SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on Backpacker.com


Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2010

Build a Fire on Snow

Thinks it's difficult to build a fire on snow? Think again with these tried and true tips.

by: Kristin Hostetter

    Tags:

Stomp out a flat spot, protected from the wind, and construct a platform out of rocks or logs. Ideally, you'll have a large, flat stone in the center. Place your tinder atop this, and arrange sticks tepee-style around it, then light the tinder. Make sure to bring a foolproof firestarter. As a backup for your butane lighter, one of the best flammables is drier lint (or cotton balls) slathered in petroleum jelly, packed in a pill bottle.



Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):
Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

mark
Apr 06, 2012

one thing that always confused me about LNT is that hiking on the trail maintains a trace. we should all go off trail along different paths so there is no trace. not really, but you know

Steve Cash
Dec 27, 2011

To help restore the friendliness to this thread, why don't we all just sit around the campfire, enjoy it's warmth, share some hot chocolate, roast something warm and gooey, stare into the flames and the faces of our new friends, and smile that we are outdoors! For around the fire, we are brought to thoughts about basic things - warmth, food, loved-ones, good thoughts about the day and eternal things. The contrast of the light against the dark and the glow on the faces around the fire are those things that make wonderful, lasting memories.

Kcarabio
Dec 25, 2011

Wow. Lots of negative energy here. Civility would be a nice change.

Bluejeans8001
Dec 25, 2011

Fires have been part of every Forrest long before man began to walk upright. Forest fires are a natural part of forest rejuvenating themselves. Review how the US Forest Service addresses fires now compared to years past. That said, responsible use of fire in the back country is all part of enjoying the back country and properly contain isn't going to ruin anyone's back country experience. It would be delusional to think you are the only person treading on Forrest floor for the first time and there is no comparison between sooty stones and man made garbage. Should animals bury their scat too? Be responsible and enjoy the back country as you choose just try not to force everyone to practice your beliefs, as your beliefs could be wrong or perhaps not righteous.

Bluejeans8001
Dec 25, 2011

Fires have been part of every Forrest long before man began to walk upright. Forest fires are a natural part of forest rejuvenating themselves. Review how the US Forest Service addresses fires now compared to years past. That said, responsible use of fire in the back country is all part of enjoying the back country and properly contain isn't going to ruin anyone's back country experience. It would be delusional to think you are the only person treading on Forrest floor for the first time and there is no comparison between sooty stones and man made garbage. Should animals bury their scat too? Be responsible and enjoy the back country as you choose just try not to force everyone to practice your beliefs, as your beliefs could be wrong or perhaps not righteous.

ppeanut48
Dec 24, 2011

Ethics are NOT opinions or rules. Each of us can be un-seeing and/or un-clear about the facts before us. Fires in the woods (or anywhere) leave behind evidence. Each of us must decide, for ourself, if creating and/or leaving that evidence behind is acceptable. Facts are often skewed by passion. Be civil in your discourse, please.

Fire Walker
Dec 24, 2011

Better stop farting; methane is flammable.

LostBaggage
Dec 23, 2011

aaahhhhh yeaaahhh, Beardedcanadian? Your a tool.

Wayne
Dec 23, 2011

I cannot imagine anywhere that there are trees that surface rocks have not already been subjected to fires countless times. If it makes you feel better than when you break down camp turn the rocks sooted surface face down.

IL_Scouter
Dec 23, 2011

Hey, hey, easy now. Everyone has an opinion and they're all valid. I think the point that BP was trying to make is that you don't want to try starting a fire directly on snow... doesn't work well. What other readers probably meant to say was that some thought should be be given before you trash some place in the name of "adventure" and soon the backcountry looks like an inner city parking lot.

That being said, we do incorporate many of the LNT prinicpals into the skills we teach the scouts.

For winter campfires, we try to find as ideal of a location as possible and yes, we do use nature. Our fires are sometimes built on flat rocks, but the rock is cleared of snow and duff, then covered with the aluminum foil that we carry to make windscreens for the stoves. The heat reflects back into the fire making it easier to start and ash up, the rock is saved from scarring and the foil gets wiped off after the fire and stored for the next use. Everybody wins and stewards of the next generation move on to teach others.

ShoveLNTwhereItBelongs
Nov 24, 2010

Wow, Beardedcanadian should look into what LNT REALLY means. Sorry Beardedcanadian, but I'm not cleaning up the skin cells that may have fallen off my body while hiking out there.

Like it or not (I'm pretty sure you don't), this planet was MEANT to be populated by PEOPLE also! That means we're allowed to (GASP!) USE IT!

I fail to see how charring a rock is going to ruin YOUR planet! Don't like it? Get a scrub brush because it'll wash off!! You can clean all the rocks you see.

You can also drive yourself inSANE with this LNT too. LNT is a good thing, but come on man, don't carry it TOO far?! It just makes you look like a crazy old coot, and NOBODY except other crazy old coots, will sit next to you at the fire! You'll have a very lonely life. (if you have one at all).

Good grief....

LNT NUTTER
Nov 19, 2010

THis is an article about building a fire on the snow. I grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where winter Saturdays were for skiing or snowshoeing out into the wilderness, building a raging fire, boiling coffee and roasting freshly hunted, killed and cleaned rabbits. By the time we got done with our rugged outdoor fun, there would be a hole melted around where the fire at least six feet around and melted all the way to the ground at least two or three feet deep. Guess what, in the spring, you wouldn't find any trace of a fire or our visit. Seems nature itself took care of any "scarring" from the fire, and the scavenger animals most likely enjoyed gnawing on the discarded rabbit furs and bones. There is a case for LNT ethics to be made, especially in crowded recreation areas. But never a case for LNT dictators who are sun catcher dazed nut jobs and psuedo-outdoor enthusiasts who simply think all of man and woman kind don't belong on the planet anywhere.

Hiking Bear
Nov 19, 2010

I hear you about scaring the rocks, I usually offer tobacco and give thank for their give away, same hold true for wood and all the other nature items. I am glad that you have spoken up and remind me to respect nature and LNT. While I was on the AT for seven and half month, I did not once build a camp fire. I am the white man trying not to take the best part of the meat.



Nobetterthananyoneelse
Nov 19, 2010

Ooooh! Another LNT Nazi. Humans are allowed to be in the outdoors, too. The Indians made campfires, and they did it with rock bases. There is a reason Mother Nature designed wood to burn. But hey, you..... with the Gore-tex jacket and the titanium spork! Yeah, you! From now on, we'll check with you before we reach the trailhead. Please forgive us since you're obviously so far superior to the rest of us.

Beardedcanadian
Nov 19, 2010

Yeah, good advice...let's scar all the rocks we find with burn marks. Look into LNT Backpacker.

Joe Flowers
Nov 19, 2010

Hey Kristin! I use Neo-sporin in place of petroleum jelly since usually working get abrasions on the knuckles when outside. Cool topic!

Charlie82
Nov 19, 2010

I've built fires on wet and frozen mud by first placing a layer of any kind of aluminum foil or foil packaging on it's surface. Mountain House outer wraps are very good; any kind of aluminized packaging will work. Be sure to collect the aluminum the next day!

itsjustbusiness
Nov 02, 2010

Don't forget good ole' pine sap. A wad the size of a thumb tip will burn for about 8 minutes and it burns when wet

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Trailhead Register
Anybody going to watch Bear Grylls tonight?
Posted On: Jul 28, 2014
Submitted By: mtnsteve
Gear
Want a pair of "grippy" rock climbing shoes
Posted On: Jul 28, 2014
Submitted By: fifeplayer

Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

>
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions