Fire is known to be the most important discovery in the history of mankind. But we have come a long way from how our ancestors had to light up a fire. It is much easier to do with all the pieces of equipment and supplies we now have. But when you are camping away from home, how easy is it to light a fire? Can you do so with a lighter?
Starting a fire is not an easy task in the wild while camping. It requires a lot of effort and hard work, just like the old times. But having a lighter with you might save you from having to use stones. A lighter is easy to carry and can give you instant fire. Plus, if you meet with all the conditions, you might be able to set up a campfire as well.
As people are increasingly interested in outdoor activities, such as camping, it is essential to learn how to set up a fire. And using a lighter to do so might be one of the easiest ways and will come in very handy in every situation. That being said, let me help you with the 7 simple steps to follow to start a fire using a lighter.
Depending on your desire to connect with nature, camping exists in multiple forms, namely backcountry and frontcountry camping. So what’s the difference between backcountry and frontcountry camping, and why pick one over the other? What gear should we consider for each type? Read our article to find out more.
7 Simple Steps to Start a Fire With a Lighter While Camping
As stated earlier, lighting a fire in the wild is not as easy as you might think. The first time I lit up a fire, I was somewhat confident and thought it wouldn’t take much to do so. Although, on my very first tiring attempt, I could barely make a decent fire. So, I had to learn the process from a friend of mine.
Knowledge is more critical than overconfidence when you have to light a fire out in the wild, and a campfire is the heart of camping at night. Thus, it mustn’t end up becoming the most bothersome part of camping. Here are seven simple steps that will help you light a fire easily, even if it is your first time doing it.
- Find a suitable place
Finding a suitable place to make a fire is probably one of the most important things when trying to light a fire in the wild. Keep in mind that you cannot just light a fire anywhere as it might lead to severe fire hazards if you are not careful.
You must look for an open space with no trees nearby when lighting a fire. Besides, the ground must not be wet under any circumstances. The place must have good air circulation because, without much air, you cannot light up a fire. Also, make sure the ground isn’t covered in dry leaves.
You can make yourself a circular space by plucking out the leaves from the soil with a shovel. This way, you can easily make yourself a place to start a safe fire.
- Gather dry sticks and dry leaves
This step is the hardest of all because it requires you to get on your toes and start searching for sticks and dry leaves lying around the area. Remember, the sticks you are collecting must be dry. Also, don’t cut off any trees in the wild because it is crucial not to harm the wildlife in any way. Only collect the dry sticks that are on the ground.
The smaller lighter sticks or woods and dry leaves are generally used as the kindler. As in, they keep the fire lit up and support the tinder to burn. Larger woods or sticks are the tinder and are the primary support of the fire. So, you have to make sure to gather plenty to get a good lit fire.
- Form a tripod shape
Now, gather up all the tinder and place it in a tripod shape. Make sure to keep spaces between the sticks or woods, which must not end up cramped with one another. Form a strong base, so it doesn’t start breaking down once the fire is launched. Having a rope to bind them down might be very helpful as well, although not essential.
- Place the kindlers in between the sticks
Now, place all the small sticks and leaves in between the spaces kept in the tripod shape. Make sure not to fill it up and leave enough room for air to flow through. You will need the open spaces later. Make sure to put a balanced amount all around the tripod.
- Light up the kindlers
Now, bring out your lighter because it is time to put all your hard work to the test. Ignite the lighter and light up the kindlers all around the tripod. Make sure all of it is lighted up properly. You can also use paper to make fire with your lighter. It makes lighting up the kindlers a lot easier. You can even use the paper as a kindler once it lights up the sticks and leaves.
- Blow air into the fire
Now that you have a small fire thanks to the kindlers, blow air into the small spaces you made while placing them. Make sure to maintain a safe distance and keep blowing to help the fire spread out and light up the biggest dry sticks. Keep blowing until the tripod catches on fire. Be aware of the smoke that comes with the blow. It can cause inflammation in your eyes, as well as breathing problems.
- Maintain the fire
Now that all the hard work is done and you have a fire lit up in front of you, all you have to do is maintain it. To do is, add new dry sticks or leaves in the fire whenever it starts to slow down. Although, make sure not to place a large amount altogether. You can even throw paper in the fire to keep it going.
One thing to keep in mind is not to use any plastic or non-degradable material for your fire. It will make the smoke toxic and very harmful for people around it. So, if you have any plastic materials you think you can use to maintain the fire, I recommend you not to do so.
With these seven simple steps, you now have yourself a perfect guide to making a campfire with the help of a lighter. Make sure to follow them accordingly and be careful along the way.
How to Start a Fire With a Lighter and Wood
If you have brought along firewood, you just saved yourself 75% of the effort you had to put in to find the sticks and kindlers. However, you still need the kindler base to ignite the fire.
To start a fire with a lighter and wood, you need nothing more than following the same steps as provided above, with the only change in tinder. You have to find a proper dry place to light up the fire, as well as some kindlers, such as small dry sticks and leaves. Then, you need to form a tripod shape.
Instead of big, dry sticks, you will now use wood as the tinder. Wood is easy to light up and will make the fire a very long time. Also, unlike with sticks, you don’t need a lot of wood to make a fire. Overall, you can get a brighter fire in a lesser space.
To launch the fire, you have to place three or four pieces of wood, depending on how big you want the fire to be, and form a tripod. Next, set the kindlers below and around the spaces. Then, you have to light them up and blow until the woods catch on fire.
How to Start a Campfire With Lighter Fluid
Lighter fluid can be very efficient for starting a fire in the woods. It makes the whole process a lot easier and doesn’t require much work, such as collecting a large number of kindlers and blowing into the fire, for instance. But, it is important to be safe and know how to use fuels when you are lighting a fire as not being careful about it might cause serious accidents.
You will have to follow the same process as previously mentioned to start a campfire with a lighter. As before, you have to find a suitable place to make the fire. Gather up dry sticks and leaves to use as tinder and kindlers. Then, make a tripod with sticks or woods, depending on what you are using as a tinder to make your fire.
Now, without placing the kindlers like in all the other processes, apply lighter fluid on the tripod or wood. You have to make sure to use a good amount while being careful not to soak the area. Once done, place the kindlers and light them up. You may blow a little on it until the fire catches up in the wood.
Putting lighter fluid on an already-lit fire is a big rookie mistake and can be deadly. Under no circumstances should you ever pour fuel on an ongoing fire!
It is vital to keep a safe distance for a while as it is impossible to know whether the fire will get vigorous or not. So, at first, let the fire settle, and only then may you start maintaining and enjoying it.
Want to know more about how to make a fire when you’re out camping? Check out our step-by-step guide on starting a campfire where we go into the nitty-gritty details of making a fire as well as properly extinguishing it.
Some Alternative Methods to Make a Fire
You can always use fire matches in place of a lighter to light up a fire. Matches are a safe option as you can use them from a distance and throw them at the woods and sticks. You can even leave a few matches between the kindlers, as it can help make a fire more quickly.
Although not recommended, you can use gasoline to make a campfire. However, it is pretty risky since gasoline is highly combustible and can cause fire hazards. Therefore, you have to be safe using gasoline.
Using gasoline to ignite a fire is quite similar to using lighter fluid. Although, you can directly start the fire without having to make a bed of kindlers. All you have to do is soak the tinder in gasoline, then form a trail of gasoline on the ground for about 25-30 meters, and light up the trail. Let the fire get stable and put off the trail if it hasn’t already stopped. Then, maintain the fire with sticks or wood.
It is very risky, and even people who regularly make fire suggest not using gasoline to make one. So, don’t try to start a fire with gasoline unless you have experience doing so.
You can use vegetable oil as well to start a fire. All you have to do is soak the tinder and kindler in vegetable oil and light up a fire with a lighter or match. The oil will help burn the woods and makes a perfect fire. It is a relatively safer way to build a fire.
Friction is the most primitive way of making fire. It is a survival tactic when you have no other options available. Although, it is very tiresome and complicated. To do this, you need to cut a piece of wood open and make a circular hole in it. With the help of a stick, you then have to keep rotating in the hole until it gets heated up and sends off sparks. The fire sparks will help you light up the kindlers to make a fire.
It is both challenging and quite impossible if you have never practiced doing it before. So, make sure to bring a lighter or matchbox when you are camping.
Things to Remember and Safety Instructions
Fire can be deadly if you are not safe. Therefore, there are few things you have to remember when making a campfire.
First off, you need a fire permit to make a fire. Many camping areas don’t allow fire because of the nature of the trees around the site and the weather. So, make sure to inquire about the permits and whether it is safe to start a fire or not.
What not to use
You must not use any chemical substances nor plastic for the fire. Never bring any fireworks near the campfire either, as they might cause severe fire hazards. Also, be very careful when using fuel, like gasoline and lighter fluid.
Never let any children near the fire, or worse, play with it. Always keep them at a safe distance and make sure to keep an eye on them.
Keep a first aid kit on you when you are camping, with ointments to treat any minor burns. In case of emergency, rush to the nearest hospital and get treated by professionals.
Putting out the fire
You must put out the fire before you leave the place. If you have water, splash some on it until the fire completely stops and the ground is wet. If you don’t have water, use sand and soil to put off the fire. Make sure not to leave anything burning, and clear the coal in a plastic bag before setting off.