The idea of making a campfire in the winter and imagine yourself as someone who is struggling to survive into 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 be cool only when it’s over and what happened is stored in the long-term memory (it also depends on what happened, obviously). Survivalism seems to be cooler when it’s only a simulation. That being said, if for any reason you are considering making a campfire in the winter (for fun or because you are lost), you will be happy to know that it’s something that can be achieved quite easily. If you are into any activities related to trekking, be it hiking, backpacking, or alpinism, among others, you might find some of the tips below useful.
First of all, ensure that you have the most basic items that you should use. These can include cardboard, matches, newspapers, and paper bags (there are the things you must consider before leaving your home or at least a type of human settlement). If you have all the necessary equipment and you have arrived at a location, it is time to find a place that is at a considerable distance from trees, no matter how cold it is. Other criteria for choosing a location is finding a place that does not have a lot of snow, as the best thing would be to push the snow aside. When that’s not possible, you can try packing down the snow in order to have a “solid” base where you can add the logs which will serve as the foundation of the campfire. Use some of the logs for the initial fire and leave some for maintaining the fire once its on.
When it comes to choosing the right materials for making the fire, the options will depend on what you can retrieve from the location where you decided to make the camp. For instance, wood shavings and dry leaves are very good options but they won’t be retrievable from anywhere and in any weather condition. On the other hand, you can also opt for bringing your own tinder material but I would discourage this option because you will be losing lots of fun (and it would be a modest survivalism experience).
Once you have ensured that you are at a proper distance from anything you don’t want to set on fire, it is time to engage into one of the activities that is most loved by those making campfires: finding wood that can be used to make the fire. Collecting such wood on a snowy day is not as challenging as it might appear. 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. A wood that has a bit of snow on it is not necessarily thaat wet and can still be used.
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 fire on an edge of the pile with the goal of igniting 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 are creating the coal that is 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.
One of the most important things of a campfire 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). Among the best safety tips is to have some water (enough to stop a fire). The embers should be stirred with something in order to ensure that the water will reach all ashes. Finally, because you are nicely considering the next campers, you will remove the ashes and spread them somewhere around the campsite.
That’s it. If you follow these pieces of advice your chances of making a fire in the winter that is at least OK are quite high. Of course, making a campfire takes practice and if you don’t know how to do it in ideal weather conditions then perhaps you should start from there. On the Internet, you can find many tips about campfire making and we will make some later. If you want your first time with a campfire to be in the winter, then so be it! I encourage you to take the challenge if this is something that motivates you.
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 fires are hard to be made under these conditions. Why would everyone try to make a campfire when it’s snowing since vacation cabins are so nice? This consideration may make sense for some people but not for everyone. Camping in the winter is challenging and won’t be fun for everyone. If you ask me, the challenge involved is what makes it worth it. Not to mention, it is said that cold is good for the skin.
Have you made a campfire in the winter? Why did you? Was it snowing? How did you do it?