Wilderness Survival: Build A Tipi For Better Fire Starting

An excerpt from the Hunting & Gathering Survival Manual

The “tipi” shape is a perfect architectural style for your fire lay. This cone-shaped cluster of kindling and tinder should be free standing in your prospective camp fire spot. It can be set up one stick at a time (laborious), or formed into a cone as you collect the materials (easier!). Place a slab of dead bark on the ground if conditions are really wet. Otherwise, you can simply place a little extra tinder on the ground to buffer your fire from the dampness and cold. Use a lot more of the slender pieces than you think is necessary, and try to keep the pieces long as you collect them. 1-foot pieces are a good length for the majority of your kindling twigs and sticks. Fill the center of the tipi with tinder. Then observe this two tipi lighting standards.

  • Light the tipi on the side that the breeze is coming from, to feed air into the fire and drive the fire into the fuel.
  • Light the tinder in the tipi as low to the ground as possible, so that the heat and flames can rise through the structure.

Light the tinder with any fire starting method you have available, and the rest will soon catch flame. Add sticks as the tipi burns, and then add firewood continuing the tipi shape.

These tips and many more survival tips are in MacWelch’s books: Prepare For Anything – the Hunting & Gathering Survival Manual – and How To Survive Anything

Follow him on Twitter @timmacwelch

And check out more of MacWelch’s outdoor skills and survival articles in Outdoor Life Magazine.

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