping trip almost takes on a spiritual healing significance as it can boost morale and provide strength even
on a rainy or cold day.
With that said, the task of
building a fire can be done many different ways. However, here are a few
camping tips to keep in mind.
Location: Find an open location of at least a 6
yard radius of open space. (Almost all camping sites should be able to accommodate this size). It is also a good
idea to avoid areas where there are a lot of dead, over-hanging branches. If
it has recently been raining or there is snow on the trees, put a tarp above the fire. This is to protect the
fire from being put out by any falling snow or rain when the wind blows.
Size: Clear out the
underbrush surrounding the fire for a good 3 yard radius. This is done to
prevent a brush fire from occurring.
If the campsite has been undergoing a drought or has been
particularly dry, extend this radius out to 5 yards.
Containment: Fires are usually contained by making
a pit lined with rocks or using a backlog. A back log is a large
log that the fire is placed against.
These containments are used to keep the fire enclosed. For most
camping sites, either containment can be used. However, a pit lined
with rocks is a better option in the mountains where a strong wind can blow out the
Firewood: Before starting the
fire, it is wise to have your firewood ready to go. This keeps you from
having to go hunting for firewood while getting the fire initially going. There are three types
of firewood that you want ready.
tender: These are the strips cut off of dead wood by your knife. Also, dried grass and
cotton can be used as tender.
includes twigs and pine needles.
These can be pulled off of dead trees and burn a little longer than
Various sizes of dead
wood: These should be put on the fire in increasing size until you find the appropriate size fire you are
Fire: I recommend creating a small teepee with the shavings and
light the shavings. As the fire starts going, you should add the kindling and then add the various sizes
of dead wood.
One caveat: if the dead
wood is wet, split the wood with an axe.
The inside wood tends to be drier and will allow it to burn more
Woods: This is usually
dictated by your camping site; however, it is a good idea to know your woods.
Softwoods, such as pine,
firs, and cedar, are good for shavings and burn quickly. However, they tend not to
give off much heat or last very long.
Also, cedar and pine can get very smoky and should be avoided when
such as maple, aspen, and cottonwood, are better at burning a little longer and are good
Hardwoods, such as oak,
burn the longest and provide the most heat.
This makes them the best for cooking.
Supply: You can never have enough firewood. Once you get the fire
going, make periodic trips to get more wood. Always make a point to
get more than you think you will need.
Wood: For morning fires, it
is a good idea to bring firewood into the tent during the previous night. This will help prevent
morning dew or rain during the night to delay the starting of the morning fire.
Building Tent Camping Tips:
Live wood can be used to
setup your cooking area. Live wood is less likely to burn and thus can be used to make pot hooks to hold pots,
stakes to hold frying pans over the fire, and can even be used to make an overhang for the fire by chopping out
two Y pieces that have another straight crosspiece placed across the notches of the two Y
Morning coals: If the
weather conditions are appropriate, it is a good idea to have a big evening fire with hardwoods. Often times,
you will still have coals in the morning that can be used to start the fire.
*To get more
information on some of the problem areas of camping on how to resolve them, check out tent camping