How to make fire starter sticks in wet weather when in the wild

Alena Porokh 28.01.2022

To make a fire starter sticks in wet weather when in the wild in a traditional way without unique means for ignition, you need to prepare dry tinder, kindling, and fuel. To begin with, we will deal with the basic concepts to avoid confusion in the future.

How to use fatwood sticks

What do I need to start a fire outdoors and how to make fire starter sticks in wet weather

Tinder – any substance that can start smoldering or burning from a spark of the same flint and steel. Our ancestors used to light a fire back in the Middle Ages, and we continue using it today.

Let’s pay attention to the kindling you can find in the wild. 

Dry straw, grass, and leaves are also suitable for kindling. After the rain, you can find dry kindling at the entrances to caves, under large stones and fir trees. Their thick spruce branches protect dry twigs on the lower part of the trunk from getting wet.

Birch bark is also a good kindling material, which, due to its waterproof properties, remains dry even after prolonged rains and is easily ignited with an ordinary match. It is not for nothing that people made canoes from birch bark for rafting on rivers in the old days.

How to make the kindling from bark birch

However, it would be best if you did not cut the bark from a living tree: this can harm it. For kindling, the bark that comes from the tree itself is enough. In addition, you can get birch bark from fallen birch trunks. Even in a damp forest, birch bark is dry enough to catch fire from a match. In its structure, birch bark is close to the paper and is just as easy to set on fire.

If there were no birch, no tarred bark nearby, and prolonged bad weather did not leave a dry place on the earth’s surface. You can make kindling by taking from the middle thick branches of deadwood. The fact is that even prolonged rains do not soak thick branches through with their moisture, and the center remains dry. You can check the dryness of wood by touching the cut with your lips: wet wood will be cold, dry wood will be warm. Remember, the thinner the wood kindling for the fire, the better.

How to start a fire with fire starter sticks

How to achieve fuel combustion

The task of a person kindling a fire is to achieve fuel combustion. Only in this case, there form sufficiently large coals, which support the steady burning of the fire. So, as fuel for a fire, you can take the dry middle from a log split into pieces in wet weather. After the appearance of large stable coals in a burning fire, even raw fuel can be thrown into it, which will have time to dry out and ignite. Of course, we advise first to dry such fuel before throwing it into the fire in front of this very fire, laying it around the perimeter.

If you make barbecue in the city, there are fuel briquettes that consist of pressing sawdust. But they are not suitable for hiking since no one would stuff their backpack with them. We write about handling fire, starting with what you find in the wild.  

Now that all the components are ready, it’s time to talk about arranging the logs. There are many different types of fires suitable for other conditions. Here we will write how to organize the most uncomplicated and, therefore, the most popular fire. You can lean logs upright over the kindling like a tepee or hut. No matter how you arrange your logs, the task is to leave enough space between them for good air circulation.

How to kindle a fire

So, to kindle a fire, you must:

Place a little kindling on the ground or wood flooring (in case of wet weather or snow cover);

Place thin (not thicker than a match) twigs or wood chips removed from the middle of the log on the top of the kindling in the form of a hut;

If there is smoldering tinder, it must be placed in kindling and blown up to the appearance of fire. And with the already burning kindling, set fire to the kindling laid in the fire. If there are matches, they set fire to the kindling in the fire. It is most effective to ignite the kindling from below: this way, it flares up faster and more reliably.

When the kindling and thin branches light up, you can put thicker branches in the fire. And so on until branches as thick as a thumb begin to burn in the fire. This fire is usually sufficient for cooking, drying clothes, and heating.

At this stage, if the fire stops burning due to a lack of fuel (although you should take care of its supply in advance), it can be re-inflated from embers by preparing the required amount of fuel. In addition, fresh, extinguished coals are set on fire from the slightest spark, carved, for example, by striking flint on a cleaver.

How to make fire starter sticks in wet weather

Coals are a good kindling if you know how to handle them. You can take burnt-out and extinct coals with you in a backpack – it is easier to kindle them than even thin twigs, which have recently been in the rain.

It is helpful in periodically inflating the firewood during burning. Especially if the firewood is half-moist and does not flare up well. At the initial stage, while the fire is small, you can blow with your mouth, but some use a particular fan to inflate the fire.

From the point of view of a tourist, hunter, fisherman, or just an outdoorsman, ignition products exist primarily to simplify the task under challenging situations. They require additional spending on the acquisition, take up extra space in the backpack and add weight to the equipment carried. In addition, they have the unpleasant property of getting lost or quickly ending at the most inopportune moment in long trips or emergencies. You may find more information about fire starter sticks here