How To Build A Fire Outdoors

how to build a fire outdoors

Now, once you’ve found a decent spot to build a fire pit and have all your material gathered up, it’s time to get started. This explanation will be focused around the tepee method of starting a fire. It is a very straightforward and effective strategy to building a fire as it takes advantage of how heat rises. If you are trying to learn how to build a fire outdoors for the first time, this is especially helpful.

How to start a fire in the woods


We will first begin by adding small pile of tinder to our fire pit. You should lightly sprinkle the tinder when making the pile as to not condense it into a tight ball. Doing so would make the tinder harder to light. We then should take our kindling and start putting them over our tinder pile in a tepee formation. This formation is made by leaning sticks upright upon each other. It should also be noted to leave room for oxygen to pass through the kindling to fuel the fire, so leave gaps in between when adding layers.


Now to actually light the fire. To do so, take the ignition source of your choice (ex; match, lighter, etc..) and burn the edges of the tinder on the inside of your tepee foundation. This, being tinder, should light with relative ease. If you have managed to find some pitch you can also try adding small chunks to the top of your tepee foundation. As stated before, this substance is extremely flammable. It should drip down the length of your foundation once heated like you would expect with candle wax.


If you are wondering how to build a fire outdoors using a glass lens, then wonder no more! You can use this as an ignition source for starting fires under the right conditions. It will work, so long as the tinder is very fine and dry and the sun is up and shining brightly. The time it takes to actually ignite a flame will depend on things like the angle of the sun in the sky, the lens your using, and what is being used as tinder.  (note; if your using a plastic lens, you will most likely have poor results)

How it’s done is by taking the lens and focusing the sunlight into one single beam. Now try to make that beam as small and concentrated as possible and focus the beam of light on the tinder. If you see smoke rise after a couple of moments, very gently blow on the spot where the beam is focused and feed it oxygen. After a few more moments, this should get a flame to ignite! 


Now you should have your fire started. You aren’t exactly done, but you’ve got a flame! At this point you should feed the fire by adding to the kindling in the same tepee formation when needed. If it starts to die or turns into embers, you can also add more tinder and feed it oxygen. Do this by blowing on the embers to ignite the tinder once more. One thing you do not want to do is add too much and cut off the flow of oxygen, that will also smother and put out the fire. Once you have the fire maintained and going fine with the kindling, it’s time to quickly move on to the next step.


At this point your fire is going, but is still very small or at risk of going out in a matter of moments without attention. This is where you take the small firewood you’ve collected and further build upon your fire in, again, the same tepee formation. This formation should help to ignite the small firewood quickly. By leaning the sticks, it allows the heat to rise up the full length of the surface of the wood. Start by adding the smallest of your “small firewood”.  Add bigger pieces over time when needed till the fire is a good size and is giving off plenty of heat. You can also add pitch to feed the fire further.


Now that your fire is a good decent size, you can start adding some of your bulk firewood. Again, You should start by adding the smallest of your bulk firewood before the largest pieces. You should try to maintain the tepee formation if possible. Although, at this point it has served its purpose and is bound to break once bigger pieces have been added. When that has happened, continue to add the firewood in a flat formation. Lay the sticks down in the opposite direction with every new layer, yet keeping the same layer of firewood as even as possible. It would look something similar to the image below.

how to build a fire outdoors

 You now know how to build a fire outdoors! Make sure to keep oxygen and air flow going through your fire even at this point. Try to lay sticks upon each other with gaps for the fire to breathe.  By continuing to do this you should accomplish a sufficient fire to last you throughout the night with little attention.


Knowing how to build a fire outdoors can be very important if you ever find yourself having to spend a night or two in the wild. As stated in the beginning, there are so many possibilities and benefits of having the knowledge of knowing how to build a fire outdoors. This is especially true if you ever find yourself alone in the wilderness. Not only does it help with overall survival, but it will give you a sense of comfort and peace. There can something truly magical about spending the night next to a warm fire right under the stars.

How to start a fire in the woods

Any more information about this topic should appear in “Survival Extras“, so be sure to check that out.