Fire Making 101

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Last night we took over Tent & Trails, a cavernous woman-run outdoor outfitter in Lower Manhattan. The well-stocked store was an a gear junkies’ dream, complete with a knowledgeable staff who shared stories about climbing Everest without oxygen masks.

Between parkas and plenty of gore-tex jackets, we heard a fantastic lecture on the principles of fire-making by Rhett Godfrey, Loomstate's Sustainability Director. Luckily, the New York City Fire Department wasn’t called, even when Rhett carried live coals outside for a practical demonstration of ignition techniques!

fire making class new york

Some things we learned about fire-making without flint or matches:

  • There are three friction based methods, the hand drill, the bow drill, and the fire plow (check out this website for the knitty-gritty scoop).
  • Each method relies on a softwood spindle to create enough friction to produce an ember.
  • The goal is to create a coal that can then be ignited with a tinder nest, so no need to worry about setting your house on flames!
  • You need strong hands, lots of practice, and some stamina.
  • Even if you never start a fire while freezing in the tundra mid-winter (knock on wood), it’s a pretty sweet skill to learn.

fire making class new york

Post by Outdoor Fests Audrey Larkin. More articles and adventures by Outdoor Fest at outdoorfest.org. More classes by Loomstate coming this spring...sign up to find out!