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Hello all, I have made a big discovery today. I have been camping with my son in the boyscouts many of times, so I took for granted the skill I thought I new. For instance I have cooked over the camp fire dozens of times but I finally realized that I had never personally made one. I always cooked on one already lit. So I decided to go out into the back yard and cook some beans and rice in my dutch oven. Now the scene is this it has been raining here for the past week. Today was the yesterday was the first non rain day today was cloudy. I used brush, twigs, straw, small limbs that were broken down from the storms. Needless to say everything was wet through and through. I did some splitting of small limbs with my fiskars hatchet and used my magnesium firestarter to get things going. That was the easy part. The fire started easy enough the problem was keeping it going. I ran into the problem of not giving it enough oxygen and then still working with wet to semi wet wood was not a help. Trying to use enough straw twigs and branches to warm up and dry out the bigger stuff so that it could get hot enough to burn was a B...h. Well I finally did made it through the ordeal and needless to say that my beans were undercooked and yet my rice came out perfect. I can't stress the importance for those who think that they can read a manual or because they have seen someone else do it that they can in a survival situation make a fire to stay warm or cook their food. Without practice and know how, it aint happening. Go into the backyard and cook something or build you a camp fire and keep it lit for 4-6 hours. This is just a minimum of pratice that a person will need so do it safely in the backyard before you die from exposure in the back woods.
 

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i live in a rain forest trick is take a tree thats standing chop a limb off since all the stuff on the ground is soaked through and shave some wood off the branch that will give you somewhat dry stuff to light but yes its still a pain i usally just use paper light it and stack the wood in a square and blow on it a bit..
 

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I had a similar bad experience on a rainy day in the woods, with my daughter... everything was wet! :eek:

Then, the McGyver in me woke up, and I realized that a bottle of alcoholic hand sanitizer in my pocket was really flammable! I squirted some of that on a small pile of grass, twigs, &c. Once they burned really hot, I added bigger and bigger pieces of wood.

So, that's my first tip on lighting a fire: if you can't find any dry grass, try to think about what you carry that could be used. Cotton, toilet paper, such things....
 

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TrailBlazer
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Good idea, i think ill go out tomorrow and practice the basics 101. Things are never as easy as they look or in ideal weather, I need to go out and keep my skills up. thanks bud.
 

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Looking upward
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Ive always found the Teepee method of stacking to work more effectively in starting a fire. I hated admitting that my ex FIL was right so I have tried other methods only to find myself resorting back to the teepee method when i couldnt keep it going.
Then in cub/boy scouts, they taught us the teepee method again and how to find good starter ( cat tails and reeds work great in wet weather as they're dry inside when you break them open)
 

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Simple Minded
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When I was a boyscout they taught me to use "squaw wood" first...which is the finest twigs from a standing dead tree. Then gradually add larger pieces until you get the fire going.
Another interesting "type" of wood to look for is the Sumac tree. We nicknamed it popcorn wood because it pops and crackles when burned. That wood will burn even if its wet. Its an excellent starter wood to get the bigger stuff going later.
 
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