THE ART OF FIRECRAFTING

Adventure Motorcycle (ADVMoto)July - August 2020

THE ART OF FIRECRAFTING
Want kudos from your pals during your next camping moto-adventure? Learn to build a fire. This essential skill can be learned by any adventure rider. All it takes is the right process, good tools and a little practice. The result? During your next camp you’ll have the ability to create a glowing morale booster that provides warmth, entertainment, and a heat source for cooking, while you gain the distinctive title of “Firecrafter.” Here are some guidelines to get started.
Bryan Weber and E. Scott Lowdermilk

Step 1—Preparation

Bring the right tools: Seasoned campers and experienced adventure riders carry a small fire kit as part of their essential gear. This kit typically includes an axe, hatchet or saw; a pocketknife; waterproof matches, a lighter, or ferro/magnesium rod (aka metal match); and a small tinder kit. We prefer metal matches like the one shown in the photo on page 44 because they’re superior ignition sources for most conditions, easy to transport, cost-effective and last forever. Sparks from metal matches burn at 4,000°F and the magnesium flakes burn even when wet. Lighters are dependable but be careful to make sure you have plenty of fuel to last an entire trip. No one wants to eat cold food or sit around a small void of darkness after a long day’s ride.

Prepare the site: Use designated fire pits whenever available, but when building a fire on the ground prepare the site by clearing a four-foot circle all the way down to bare earth. This will be the fire bed, so make sure there are no plant materials around. You’ll also want to give your fire bed plenty of space by placing it at least 10 feet from anything flammable, including your tent, gear and ride. Remember, moisture is an enemy to fire. If the ground is damp, build your fire on top of dry wood or tree bark.

Prepare a combustible source: Tinder is used to start fires and ignite kindling, then larger stages of fuel. It’s best to bring reliable combustible material that you can depend on. You can purchase commercial products like hexamine cubes from most stores that sell camping equipment. You can also make your own by covering cotton balls or swabs with petroleum jelly or squirting small amounts of isopropyl alcohol onto kindling. Cotton balls covered with petroleum jelly are a well-known trick that overlanders have used for years. These can be stored in a Ziploc bag and you usually don’t have to worry about damaging them in transport. Petroleum jelly is used to slow the burn rate of the cotton, thereby making the flame last longer. This gives a better chance to ignite kindling.

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July - August 2020