This week’s video comes from the Youtube channel, Canadian Prepper, which I can’t recommend enough. In this video, he goes over the six basic types of campfires and their uses.
He also talks about the basics of building a fire in winter. As a general rule, any fire built on the snow requires a foundation of pine boughs or leaves to insulate the fire from the snow. Otherwise, the fire will go out as the snow melts under the fire.
With that being said, let’s build some fires.
1. The Tepee Fire
The Tepee fire is the most intuitive design using bigger sticks on the outside and smaller, little sticks on the inside with the kindling right in the middle.
The main drawback is that it doesn’t burn long but the other fires we’ll explore can solve that and the Tepee fire is actually used as the catalyst to start most of the other fires with the exception of the next one.
2. The Canadian Candle
This is also known as the Swedish Fire Torch. It’s basically a large, single log stood on end that is either split into quarters with an axe or has grooves cut as a crisscross from the top down with a chainsaw.
Tinder is put into the cracks to get it started and the opposing sides radiate the heat to create a fire that continues to burn for a surprisingly long time. Here are some of the pros and cons of the Canadian Candle:
- No maintenance
- Best for cooking
- Long burning
- Requires tools to make the cuts
- Longer setup
- Harder to light
- Requires good tinder
- You need a large log
- Radiates less heat for warmth
3. The Top-Down Fire
This fire is exactly what it says and is a low maintenance fire. It’s ideal for winter in deep snow because the construction of the fire insulates it from the snow. You start with the largest logs on the bottom and then gradually crisscross smaller logs and sticks stacked up as you go.
The sticks get smaller and smaller until you get to the top where you build a small tepee fire with your tinder. As the fire burns it travels down into the larger and larger logs. Here are the pros and cons.
- Only medium difficulty to setup
- Low maintenance
- Easier lighting
- Works on snowy or wet ground
- Requires tools to make the cuts in the log
- Takes a little time to setup
4. The Log Cabin Fire
This is another fire that looks like it sounds and is a bit of a novelty fire. You build a tepee fire and then surround it with sticks and split wood which is stacked up in a square like the logs in a log cabin.
It burns hot but burns fast. Here are the pros and cons.
- Nice looking fire
- High heat output
- Requires tools to split the wood
- Somewhat longer setup
- You need good, straight wood
- Burns fast
- Somewhat of a novelty
5. The Star Fire
Again, this fire looks like it sounds. Logs are placed around a tepee fire with their ends jutting into the fire. As the fire burns, the logs are pushed into the center to make it self-sustaining. Here are the pros and cons.
- Long burning
- Easy lighting
- Easy setup
- Lower heat
- Need a dry platform
- May require tools
6. The Lean-To Fire
This fire is a stack of sticks leaned against a large log. You start a tepee fire next to the log and the sticks are placed over the fire leaning against the log.
- Easy and fast setup
- Good survival fire
- Log radiates heat
- Burns fast
- Highly directional heat
It’s a little difficult to explain what these campfires look like, so be sure to watch the video below to see each fire demonstrated, and don’t forget to check out the Youtube channel, Canadian Prepper.