Yes, You Can Build a Campfire in the Winter!

by | Trekking Savvy

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The idea of making a campfire in the winter and imagining yourself as someone who is struggling to survive in the wilds with the help of rudimentary technology and some survival skills is quite cool. Of course, if this is really happening to you, it may feel cool only after it’s over and the event is stored in the long-term memory (it also depends on what happened, obviously). If you are into winter camping, you might find some of the winter survival tips below helpful.

Step 1: Bring the Right Stuff

When planning a campfire, don’t leave your home before ensuring that you have some essential items, including cardboard, matches, newspapers, and paper bags. Regardless of the season, starting a campfire without the proper tools can be very difficult, if at all possible.

Step 2: Find a Safe Location

Whether it’s winter or not, make sure you start the campfire in a spot at a considerable distance from trees. If there is snow, choose a location that does not have a lot of it, as you will likely need to push the snow aside. When that’s not possible, you can try packing down the snow to have a “solid” base on which you can add the logs that will serve as the foundation of the campfire.

Step 3: Decide How You Will Build the Campfire

This can also be part of Step 1 if you want to bring everything from home. The materials you will use to build the campfire will, of course, depend on your location. For instance, wood shavings and dry leaves are very good options, but you won’t find them just anywhere and during any weather condition. You can also opt to bring your own tinder material; I discourage this option unless there’s too much snow because you will lose lots of fun (and it would arguably be a modest survivalism experience).

Step 4: Search for Wood and Dry Leaves

Once you are at a proper distance from anything you don’t want to set on fire, it is time to engage in the relaxing and entertaining activity of finding wood that can be used to make the campfire. Collecting such wood on a snowy day is not as challenging as it might seem.

If up for a challenge, you should first search for dry wood, as it’s obviously the most likely to lead to a successful campfire. If dry wood is absent or hard to get, do not be discouraged. Wood with a bit of snow on it is not necessarily thaat wet and can still be used. Use some of the logs you have for the initial fire and leave some for maintaining the fire once it’s on.

Step 5: Start the Fire

While for some people preparing the campfire is the most thrilling part (because of the magic that comes with walking through forests or near them), others defend the idea that starting the fire is the best thing. Just like in the summer, you will start the campfire on the edge of the pile to ignite the thinnest twigs. 

Once this step is successfully completed, a very good idea is to build a teepee of sticks over the twigs. By letting the sticks burn and fall in the center of the fire, you create the coal needed for a fire that can last more than a few minutes. Depending on how much coal you need, the teepee can be rebuilt several times. Perhaps there’s no need to say the fire must be fed with wood as long as you want it to last longer.

Putting Out the Campfire

One of the most important things in terms of your survival chances is to ensure that you are able to put the fire out when you want to (and you should never leave the fire unsupervised). It is best to have some water with you (enough to stop a fire), even if there is snow. The embers should be stirred with something to ensure that the water will reach all ashes. Finally, because you are nicely considering the next campers, you should remove the ashes and spread them somewhere around the campsite.

You Might Be Ready to Go

That’s it. If you follow these pieces of advice, your chances of making a campfire in the winter are quite high. Of course, making a campfire takes practice, and if you don’t know how to do it in ideal weather conditions, perhaps you should start from there, unless you are up for a challenge.

Finally, we should discuss the possibility that making a campfire in the winter is silly. Such a belief could steam from the consideration that winters are cold and wet, and it’s hard to make a campfire in these conditions. Why would anyone try to make a campfire when it’s snowing instead of spending some quality time in a winter vacation resort?

This consideration may make sense for some people but not for everyone. If you like camping in general, you should arguably try camping in the winter and see what it’s like. Also, let’s not forget that cold is good for the skin.

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