When it comes to building campfires, the drier the wood the better. Regardless of variety, all wood is highly porous with thousands upon thousands of small holes. These “pores” absorb or release moisture depending on the surrounding atmosphere. If the atmosphere is humid, wood will absorb moisture, making it difficult to burn. So, how do you build a campfire with wet wood such as this?
Even if the firewood is wet, you may still be able to light it using — but you’ll need dry tinder first. If it’s been raining, it’s probably best to bring your own tinder, such as newspaper, wood shavings, or even pocket lint. Assuming it’s dry, tinder such as this should easily ignite. If it’s wet, try placing it in direct sunlight for a few hours, allowing the moisture to evaporate.
Next, you’ll need to find dry kindling. Kindling is bigger than tinder, though still smaller than conventional firewood. It consists of small twigs and branches of relative size. To determine if kindling is dry enough to use in your campfire, try breaking it in half. If the kindling is dry, you should hear a loud “snap,” indicating that it’s not too moist. If the kindling doesn’t make this “snap” sound, you should find a different source that’s drier and more suitable for use in your campfire. You’ll need dry tinder and kindling to build a campfire using wet wood.
Just because firewood is wet doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t burn. However, it’s best to find the driest firewood possible. If you’re searching for firewood in the woods, look under sheltered areas where there’s natural protection from the rain. Underneath a large tree canopy, for instance, is a great place to find semi-dry firewood. The tree canopy acts as a shield, blocking a significant amount of rain from reaching the ground. Any fallen logs here should be drier than logs in exposed areas of the forest.
When creating your campfire, arrange the logs in the shape of a teepee, while placing the tinder and kindling underneath. After lighting the tinder, place the kindling over the flame. And once it’s lit, gently blow on the flame to help spread it to the firewood. It may take a little nurturing, but this should get your campfire up and goinf.
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