How To Make A Self Feeding Fire That Burns For 14+ Hours

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How To Make A Self Feeding Fire That Burns For 14+ Hours
How To Make A Self Feeding Fire That Burns For 14+ Hours. Photo –

Keeping a fire burning throughout the night can be tedious work. For those of you who have tried, you know the lack of sleep it causes. There are a few theories and favorites for keeping your fire burning longer such as piling your wood smallest to largest, also known as a reverse fire, and splitting a long log in half before building a fire in between the split logs, also known as a horizontal log fire.

Which brings us to this amazing old-school technique. If you are a camping or survival enthusiast, this trick is going to change your world. It takes a bit of prep (and also requires straight logs), but you get a payoff because when you get it right it should be “set and forget”.

Location is Key: You’ll first want to find a location that is suitable for a fire. Be sure to steer clear of any area that may be too close to dead or dry trees and/or shrubs. Ideally, this fire should be built in a dirt circle. If the surrounding greenery is green enough, it can be done on grass.

Building Your Ramp: The most important part is the first step, building a ramp to place your logs on.

• Find four large sticks or fallen branches (the latter is best). These will be your ramp.
• Find four sticks or branches large enough to support the previous four.
• Now you’ll need to perfect your angle. There are a few tips for this
• The logs will need to be extremely straight when placed on the ramp, so be sure to make ramp legs as even as possible.
• Be sure to factor in gravity and rising heat. You don’t want your top logs to burn with your bottom logs. This is meant to be a self-feeding fire.
• Place a few logs on to test your angle before burning.

Add Logs: Now that your ramp is complete, it’s time to add the logs.

• Place small sticks between the two bottom logs to keep an opening to place tinder later.
• You will want to place heavier logs towards the bottom. You do not want too much weight at the top. Again, gravity is a factor here.
• Be sure to leave spaces in the bottom logs that allow sufficient air flow. This will allow your fire to burn hot and slow. If not done properly it can lead to the edges not burning as fast which will keep upper logs from properly moving down.
• Be aware of air flow around other logs. You want to keep this to a minimum so the flame does not travel.

Light and Enjoy: Once you have your set up complete, add tinder and light. Completely fill bottom space with tinder. This fire should last 14 or more hours. It can even last in rain. A downpour may be different, but it has been shown to last in at least 1- 1/4 inch of rain.

Alterations: A final tip; if you are concerned about the logs rolling towards you, take one side out. You will then need to place large, heavy rocks in its place. They need to be dry if they are wet the heat could make them explode. Be sure to sleep on the side you took out so it is perpendicular to the fire. This will cause the log side to act as a wind barrier.

For an alternate technique, check out my tutorial on the winter camping “long fire”.

Note: Fires should not be left unattended unless they are in a location where there is absolutely no risk of an uncontrolled blaze or drifting spark hazard.

Ok, here’s the self-feeding fire tutorial video:

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