Bushlore Topics > Fire!

How do you guys build a winter long fire?

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   Most of the time when we make one , we do not dig any trench or place stakes in the ground. Particularly in Winter with the ground frozen. Gabbertys set up in the pics is pretty close. One difference I see, is that we generally split a couple 3-5 inch spacers for the bottom logs to rest upon like joists, round side up , flat to the ground, rather than directly on the ground. For air space,prevents some of the moisture problems from the ground thawing & putting out some of the coals, plus helps keep the logs from rolling. We don't usually split the larger logs, but we have chopped spaced notches for added surface area & air gaps if the top log settles down to the lower ones after the mid spacers burn through. Other than that pretty similar to Gabbartys pics.


Good topic!

More options from Lonnie at Far North Bushcraft and Survival....

In winter in deep snow I have finally learned that the time and effort to dig a long trench is worth it.
I dig the trench down to the ground about 2-4 feet wide and generally about 10-20 feet long depending on the depth of snow.
Paradoxically, the deeper the snow, the longer the trench.
I make sure that the snow upder my bed is blocked by a log to keep it from melting out.
I then lay a few logs on the far side to make a "reflector".
I lay down 2-3 logs in the bottom of the trench and then make a fire using a as many twig bundles as necessary for the length of the shelter.
I then lay two logs parallel to each other on the fire or at a shallow angle to burn them through.
The reason for the long trench is for three reasons:
1. To get the fire down to the ground, otherwise the fire will sink in the snow and either go out or prevent the logs from laying flat.
2. To allow long longs to be burned through and to be kept at the flatest angle.
3. For ventilation: the shelter and long fire are parallel to the wind and so the trench channels are to the fire and smoke away from the shelter.

I've really only done this for training and experimental purposes. These days, I'm really working on using a super shelter most effectively and learning how to get a longer lasting but smaller fire to heat the super shelter to be more efficient in time, energy and wood.

Old Philosopher:
I'm a major fan of the reflector-type fire. I've only made a couple long fires, and didn't feel it was worth the energy, or resources. IMHO, a medium sized fire with a good reflector setup will provide as much long term heat as the long fire.
Even if I don't have the time or energy to build a self-feeding reflector, I'll drag the biggest deadfall I can find into position to act as a heat reflector. Snow or rain soaked windfalls are perfect, because they don't get consumed by the heating fire as fast as dry, or even green wood.
On one snowy elk trip, we stacked up about six 8"-10" soggy logs, about 4 feet long, leaning against braces angled slightly away from the main fire. We didn't cut anything, just scrounged what we needed. The effect of having the fire heat reflected in one direction was noticeable. In the morning, the reflector was still intact having only the bottom 2 logs burned part way through.

In my experience, a relector fire doesn't reflect much in the way of heat.     For me, it's real value, other than drying wood that is yet to be fed into the fire, would be as a 'smoke shelf' like that of a correctly designed fireplace in a home.  It definitely helps draw the smoke away from the shelter and, for the most part, stops that game of hide & seek that we have all played while sitting around an open campfire with friends. :fire1:


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