Tech Tip #32
October 4, 2019
Sometimes you have to cook over a wood fire, generally to save gas. The first thing to do is NOT to make a fire ring. Instead, cut away the surface material, so you can replace it when you leave, and then dig a shallow hole for your fire; not a pit. Doing this not only stops the vandalisation of the environment – you’d never spray paint a tree, but you would burn a big dirty hole in the ground – but also informs you of the foundation of the fire. This is vital, as you need to avoid mistaking the solid earth for forest detritus, or ‘duff’, a sub-ground layer that can be extremely thick, often identified by a springiness underfoot. Making a fire on top of such a combustible layer can lead to wildfires, your fire smouldering long after you’ve gone. Making sure you’re digging into the soil, dig your hole, and collect your tinder, kindling, and firewood from the forest floor. Do not cut down live trees or branches. Don’t try and build the largest fire you can, unless you’re trying to dry your gear, but instead, go for the smallest fire. The image most people have, of someone cooking over a roaring fire, is generally wrong, and in most cases, you need to be cooking over the hot embers, placing the pan directly on top. This stops your lightweight pots from getting wrecked, as they are not set up to be hung easily over a fire. It also allows you to stay close to the fire without roasting yourself alive and stops everything from tasting like smoke. If you want more flame, then you can try and support the pant on top of some non-porous rocks, and feed in kindling. If you’re running with a PCS that you’ve added a wire hanging loop to, then this can be hung over a larger fire via a branch. When it’s time to move on, douse the fire with water, piss on it, or mix with dirt, and check there are no hotspots with your hand. Fill in the hole, and replace everything as you found it. Note: #365ClimbTips is a daily tip, with the aim to publish one a day for a year.