NFR Tips and tricks for camp fires in the wet forest of NW WA?

Kilchis

WFF Supporter
If you are in a fir forest with some young trees around, say, 6-10” in diameter, those wart-like bark bubbles on the trunk are filled with pitch. Poke a few of them with a twig and rub it in the pitch until well coated. Repeat until bored. The pitchy twigs make great fire starters.
 

Jake

Active Member
If you’ve got a cedar with an umbrella that hangs almost to the ground, start your fire under there. Not only is it a good source of materials, but it’s also usually dry under there and, if you keep your fire small, it’s not going to hurt anything to build your fire in there. It’ll also be warmer and you’ll need less firewood.

Dig a trench around where you’re building the fire. Line with rocks, but not rocks from a river. Safety+ radiant heat.

Fat wood feathers tick from a long-broken pine stump (it’s the hard heart wood) + inner cedar bark nest+ ferro rod = fire starter. Cedars also drop a ton of dry leaves that can also be used (though these may be damp).

That hanging beard-like moss/lichen dries pretty fast and can keep the fire burning.

Thick, broken-off branches from previous years that are hanging are thick enough not to saturate in rain, and do not sit on the wet ground, so they’re usually well-seasoned—especially if you cut away the possibly-wet outer wood. Use chunks of the dry wood as kindling and firewood. Gather 3x as much as you need for your fire, then make three more piles that size. Do this before you start your fire. Get your fire going, then go get more.

Raise your firebase off of the ground, and don’t add your kindling until you’ve got a good flame going.

Use your fire to dry wood.

Source: Making campfires in wet PNW forests since I was a small child.
 

splett

Active Member
Lots of great input. A picked up a nice little hatchet (Schrade $27) and ordered a European Ferro rod (8"). I will make a handle for the rod out of duck tape with shaved magnesium on the sticky side to use as "fire starter". Also some cotton balls soaked in Vaseline and some fat wood sticks. Finding and processing dry (enough) wood will be something that I plan to practice at. Making a fire as quickly and easily as possible with various materials and tools in different kinds of forest and weather, requires both knowledge and practice. It's fun learning new things.
Learning is fun. Here is a link to a western Washington fellow who was making videos for online classes on bushcraft usa. Also a cheap pruning saw from your favorite home improvement store is a valuable tool. Now that I have spent the money on a Silky I find myself grabbing it before the power saw but the Corona saw from the orange store is an awsome tool also at less than twenty bucks..

 

Steve Saville

WFF Supporter
Many years ago my wife and I ran a weekend camp for Cub Scouts and their parents to teach them the joy of the outdoors and for some really good family time. We did it four weekends each summer for eleven years. The highlight, in my opinion, was what we called our "Saturday Night Live Campfire." I always started the camp fire with a "matched set" of flint and steel. It was pretty cool to catch the spark in a piece of steel wool and then go from there. I still have the set somewhere. I saw it not long ago while sorting through some stuff. It brings back a lot of good memories.
 

flybill

A collector never stops collecting!
WFF Supporter
must not be too many ex-boy scouts on here. We used to roll cardboard in little sticks and dunk them in paraffin. That was our fire starters. Steve's suggestion to use egg cartons to make fire starters is another one.
Or cotton balls, with Vaseline mixed in.. not KY guys.. you can also use Fritos as a fire starter, with all of the oil they have, or so I hear! From the interwebs... Al Gore told me.. No actual Bear Grylls or one of the guys like his show.

I almost bought a book a few days ago, saw a news item or interview on the Today show or something like that by the something meateater... not Ted Nugent, Kill it and Grill It!
 

flybill

A collector never stops collecting!
WFF Supporter
when I was doing the backpacking thing...ala Ray Jardine(books) I threw a handfull of Fritos or cornchips in a bag for fire starting...
Damn it! Beat me too it!! Or at least confirmed it for me.. when I go to Target today, I'll buy Fritos and light my pre game cigar with it or try to do it.. just to find out if it worked or not.. I may even post a video here and out on FB or Instagram! :D :cool::p;)
 

flybill

A collector never stops collecting!
WFF Supporter
Fat rope stick and ferro rod.

Hey, want to see my Fat Rope? Get your minds out of the gutter.. its my fire starter in my Go bag (for the civil war) and my sling pack (for safety while fishing or even walking in a bit)!!!
 

zen leecher aka bill w

born to work, forced to fish
Or cotton balls, with Vaseline mixed in.. not KY guys.. you can also use Fritos as a fire starter, with all of the oil they have, or so I hear! From the interwebs... Al Gore told me.. No actual Bear Grylls or one of the guys like his show.

I almost bought a book a few days ago, saw a news item or interview on the Today show or something like that by the something meateater... not Ted Nugent, Kill it and Grill It!

I think back when I was young the Taco Kid hadn't yet invented Fritos.
 

herkileez

WFF Supporter
In Western Wa, as in BC, there's a good chance you'll be in a fir 2nd growth, or old growth forest. If that's the case, look for an old, rotted fir stump. Dig around, and you'll likely find a seam/spire of rock hard "nooky" wood. It's heart wood that is saturated with pitch, and is the last to rot away once the surrounding wood has. Once split, or shaved with a knife, it ignites easily and will light any reasonably dry wood you can find. I worked as an engineer in the woods for years, and never felt the need to carry any fire starter. I always carried an axe, and would often split off slabs of OG fir bark as well.
 

Varanzo

Member
On my bikepacking trips I bring lint from home dryer stuffed into leftover toilet paper cardboard tube. I have several of them in one ziplock bag. Maybe you can try this once to see is it going to work for you.
 

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