How to Build A Fire


This weekend the Badass Backpackers went on their first official overnight outing to DeSoto National Forest to hike the Tuxachanie Trail. I want to be sure that you understand that the Badass Backpackers are an ad-hoc group that has no relation to the Louisiana Hiking Club or the Backpacking Class at LSU. However, several of the members are members of one or both. In some cases, they are not a member of either. The Badass Backpackers are a secret group that grows organically as we meet people interested in hiking with a bunch of badasses like ourselves. Since most of us cannot seem to read a map well enough to get ourselves out of a paper bag, we are only badass in our minds. And that’s all that counts.

The Tuxachanie Trail intersects two campgrounds, Airey Lake Recreation Area and at POW Recreation Area. The trail starts at Hwy 49 near Saucier MS. After walking a little over 5 miles , you come upon Airey Lake. Another 7 miles, and you will reach POW. We camped at Airey Lake and drove to either end of the trail Saturday and Sunday and hiked back to our campsite. It was a beautiful weekend, and the trail was beautiful. But I have to say that the highlight of the weekend was the campfire on Saturday.

How to Build A Campfire

It’s important when building a campfire to find the right spot. It needs to be a place that’s protected from the wind and chaos. The ground should be level and preferably have a fire-ring or a structure to support the fire.


Gather up small sticks and straw or leaves that are easy to burn. If you have a fire-starter (a commercial one, dryer lint mixed with vaseline, or paper), place the fire-starter on the ground lit and stack the smallest sticks on top of it in a criss-cross position. This will be the most fragile time as the fire needs to catch the small sticks on fire before piling huge firewood on top.

Firestarting … step 1 – Sparks

When the fire goes out, attempt to re-start it. The natural way is to start again from the beginning. This teaches you how to build a fire in case you don’t have other fuels available in a survival situation. However, it is often easier to wait until Sharon leaves the area and throw lighter fluid on it. This will cause the flame to leap up and impress her on return. However, in the case that you will need to build a fire in a survival situation, you will be screwed. Sharon will have the last laugh as she will have built a warm, toasty fire and will not share it with you.

NOTE: When there are three or more men in the group, each one will have his own surefire (pun intended) method of starting a fire. None will be alike. Most will work only half-ass. Ladies should sit back and watch the show.


When the fire begins to flame and really burn, begin to put more dry firewood on it, building a “teepee” with the wood. This allows air to circulate through the fire and keep it growing. You may wish to begin throwing paper on it in order to clean out your file cabinet, and this may be the time to do that. When you cover the fire with paper, and it goes out, you will have to start over. You can try blowing on it to engage the coals. Or you can throw lighter fluid on it again. Either will work, but the first makes you much more attractive to women.


Once the flame returns, and you continue to add firewood to it, the fire will grow and breathe and provide warmth and light. Add music, cute kids, tired feet, turkey chili, and laughter. Continue to stoke the fire and enjoy.

Friday Night Birthday Party

Saturday Breakfast


The Tuxachanie Trail

Saturday’s Fire


Sunday’s Shenanigans

5 Comments on “How to Build A Fire

Talk to me, please...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: