How to Start a Campfire in the Rain

How to Start a Campfire in the RainFalling drops of cold water render the cheerful campfire at once utterly essential and a great deal trickier to start. Fire wants fuel, oxygen and heat and all three are compromised by rain. The keys to success are small, dry fuel, a reliable flame, protection from the sky and time for the emerging blaze to grow. Once your medium-sized branches are glowing, you can pile on wood with abandon.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Newspaper
  • Pocket knife
  • Waterproof matches and case and/or lighter in ziplock bag
  • Dry flint or nail file
  • Small tarp
Step 1
Collect tinder, such as dry tree needles, moss and buried leaves from under logs, rocks and standing trees. Gather tiny dead branches from lower portions of trees or off the ground, or strip bark off dead trees. Keep this material covered with small tarp.
Step 2
Gather kindling--slightly larger branches and twigs from under logs, rocks, leaves or dense standing trees, or off of dead snags. Amass more than seems necessary and find some larger wood to keep the fire going. Keep it all covered.
Step 3
Break or cut tinder into strips and clump together several small, loose bundles which are light enough to catch fire quickly.
Step 4
Using your body or rocks as a windbreak, place scrunched paper or dry cloth and one tinder bundle on a relatively dry space and assemble some kindling around it in a tepee shape.
Step 5
Covering the fuel with your body or piece of clothing, light the tinder with a lighter or waterproof matches, adding more tinder as necessary to ignite the kindling. Save larger wood until a good blaze of kindling is achieved.

Article Written By Barry Truman

Barry Truman has published many outdoor activity articles in the past five years with International Real Travel Adventures, the Everett Herald and Seattle Post Intelligencer newspapers, Backpacking Light Magazine and He has a forestry degree from the University of Washington.

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