When you're out in the cold or wet of winter, you're going to need to start a fire. Sure, you don't actually have to, but your chances of comfort, and in some cases survival, are greatly improved by building a fire! A stove isn't likely to be enough for this.
But, it's not easy, so I'm going to try to write down some tips and steps for starting fires in these conditions. Most of all, though, you're going to need one thing: practice practice practice!!
- Bring firestarters with you such as egg carton squares dipped in wax or vaseline coated cotton balls: much of the wood you will be able to find is going to be completely wet and often under a layer of snow.
- Keep it small! You want to stretch your dry wood as long as possible, and you don't need much heat to help your chances of comfort and survival.
- When building fire on the snow, dig a pit 2 feet deep. Line it with thick logs cut to fit it so you have a surface to build the fire on. Use tinder (low branches from trees, in emergencies) to build a sort of "coal" base and then once it is smoldering, add the bigger pieces.
- Use what dry wood you can find to make a cabin or pyramid style fire base: put the wet wood (split into smaller pieces) on top so it can dry out while the fire burns. And, this might help create smoke, which can be great if you're trying to be rescued in an emergency!
- If you're near the borders of a snowpacked area, step outside the areas to gather dry wood.
- Bring a lighter. As a backup, one of the best flammables is drier lint (or cotton balls) slathered in petroleum jelly, packed in a pill bottle.
Does anyone else have tips for starting a fire in the winter? Share in the comments!