You may or may not have watched Man vs. Wild, where Bear Grylls has shown us some incredible survival techniques in various unique locations of the world. Whether you have watched or heard about it or not, it is a fundamental concept that fire is the most important element alongside the water in survival.
Fire can be used to keep yourself warm, keep other dangerous creatures at bay, boil water, cook food, and do many more activities. When you are out on a trek and wish to camp, starting a fire can be easy if you have a lighter. However, you might want to try igniting it with rocks. We shall guide you on how to start a fire with rocks when camping.
Before you Begin
Using just any rocks to get the flames going will not help. There are specific stones that can create a spark, that too when dry. Some rocks might spark even when wet because of their high magnesium content. Look for flint stones if you can or carry them. Using an industrial flint stone is not always necessary. If you can search for a rock that is from the family of flint stones, it might give you satisfactory results.
If you are on a trek and wish to camp, you must also have a high-grade steel knife. Steel is necessary to create sparks with flint stones. It should be hard and rust-free. The dryer the knife, the easier it is to light it up. Once you have looked for the stones, you must now look for three types of wood to fuel the flames.
What Is Needed?
The first type is tinder. Tinder is basically wood shavings or any soft and dry material that is highly flammable. The sparks you create will not sustain on any material other than fuel. Tinder must also remain absolutely dry at all times. Any amount of moisture will hurt your chances of getting the fire. Tiny sticks from an abandoned nest, fluffy wool, dry grass, dry mosses, and the lint from clothes act as great tinder.
Kindling is involved in the next stage. It consists of smaller wooden sticks. These can catch fire almost as easily as fuel. However, they can sustain flames for much longer and therefore bring a little more stability to your campfire. You may collect brown sticks and voluminous dry grass.
This type of wood will keep the fire burning for a long time. These are larger pieces of dry wood and branches from trees. It does not require too much attention to keep burning. This is the reason why it is a must. You may want to rest your legs and sleep. It would be best if you were not up all night trying to keep the fire burning.
Semi-green branches with some amount of moisture content work best. The moisture within the fibers will take more time to burn, so you will not run out of firewood too soon. It is preferable if you find woods from Neem trees. The smoke from the burning of Neem is a great repellant. It will keep you safe from many insects and reptiles.
Getting Started With Campfire
Find a secure location that is not too close to other trees or your shelter. This precaution is taken so that the small fire does not burn down your own shelter or start a forest fire. Once you have done that, surround the place with a few rocks or damp grass. It will act as a forest line. Try to estimate the direction of the breeze and set the fireplace up accordingly, or your flames might be blown out.
Once you are done with that, proceed to place the fuel on the dry fireplace. Strike the flint stone against your knife at an angle. If done swiftly enough, you will see sparks. Keep doing it until your tinder has finally caught some of the sparks. Sometimes, in wetter regions, you will not see flames but see some smoke. This smoke is an indication that the moisture is evaporating. Continue to blow on it gently like one blows on a wound and not on birthday candles.
Add the kindling slowly to the tinder when you see flames. Going stick by stick helps a lot. Now your kindling is lit up, and you have the fire. Try to build a hexagonal structure with the sticks and wood you use. Prepare it in a way that the burning wood gets enough oxygen. Fire is claustrophobic, metaphorically speaking. The larger pieces of would can be burnt to stabilize your fire.
Now you have a fire that you created right from scratch. Using rocks to produce flames is a tiring task. However, the satisfaction received having got the flames is surreal. You may use this to simply keep warm, or to roast and boil before you eat anything. Do not forget that you must protect the fire if the weather drifts against you. It is your only light source at night that can also guard you from predators. On the closing note, always extinguish the fire once you decide to leave the place or it could be devastating.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to start a fire if it snows?
If it is snowing, it will be difficult to light a fire. The sparks melt the snow around. The ideal method is to shelter your tinder first. Elevate the platform on which you are going to light the campfire. You may as well prefer having soil beneath instead of snow. Lastly, keep the area protected from winds.
Where to look for mosses and lichens?
Mosses and lichens are often found in the bark of trees and under the soil. Looking for them in these places will be ideal.
Is it possible to light a campfire with two rocks only?
It is definitely possible but it will require an immense amount of energy. The chances of getting sparks are also low. Considering the fact that using two rocks will mostly be for demonstrative purposes, you may opt for it. Otherwise, a knife and a flint stone work well.
Christina Joyner is a seasoned expert for camping gear and everything related to outdoor adventures. With ten years of experience in this branch, she is an integral part of our team and author of comprehensive guides about equipment, best camping locations, and valuable tricks you should know when spending time in the wilderness.