There are seemingly endless modern tools to use to start campfires, but no one is properly prepared unless he or she also knows how to start a camp fire with no outside equipment at all. This is because mishaps can cause the original equipment to be lost or broken. When these things occur, it’s important to know how to start a fire by friction.
The friction method is sometimes known as “rubbing two sticks together,” but this is really just one way to do it. Usually, it’s actually done by rubbing a wood stick against a wooden base. No matter which specific method is used, the principle is the same: The rubbing must create enough friction to heat the wood until it’s hot enough to ignite materials that are then placed around it.
Even though it seems simple, many people find that when they attempt to make a fire this way, the wood just gets hard and shiny. The slick, shiny surface produces almost no friction when rubbed, so it won’t heat up. What causes this problem? It turns out that this is the result of using hardwood.
While different campers may prefer different types of wood, all agree that softwood is a necessity. They also prefer the bow drill fire starting method, in which a stick is quickly rubbed into a base. A hardwood stick can work, but the base must always be softwood. Using softwood for both parts works great.
One specific type of wood that has been mentioned as the best wood for a fire is white pine. Other types of pine are also commonly used where available. If there are no pine trees around, other softwoods are also acceptable. To determine if wood is soft enough, try to dent it with a thumbnail. If it dents, it’s softwood.
The other key is to make sure the wood is dry. Dead wood that has been on the ground will have absorbed water, so it won’t work. An easy way to get dry, dead wood is to look for a dead branch that’s still attached to a tree.
This may turn out to be one of the camping tips that turns out to be a lifesaver, but the ability to start a fire is just one of the things that’ll be needed on a trip through the woods. For your next camping trip, be sure to pick up a durable Litefighter tent for shelter and warmth.