Camping just isn’t the same without a campfire. In some circumstances, a campfire is necessary for warmth or cooking. So what do you do if you need to get a fire going and it has recently rained? Finding dry firewood in wet conditions is possible, it just takes a little extra effort.
Finding Dry Tinder
Tinder is what you need to get the fire started. This is the really small stuff that’s about the size of a needle. Usually you can use dry brush and leaves, but if it has rained it can be difficult to find. Look for bark instead. The outside of the tree will be wet, but if you start to peel off the outside bark, it will be dry underneath. Simply separate the wet stuff from the dry. If it’s still a little damp, make sure to rip it up as much as you can. Put it in your pocket while you look for the rest of your wood. Your clothes and body heat will help dry it out.
Finding Dry Kindling
Kindling is the next ingredient for any fire. These are pieces that are about the diameter of your finger that will easily light from the tinder. These can usually be found easily, you just have to know where to look. The branches of pine trees are great at keeping kindling dry. If you find a pine tree with branches that go low to the ground, take a look under it. As they shed their branches and things fall off, they’re held in place by the others and kept out of the elements.
Finding Dry Fuel Wood
The fuel wood is the big pieces that you need to get a decent fire going and keep it going so you can make some Campfire Pizza Logs for your hungry campers. Finding this is going to require some work. Find the big logs and dead trees that are lying around and split them. While the outside of these pieces are wet, the inside will be dry. Split off the outside and keep the dry inner parts. If you aren’t able to get the outside of it off, just make sure that when you add these to the fire, you’re putting the dry side toward the flames. This way the dry part is the first to light and then the heat can help dry out the wet exterior.
Where to Build
When you're hiking or camping in wet conditions, you need to think harder about where and how to build your fire. Throwing your dry wood on the wet ground is counteractive, so don't do it. Try to lay some wood or even rocks across the area to elevate your fire and keep it off the ground. If it’s raining, then you need to think about protecting your fire from the rain so it doesn’t put it out. Before you start your fire, look around for an area that is protected from rain and wind. If you aren’t able to find a sheltered area for a fire, there is a fire-building method that helps shelter itself a bit while you get it going. Building a lean-to fire allows you to use the large fuel wood to shelter the tinder and kindling while it gets going. This also allows you to create heat from the inside out and can dry out the outer wood while the inner stuff burns. The way it’s set up, it also allows you to build it with the opening away from the wind to shelter the fire as it gets going.
Don’t feel defeated if you get up and find your camping trip has been rained on. You can build a great fire even if it seems all the wood is wet! If you’re at a campsite where you can’t just go scavenge in the woods for your own wood, remember that many people tend to sell firewood near campgrounds. Look for a roadside stand that has the wood under a shelter and has the pile wrapped in plastic. If all else fails, you can always turn on your RV's stove to make these delicious Skillet Fried Tacos.