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March 2011

The Manual: Couples Camping 101

Use these proven methods to make sure your first romantic camping foray into the wilderness isn't your last.


Light a Fire with Just One Match

The only thing hotter than cozying up by a campfire? Impressing your date by sparking an instant flame.

1. Collect a couple handfuls of dry twigs and dry tinder, such as shredded bark, moss, or leaves (or pack dryer lint).

2. Build, depending on personal preference, either a lean-to (A), teepee (B), or log cabin (C) structure out of twigs. Pack the interior semi-tightly with tinder, but leave open spaces for airflow and a small space below the structure for inserting a match, which, let’s face it, is sexier than a Bic (maybe it’s the dramatic striking sound).

3. Light the match out of the wind and close to the tinder. Hold the flame to the fuel; when coals form, blow softly to add oxygen.

4. Gradually add sticks; start pencil-diameter, then increase size.

5. Make chairs out of your sleeping mat and a chair kit (like the Big Agnes Cyclone SL; $40, 6 oz., bigagnes.com) and huddle close.
Find step-by-step video instruction at backpacker.com/lightafire.

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