Survival Skills: How to Build Your Own Damn Campfire

Rediscover Fire 

Full disclosure: we recently moved to a small farm with a wood burning fireplace. After many a cold morning waiting for my husband to start the fire it got me thinking, this is really dumb.

Changing a flat tire, home repairs, starting the campfire – why are girls being kept out of learning these skills growing up? Are we too busy learning to sew and paint our nails? The truth is we are probably just way too comfortable asking for help. These gender specific chores are ingrained in us from the beginning, and it's a little embarrassing. Especially might I add, coming from a woman raised by a single mom, too often am I asking for help when the skills are capable of possessing.

From the very beginning this website has been focused on getting our hands dirty and re-skilling ourselves. Because so much of our self sufficiency skills have been lost at the cost to our planet and well being. That goes beyond growing a vegetable or two in this post. Let us pass on mankind's greatest achievement, the ability to make fire! Never again will you call on the man in your life to build the fire, because really why should he?

illustrations by Ashley Mary

Ready to put your lady pants on and make a damn good fire? So are we. So here's what you need:


  • Tinder: Some news print, small dry twigs or a few pine cones work for excellent fire starters providing fuel to boost your fire.
  • Fuel: Eight dry medium size logs for building a log cabin. We love using a blend of birch and oak. Have a pile near by for maintaining your fire. 
  • Kindling: A good size pile of dry sticks/smaller branches. 
  • Ignitor: Lighter or matches (we'll cover rocks & flints later..)

STEP ONE: Build Your Foundation & Walls
Clear out a small trench into the ground, let's say 4"x10" and about an inch deep. 
Place two smaller logs across from each other and two other smaller logs on top of them in the other direction. Think Log Cabin or Tick Tack Toe board. Repeat this step once or twice more.

STEP TWO:  Teepee Fuel + Ignition
In the center of your log cabin create a teepee of smaller sticks and tinder. Make sure you have a nice pile or ball of tinder in the trench first. (see image below)
Place more sticks across the top of the cabin in the same configuration as your foundation, covering the tinder.
Start the fire by placing a lighted match down the trench into the tinder pile or by using your lighter to get a flame going in the trench. A dry pine cone will ignite immediately. 

And finally make sure you practice good campfire safety. Only you can prevent wildfires.