There are few more essential life skills as a man than knowing how to build a proper fire. Hopefully, you’re not depending on your fire-building skills to save your life, but knowing how to whip up a roaring blaze at the drop of a hat can be incredibly beneficial. Whether you’re enjoying the outdoors and roasting an entire animal on a spit or just looking to post up by the fireplace with a whiskey and a friendly companion, it’s definitely getting to that point in the year where a fire is a welcome addition.
While it may appear easy, getting a fire going requires skill and the proper setup. There’s plenty of different techniques out there, and they definitely have their merit, but after extensive research and a bit of practice, we’ve become fans of the “Upside Down” fire-building technique. Made popular by efficiency hacking god Tim Ferriss, this technique flies in the face of traditional teepee-style methods and builds with the larger logs on the bottom and the starter on top. This method works well both indoors and out and ultimately burns longer and with less smoke thanks to its inverted build. Here’s how to do it right.
Sorry to sound like your Mom or Dad but let’s use some common sense here. If you’re building a fire in the outdoors, keep your fire properly contained and clear of any potentially dangerous areas. If you’re indoors, make sure the flue is open and clear and you have a window open for some air flow. Indoor fires need oxygen to start properly.
The first step to a kick-ass fire is starting with the right materials. You’ll need:
Large logs - the drier the better
Kindling - smaller logs and twigs
Tinder - dry leaves, grass, or crumpled newspaper
Fire Starter (optional) - starter sticks or blocks - they'll burn quick and hot
Let's Get Lit
1. Start with the largest logs first on the bottom. Keep them as close together as possible.
2. Add smaller or split logs on top.
3. Next, add the kindling on top of your log pile.
4. Top with crumpled newspaper strips or other tinder.
5. Light your starter squares and place on top of tinder.
Now have patience, it will take about 20 minutes for the fire to get going but once it does you can kick back, admire your handiwork and give yourself a pat on the back. Hey, maybe even pour yourself a drink, you earned it.