Fire is one of the most versatile and useful tools for survival. It can assist with signaling for help, purifying water, cooking food, heating a shelter, and keeping wild animals at bay. The light and heat provide a huge mental boost as well, turning a dour, bleak evening into one that provides hope for the next day.
Additional gear items are provided when fires are started at the fire building station. Some of these methods are difficult and require practice. Make sure to try out a couple of the techniques demonstrated in the videos.
Building a fire on the ground will be more difficult due to the moisture in the earth. Use some sticks, planks of wood, or other dry material in the bottom of the fire pit. If building in really bad conditions, such as snow or mud, you'll want the platform made of green wood.
Building a platform works well for established fire pits, which tend to collect rainwater and are often wet.
Tinder: Extremely fine and thin items that will catch fire with just a spark. Get two large handfuls or more.
Kindling: Dry material from pencil to thumb thickness. Grows the flame into a fire. You'll want at least a full armload or two.
Fuel: Larger logs to sustain the fire. Gather much more than you think you'll need.
Thin shavings of wood, thin layers of birch bark, dry grasses, dry moss, newspaper, cattail fluff, seed pods. Catches the tiniest spark or ember and helps build the flame.
Thin, dry pieces of wood or small sticks. Ideally, these would be split out of the inside of a dry log. Pine fatwood (sap-filled wood) works well because the sap is flammable.
Firewood is the main source of fuel for your fire. It should consist of dry logs. You'll go through a lot of fuel and it provides the embers that are best for cooking.
Build the Campfire
The style of fire you build depends on what you know and the environment. A strong wind would blow over a tepee fire, but a lean-to or other sheltered fire could withstand it. All of the fires on the left put the tinder below the kindling, but a fire can be built with tinder on the side or even above the kindling. Your goal is to make sure the initial heat is focused on more kindling or wood to get the fire started.
Light the Fire
Strike your flint and steel, flick your lighter, or focus the sunlight. Get the tinder lit by catching an ember within. Gentle blowing or waving the tinder from side to side will increase airflow. When it catches flame, put it in the right spot in your campfire to light additional tinder and the kindling.
Several videos below describe techniques for starting a fire.
Friction Fire 4 Ways... Fire Roll, Hand Drill, Bow Drill, and Bamboo Fire Saw
He's got a lot of other videos that detail each of these methods and several others. Instead of ashes in the fire roll, you can use sugar, flour, and other powders.
Scouting Magazine has several FRICTION FIRE TIPS.
How to Start a Fire in the Wilderness | Basic Instincts | WIRED
Really thorough explanation of a hand drill and bow drill, filled with many useful tips. The video even shows how to make a 2-ply cordage and different ways to build fires.
Making Fire In The Rain Using Natural Materials
The weekend could be stormy, so it is good to have some tips for finding dry tinder and preparing a dry fire during rain.
You'll see that bark is used to make a dry platform, keeping the fire out of the mud.
Birch bark is great tinder because it starts on fire readily even if it is wet. Make sure to peel it apart to make paper-thin layers, which will catch fire much easier.
14 Ways to Start a Fire (No Matches or Lighter) - Fire Starting Techniques.
Fire roll, spontaneous combustion, steel wool, lithium battery, fire piston, potassium permanganate, flint and steel, fire plow, smashing metal, focusing sunlight, bow drill, hand spindle.
Emergency Blanket Fire (With a Bonus)
Mylar space blankets can be used as tinder in an emergency situation, as can duct tape. Also, if you dig a hole to form a parabola and line the surface with the Mylar, you can focus sunlight to start a fire.
NEW Featherstick Technique
Feathersticks are a fantastic way to get dry tinder for starting fires. This shows how to make a featherstick using a method not seen in many places. Shows the traditional way and compares the techniques.