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in: Outdoor/Survival, Skills, Visual Guides

• Last updated: September 26, 2021

How to Start a Fire in the Rain: An Illustrated Guide

How to start a Fire in the Rain illustration.

Knowing how to start a fire is one thing; knowing how to do it in the rain is a whole other. Whether you’re a frequent camper, or an avid hiker, it’s an important skill to have. In an emergency situation, it may very well be the difference between life and death, as fire provides not only warmth, but food as well. (Note that cutting bark from a tree should in fact only be done in an actual emergency, as this can damage and even kill the tree.) Follow the tips above and you’ll never be without the skills to start a fire, even on a damp and rainy adventure.

1. Collect tinder. Pine needles dry easily; another option is tree bark — there’s almost always one dry side. (Or always have your own firestarter or hand).

2. Find kindling and fuel wood. Look for an area with natural cover to find dry wood — a leaning rock, fallen tree, or the lower branches of an evergreen.

3. Make sure wood is dry enough. For kindling, try to snap it; it should easily break. For branches, spilt them with a knife to find dry wood inside.

4. Once you’ve collected wood, find a location for your fire. Underneath a large tree is a good choice, or string a tarp between trees.

5. Create a bed for your fire to separate it from the wet ground using tree bark or constructing a bed from branches.

6. Build the lay. Make a pile of tinder, then create a teepee over it with kindling, and larger teepee around that with your fuel wood.

7. With your stormproof matches, light the tinder from underneath, carefully blow on it, and watch your fire grow.

8. Set kindling and fuel logs next to fire so they fry out and can be used to keep the fire going.

As a bonus, learn how to make your own char cloth (firestarter).

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Like this illustrated guide? Buy the poster!

Illustrated by Ted Slampyak

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