How To Build The Perfect Fire In The Backcountry

by Dennis Kim

Photo Credit: Sidney Pearce

Nothing is more rewarding and satisfying than building a fire after a long day of hiking. What’s even better is when you see the results of your learned skills turn into a fire right in front of you. Depending on the laws and permits of your province, you can have them in many backcountry spots and campgrounds. Having the tools and learning campfire basics are skills that will last you for life. At Pacific First Aid, we do more than just offer first aid classes. We provide them with camping and outdoor supplies, including fire starter kits. Below you’ll read more on how to start your own fire.

Pick Your Spot

To start off, you’ll need to scope out your environment. Make sure the ground isn’t too wet as you'll have difficulty starting your fire. When you find a dry area, it’s important to place rocks in a circle so you can contain your fire. If you notice your camp spot already has established fire rings, you can start building it there.

Get The Right Lighter/Matches

Whether you’re making a fire or not, it’s always important to bring a lighter or matches with you any hiking or camping trip. It’s recommended you pack a lighter in your outdoor first aid kit in case of emergencies. At Pacific First Aid, we sell both Storm and waterproof matches. These are excellent options especially if you’re hiking during rainier seasons.

Collect Your Kindling

When you start making your fire, you’re going to need smaller pieces of wood (for example shaved wood or cedar bark). From there, work your way up to larger logs that will take longer to burn. Place the small flammable pieces in a log-cabin shape or teepee. Once it starts to catch, you can start adding your bigger pieces of wood. You can also add fire starter or use tinder kits to help spark it.

Give It Air

Once your kindling starts to catch, you’ll need to add bigger sticks and blow on your fire. Without the extra air, your fire can dwindle. Another option is take some newspaper or cardboard and fan the kindling.

Keep Your Fire Safe

Before you start your fire, make sure to always consider the weather. If you notice high winds rolling through, note that sparks can fly and catch on the trees and grass around you. Once your fire gets big, you can manage the size by adding more or less wood to it. When you decide to head out or sleep for the night, make sure to pour water over the coals until it becomes a soupy consistency. If you don’t cover the whole fire, it can still catch and potentially cause a problem. Always remember to pack in what you pack out and if you have any flammable garbage, place it in the fire.

Knowing the basics for starting fires will always come in handy. If you’re hiking or camping for multiple days and go off course, these skills will keep you warm and can potentially go as far as saving your life. Make sure you carry fire supplies in your sports first aid kit or backpack. At Pacific First Aid, we’re more than just an online first aid training resource. We offer fire and camping supplies that will fit in your hiking pack or first aid bags. When you’re looking for new gear, it’s a great option for finding what you need.