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kuzmajr

keeping a fire going in snow

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One thing I hadn't seen mentioned was feather sticks. They are simply a dead branch cut or broke from a dry tree either standing or above the snow, preferably where wind hits. Use a knife to shave slices from the main stick, while leaving their bases attached, kind of like feathers coming off of a bird. This adds dry surface area for easier ignition and can be a valuable tool for getting a fire rolling, or reviving it it if it begins to shrink. The aluminum foil mentioned earlier as a base is also very valuable.

 

Also don't forget the importance of a reflector once the fire is going. I carry a cheap silver space blanket in my kit in addition to whatever I plan to sleep in at all times. It can drape over a natural reflector or be rigged up with poles or trees to greatly increase the amount of heat you get use of. A quality hooded MPI space blanket worn with the wings out to reflect heat plus a space blanket reflector wrapped around the opposite side of the fire can make a big difference in a hurry. It's like you are the main course in a solar oven.

Edited by catfish hunter

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One thing I was thinking about is this. Whether its snow or dirt, would digging down 6-8" or so also make the fire less detectable from a distance if your trying to avoid attention? just a thought..

 

P.S. Texas Bill, try being a Cleveland Browns fan, cry me a river brother lol

 

Capt Mark,

Google Dakota Fire Pit. Here are some images

https://www.google.com/search?q=dakota+fire+pit&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=rEz&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=imvnsfd&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=nKwZT961A-iOsQLBnpikCw&ved=0CCQQsAQ&biw=1387&bih=631

 

A good write up is at http://www.survivaltopics.com/survival/the-dakota-fire-hole I've only built one; it wasn't deep enough, really, but it did work well.

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just use a magnesium rim off your Lexus I don't care if your underwater it will burn

 

snake when i was on the fire department,we had a forrest fire that got into junk yard thus caught a pile of magnesium wheels on fire we had to drag each wheel out seprately hit with water.which means your almost right.lol.

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I put a pencil sharpener in with all my fire kits. Find a dry twig, use the sharpener and you got some great tinder. adds near zero weight to your kit.

 

If the snow is deep, pack it down as best you can. Use wood to build a platform which you can build your fire. I use this method of platform building in wet weather as well.

Great idea about the sharpener! Thats one I have never heard before, but it sounds like it would work.

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The Swedish Candle is designed to be used in snow. While we didn't have snow this day, you can see that the base of the fire is above ground and could be any height you wanted. This fire lay was made with a chainsaw but they can be made with a hand saw with a bit of effort. They also work well for cooking your lunch :)

 

Swedish-Candle.png

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The Swedish Candle is designed to be used in snow. While we didn't have snow this day, you can see that the base of the fire is above ground and could be any height you wanted. This fire lay was made with a chainsaw but they can be made with a hand saw with a bit of effort. They also work well for cooking your lunch :)

 

Swedish-Candle.png

 

My only concern with the candle is structural. Great idea for a fire, no argument, but at what point will one of the "legs" be weakened enough to collapse and spill your supper or drinking water all over everything? I like the idea but setting the pot on the fuel seems risky to me.

 

Anyone have any idea how much time there is here?

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My only concern with the candle is structural. Great idea for a fire, no argument, but at what point will one of the "legs" be weakened enough to collapse and spill your supper or drinking water all over everything? I like the idea but setting the pot on the fuel seems risky to me.

 

Anyone have any idea how much time there is here?

 

I've used this before, but I split completely through with my ever present machete and then bound it with some sappling cordage. I noticed a pretty significant difference in burn time between hard wood and softwood on a piece seasoned hardwood I actually got a several hours out of it because I controlled the airflow by setting the spacing of my pieces. I've had some smaller softwood pieces go in a half hour or so, which was more than enough to boil some water and cook an egg or two.

 

As for stability, it's surprisingly stable, especially if you dig the base in an inch or two. Never considered it, but this may be your best fire option if you have the wood in extremely deep snow and windy conditions.

 

On the original topic When I was in the mountains of a particular third world cesspool I observed the locals building small fires on top of the snow using small flat rocks as a bed layered into a depression in the snow. I'd like to point out that the snow was deep, really deep. It seemed to work, but the method we were using was on a stick and twig bed. THere wasn't much wood there so most of out fires were pretty small and just long enough to warm up, dry our feet and maybe boil some water for coffee.

 

btw Awake, the pencil sharpener is slick, think I'll have to use that.

Edited by Vicioustom
clarity

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Welcome, Rod.

Of course you are welcome to post although I'm trying to decide if "chipping" in on a thread about fires was a really bad pun or just an accident!:confused: Some really good advice though and thank you for the contribution. Looking forward to hearing more from you. I don't really do any cold weather camping so the stuff from you folks in the more northern climes is welcome. Gives me a knowledge base for when the Glaciers move south of the Mason-Dixon line.

 

sorry to butt in,but one thing i've done is laid a row of logs down,then crossed the next layer then again the next if nessary.putting the bigger logs on the bottom.this also works well moving thru the swamps,except you have to tie the bottom row together,then put mud on first row,then you can raft your fire with you.

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The log in the picture was about 9- 10 inches in diameter. It burned at least two hours before I put it out to move onto another type of fire. The fire burns outwardly evenly so no leg really burns faster than another. Soft wood will burn faster than hardwood just like any fire. This log was barkless when we cut it up but I’d guess it was just a cottonwood, fairly soft. Stability is obviously better the larger your log is, but as was mentioned you can dig it into the dirt a bit or just prop a couple rocks around the base.

 

Splitting a smaller log all the way through works very well for cooking with a canteen cup or similar size pan. Easier to start the fire this way too as you can build your fire in between the legs and then move them together once they are burning well.

 

Another advantage with this type of fire is that it can put the radiant heat at the level you want it at. If you were sitting in a lawnchair the heat could be body height as opposed to feet height, or whatever.

 

Here’s a pic of it partly burnt.

 

 

Swedish-Candle-2.png

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Kuzmajr,

I would say tip number one is not to get discouraged. It took me a while to start my first fire, I used cotton balls as tinder dabbed in a little bit of alcohol. Even then it was hard but after what seemed 6000 hours I got a fire! Hope it worked out for you :)

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