American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Monday, June 04, 2007

Firelighting in the wet

Whether rain, snow, sleet, or hail, each form of precipitation presents its own set of challenges to firestarting.

The recent rains (which are continuing today, of course,) have thoroughly soaked everything and finding dry wood is now a matter of splitting pieces of standing deadwood to get to the dry interior. Getting to the dry wood and keeping the wood dry are two entirely different things.

I like to keep split wood up off the ground by stacking it on two or three pieces of wood. This both encourages airflow around the bottom of the wood pile and keeps the mud and moisture in the ground from soaking into wood I may need to burn later.

If it's possible to stack the wood under a tarp so much the better. The less moisture on and in the wood the easier it will be to light later.

When splitting and stacking your wood it makes the most sense to put the largest pieces on the bottom and work toward smaller pieces on the way up. This way you've got your tinder and kindling on top within easy reach.

Spark based firestarting has given me fits over the years when there is snow on the ground or rain in the air. You really need to work on your tinder preparation if you're going to use a firesteel or flint and steel in these conditions. Keep the tinder dry inside your coat and don't bring it out until you're absolutely ready to start the fire. The humidity in the air can render most light fluffy tinders useless.

Thanks for reading,



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