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The Self Feeding Camp Fire
How many times have you camped on a cold night only to be jolted awake by the frigid air because your fire went out? I'm sure this is an all too familiar scenario for many of us... and hopefully, one that we can avoid from here on out! This technique will allow you to build a fire that burns all night and sustains itself without having to manage it... at all! What a paradigm shift eh? I have always been fascinated by studying little nuances of the primitive skills... and then every once in a while a "magic bullet" technique like this appears that is so good I can't imagine I ever did things differently. Whatever you do, be sure to get out and experiment with this one so that you may "make it your own". Also, be sure to pass this gift along to someone else... these skills are truly the knowledge of the world and they are best honored by passing them forward in a way that inspires others.

 
Instructional Video
In this detailed video I explain how to build a "self-feeding" camp fire.... Also check out some other details in the description below.

It's All in the Physics!
The best way to understand this technique is to think of a candle. If you watch a candle burn, you will notice the wick stays aflame and burns down into the wax ever so slowly. When constructing this fire, a very similar set of physics are in play. We first pile up the fuel wood, starting with the largest pieces on bottom while gradually getting to the smaller fuel at the top. When a large stable platform of wood is constructed, a very small fire is lit on top of the pile so as to produce a small bed of coals. Those coals gain strength as they slowly burn down through the many layers of fuel wood... just like a candle wick burning through wax. The more wood you begin with, the longer your fire will last. And because it is burning DOWN, you don't have to tend the fire at all! Brilliant! I wish I thought of it!

Biggest on Bottom
To get started, gather the largest fuel wood you have and create a row of with each piece side by side. This will be the very first layer of your wood structure.

Stack it Up
As you add additional layers, be sure to make them perpendicular to the layer that is just beneath. Also, as you add more layers of wood, they should be getting progressively smaller in size.

Tinder on Top
When you are finished stacking the wood, place your tinder bundle on top and in the center. In this picture I am using a few handfuls of dry pine needles for tinder.

Build a Small Tee-Pee
Construct a very small Tee-Pee around your tinder bundle. Remember: we only want enough to create a SMALL bed of coals... so don't overbuild the Tee-Pee.

Light R' Up
Once you light the fire, it will certainly require some tending for the first few minutes. Keep air on it and make sure that the Tee-Pee is completely ignited.

Kick Back and Relax
Once the initial bed of coals is produced, you are done! Really! You won't have to touch this fire again... it will completely burn itself down without any assistance from you. You can alter the time duration by changing the amount of wood that you use. In this example, I used a very small amount of wood, but it produced a very hot fire that burned extremely efficiently with a strong bed of coals. If you want the fire to last through the night, you will need much more wood than shown in this example. Be certain to experiment with this one... I think you will be amazed at how effectively this works!

  Best always,
Paul Scheiter

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