Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Weekly Survival Skills Challenge: Twig Based Fires

This week's survival challenge is simple, make a sustainable fire (chest high flame with material as thick as your wrist on fire) with twigs and sticks you pick up from the ground or dead standing. This is the type of fire I create 90% of the time when out in the woods and it works well for me for cooking and short-term heating (add larger logs for a long-term fire). I have included several past YouTube videos below to help you through the challenge and also the links below can serve as good reference material if you are having any issues (Also please don't hesitate to ask any questions you may have in the comments below).

So advice for this challenge: 1) Tinder- Don't use a flash tinder get something that will give you an intense flame for at least  two minutes if this is your first attempt at this type of fire (i.e. one of my Fire Pads, Large tinder bundle of tulip poplar, baseball hat full of dry shavings, baseball bundle of dryer lint, etc.); 2) MORE SMALLS. If you don't have two fists full of small twigs (think pencil led) then go get more (if you material is wet no less than 4 fists full). Quadruple that amount of prep for pencil size twigs and have at least a bushel  (make a pile on the ground and pick it up and hug it against your chest) of twigs between thumb and wrist size; 3) Chaos is king, don't try to make it look perfect, just let it have plenty of oxygen (use your hat to fan it if it looks like its beginning to fade); 4) once you have a decent flame from each level of sticks you can then start to add the next type; 5) If this is going to be your warming fire then get 10x the amount of wood you think you will need (See my fire prep for an all night twig based fire HERE-LINK); 6) If you don't succeed the first time think about adding more tinder material or getting better tinder material and get MORE SMALLS. If you can't get a huge bundle of pencil led twigs to ignite with a decent tinder bundle film it, email me and I will Skype with you to help trouble shoot.

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); Splitwood Tepee Fire Lay (LINK)

Sustainable Wet Twig Fire Using Dryer Lint For Tinder: 
This is one fire tinder everyone has laying around the house for the most part so i decided to do this sustainable fire using the simplest of tinder bundles just plain old dryer lint (See Full Article about this fire HERE- LINK. This fire method can be done with nearly any type of tinder bundle (avoid flash tinder such as jute twine and cattail), just be sure there is enough material/flame time to not only dry your smalls but also bring them up to combustion temperature.

Using Wet Fire Tinder To Light Wet Twigs:  
This is essentially the same method as above just demonstrating a different type of tinder material, WetFire (Buy Them Here- LINK). If you are having trouble with natural tinder or DIY tinder go grab some of these using that link above and you shouldn't have any problem effecting fire even in wet conditions. Just remember to have a brace to place your tinder on (i.e. bark from a log) and don't light the entire cube, make shavings it will improve your odds!

Low On Tinder Materials or Ferro Rods? Try These:

Modified Twig Bundle Fire w/ Softwoods & Dry Grass Tinder:  
This is my favorite means of making a twig based fire! If I'm moving my camp I will without a doubt make one of these twig bundles (if raining I will make two separate bundles then add tinder materials in-between and secure together) prior to leaving my first camp so that once I get to my second camp I can have a sustainable fire just one ferro rod strike away! So what are some lessons I have learned since making this video? 1) More tinder material in between the bundles= big fire fast; 2) If I keep the tinder in my leather belt dump pouch these fire lays will still go up like wild fire even when wet; 3) make several of these bundles to fill the air space under a raised bed and it will help keep you warm in two ways; 4) If you are trying to rapidly rewarm be sure to lean it against a dead log and your fire will easily be the same height as you are; 5) use bank line to secure this fire lay it will stay together muck longer; 6) tie the two bundles together 3/4 of the way up so you have a little air flow, yet it will still stay together after flame for a few minutes; 7) Collect your larger wood and add them to the fire as soon as the bundle breaks apart; and 8) You may need a stick to move all of the fire material post breaking apart back into your fire area.  Read the full article about this twig bundle for more information HERE- LINK.
Wet Hardwood Twig Bundle:
While this twig bundle will not burn with the intensity of the softwood bundle, it is still a very effective fire lay and has worked quite well for me in the eastern woodlands where nearly all the trees around me are hardwoods. I usually collect the bundles as I walk from camp to camp or out on scouts, you can simply put them under your arm or tie a shemagh as an arm sling and keep it in front of you to hold the bundle. With this bundle (especially when wet) you will often need much more tinder material to get a sustainable fire so keep that in the back of your mind. Read the full article about this twig bundle for more information HERE- LINK.

If You Missed Our Last Few Shows Or Survival Challenges Be Sure To Catch Up On Them Here:
Weekly Survival Challenge: Week 1- Knife Selection, Maintenance and Use (LINK-HERE); Week 2- Water Gathering and Purification (LINK-HERE); Week 3- Ferro Rod Skills (Link Here);
Weekly Radio Show: The quality of knives and outdoor gear w/ Indy Hammered Knives (7/14- LINK HERE)Obtaining Suitable Water (07/21- LINK HERE); First Live Show (07/07- LINK HERE);

This week's survival skill challenge is to take advantage of all those twigs laying on the ground around you. I prefer twig based fires as they are fast and take less time to build than a split wood fire, but they also come with the drawback of being harder to maintain, are smokier and often harder to light. I like these as it means less tress to chop down, not wasting resources that are there for the picking and if practices can not only be efficient but can become one of your favorite means of making fire. So get out there, pick up some sticks and bring out your inner Mountain Man by making a fire.

Be sure to join us each Tuesday night at 9pm Eastern Time on American Preppers Network's: Prepper Broadcasting Network for the 7 P's Survival Radio Show (http://prepperbroadcasting.com/the-7-ps-of-survival/). If you have a suggestion for a show topic or know someone who would like to be a guest then please feel free to contact me by email (joshsemailfilter-7psblog@yahoo.com). 

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