If you are going camping, you probably know that “fire and water” are the most important things you will need, but what you may not have thought of is the negative result of these two elements combining with one another! If you are going to be taking a camping trip on a rainy weekend – or if it has been raining in the area where you will be camping – you will want to make sure you know the right way to get a fire started with wet wood.
Firstly – in addition to your fire steel – make sure you also bring some matches and even a lighter; your fire steel should always be a backup in case your matches get wet and your lighter stops working, and should never be your primary means for starting a fire.
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After you have designated your fire spot and have dug the necessary hole, collect as many dead leaves and as much dead grass as you can; these will still probably be wet, but they will dry out much more quickly if they are already dead. Next, collect as much dead wood as you can – focusing first on sticks and smaller pieces of wood, and then moving onto larger logs.
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Getting some coals going is the most important step of getting a fire started – which means you will have to get the smaller sticks burning – and the way to get the smaller sticks burning is to get the leaves and grass going strong enough that they can dry out the sticks and get them going; start by holding the match constantly over a small pile of leaves and grass, drying this pile out enough that it can catch fire (not a slow smoldering, but a real fire!). Once you have this pile going, add it to the bigger pile of leaves and grass, wait for it to catch fire, then add the sticks; when you take this approach, you will be able to start your fire without any problem – even in spite of the wetness!