Monday, July 20, 2015

Splitwood Tepee Fire Lay

This week we will be digging into fire craft a little deeper and looking at the Tepee fire lay using split-wood. I end up using this fire lay a good bit in the woods and most commonly use it for the following tasks: 1) signal fires; 2) wet condition fires; 3) cooking/boiling; 4) rapid rewarming; 5) creating lots of light for keeping predators at bay; and 6) making a platform for a star fire.

Need Additional Help Getting Your Fire Started? Try a few of these methodsDryer Lint Tinder Bundle  (LINK); Gorilla Tape Tinder Bundle (LINK); Rub Cloth (LINK); Dragon Ball Fire Starters (LINK); Char Cloth (LINK); Solar Ignition (LINK); One Stick Fire (LINK); Fire Pad (LINK); DIY Fire Starter: Cotton & Petroleum Jelly Modification  (LINK); Camp Fire vs. Survival Fire vs. Cooking Fire (LINK); Building a Sustainable Fire In Wet Conditions (LINK); Split Match Trick (LINK); Survival Resources 4x Fresnel Magnifier (LINK); Fatwood Fire (LINK); Evolution of My Pocket Fire Kit (LINK); Split Wood Fires: Using Your Knife As A Spokeshave (LINK); Cattail Fluff Used as Flash Tinder (LINK); Wetfire Tinder (LINK); Twig Bundle Fire (LINK);What I like to Use For Tinder Bundle Materials (LINK); Fritos Tinder Bundle (LINK); Splitwood Log Cabin Fire (LINK).

The video below covers everything from building, lighting shavings with a ferro rod, talking about the fires use and general conversation about the practicality of the fire lay. Just click on the play icon in the picture below for the video to start automatically.

Need Help Getting Your Fire Started?

So Here are A Few Pictures Of The Process:
1) Split-wood fire material laid out in pencil lead, pencil and thumb or slightly larger
2) Scraping tinder bundle with enough material to fill a baseball hat
3) This fire lay as setup above will shed water greatly and produce one heck of a a large fire (see below). If you are going to leave this for an extended period of time just cover with pine and you will have a dry fire lay whenever you need fire.
4) As you can see this fire will take off quickly, make a lot of light and put out a ton of heat. You can easily control the heat and light from this fire lay by simply adjusting the amount of wood on the fire lay.
So Lets Dig Into What You Can Do With This Fire Lay:
Signal Fires: If you are not going to build a tripod based signal fire (See how here -LINK) this is what I would do should you need to make a rapid signal fire (note- in wet conditions build this fire on a platform so water does not collect in your tinder bundle). To make this a signal fire all you would need to do is pile lots of pine onto the fire (cover the opening until its time to light the fire then remove and place elsewhere as you will need this opening for air flow). The pine on top of this fire lay will shed nearly all of the water and keep the fire lay incredibly dry and ready to start in an instant. The fast take off you get from this fire will increase your ability to be seen with lots of fire and lots of smoke. Remember if you are making signal fires make three of them and ensure they are evenly spaced around your camp in the open area.

Wet Condition Fires: Being that this is a split wood fire it is already optimal for wet weather, add to this the fact that the shape of this fire is naturally moisture rappelling and you have lots of fire fast. The best thing about this fire is you can put the split wood in the center around your tinder bundle (keep a tarp over you when splitting the wood and making your fire lay) and then pile on the moist or wet wood which will quickly dry out as the dry wood underneath burns. You essentially get  a fast burning fire to quickly dry your outer layer of wet wood, which provides you with a
 Cooking/Boiling: This is one of the best fires for boiling as it puts a concentrated amount of heat at the top center of the fire lay. I don't use it nearly as often as the Log Cabin Fire Lay (See How To Make It HERE- LINK) as it takes a little longer to get a good base of hot coals but you can do a decent amount of roasting (marshmallows, hotdogs, other camping with kids type of foods) with this fire lay. For use as a boiling fire be sure to have a tripod (Learn To Make One Here- LINK) to move the container up and down as needed to control the process.
Rapid Rewarming: As you can see from the video this fire lay gives you get a lot of fire fast. This fire provides body wide and high fire within a few minutes (granted it about 45 minutes to an hour of prep). Keep this fire lay ready in camp for whenever you may need it and it will see you through the hard times. 

Creating Lots Of Light For Keeping Predators At Bay: One look at this fire and most predators will not only keep their distance but avoid the area. This is a lot of fire and will more than scare off nearly every predator in the woods (warning may attract 2 legged predators).  While this fire will not burn all night like many others it does afford the opportunity for lots of heat and fire rapidly and that is exactly what you need when you have a bear, wolf or cougar knocking at your door.

Making A Platform For A Star Fire: While any strong bed of coals will provide you with a solid platform for a star fire this one seems to work decent. I do prefer to use the Log Cabin Fire Lay for this function as it uses less wood overall and will provide a great coal base for the fire.
The tepee fire lay is one of the most essential fire lays that you can bring to the table in the woods. The fire lay can be made in advance of a fire and even when it rains will be essentially shielded from the elements, add some pine to the top of the fire lay and you have a virtually water retardant fire at the ready. While its not my main fire lay (I use dead twigs/wood I collect from the ground 90% of the time using this fire lay- See It Here LINK) or I use a twig bundle fire when moving from camp to camp (see how to make it here- LINK) I do believe it is highly functional for the purposes I listed above in detail. My standard use for this fire is when prepping a fire for the night or when building a fire for very wet conditions (i.e. prolonged driving rain when I cant have the fire area covered or don't want it covered). This is often the third fire lay I teach people (twig based chaos fire then log cabin fire lay) as it is extremely flexible but slightly harder to master than the previous two fire lays. 
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