January 12, 2009

Bushcraft 101 - Making a Winter Cooking Fire

After my posting on how to make bannock-on-a-stick, Holly from Fort Albany, Ontario inspired me to do a demonstration of winter fire making. Instead of taking pictures and having a really long blog entry, I decided to try my hand at making an instructional video.

There are differences between where and how you build a cooking fire and where and how you build a fire for warmth.  This video demonstrates one approach for making a cooking fire. 

Tip: If you're building your fire in a heavily-used area, please collect wood and kindling from as far away as possible. Stripping the forest of its fuel in a localized area may ruin wildlife habitat and it ruins the natural beauty of the area for others.
Tip: Watching a fire-making video won't make you an expert. Get out there and practice, practice, practice! You never know when this skill could save a life - including your own.
Tip: For an efficient and contained fire that won't leave a fire scar, use a Liard Firebox.
I learned a lot from making this first instructional video. I learned that:
  • Having a script is a good idea. I didn't have one and I wince every time I hear a grammatical error or a word that I've overused. Or when I've used a wrong word. Or when something I've said makes absolutely no sense.  But you can figure out what I mean, at least.
  • Batteries die very quickly at -35oC. I would have done more/better takes if I wasn't going through my batteries so quickly. Also, there would have been a section on how to melt snow for water.  If you've never done it, it's not as simple as you might think.  I'll save that for another video, maybe.
  • Youtube picks awful pictures for the display shot.  Hopefully it will update to a better shot soon.
  • I should remove my snotsicles before every take. They distract viewers from the content and make me look like a bigger dork than I already am.


Jennybell said...

Isaiah's disappointed you didn't say "eh?" like the cartoon Johnny Test (????)

Meandering Michael said...

Oh! Sorry! I was trying to speak so my American viewers could understand me. I'll be sure to speak Canadian for my next one, eh? :)

Anonymous said...

I love it!

Anonymous said...

AWESOME! Aside from the very useful information which was clearly presented, I especially enjoyed the dogs running about. There are dogs all over here in Fort Albany, so no matter what you do there is always a dog there to watch.
As for snotcicles...they become just another part of life in the North. Its when you go indoors and they melt...thats the gross part!

At the moment we have extreme wind chill warnings (-50ish) but the next time we are going to cook out I will be well prepared. I have seen those small dead twigs on the spruce trees. Using them in a bundle is such a great idea. I have also been using a lighter which, as you mentioned, can be unreliable.
Other videos I have seen are usually a person starting a cooking fire in their backyard. The environment you were working in looks very similar to Fort Albany. This was certainly very helpful. Well done!
During this latest cold snap, I have been enjoying the thrill of throwing a cup of warm water in the air and watching it vapourize. Perhaps I will work on videotaping that. The folks back home would be amazed! hehehe

Anonymous said...

Very well done Michael! I enjoyed that and it was very informative. I thought it was cute that Nanuq was chewing on some of your firewood :)

- Kat

Anonymous said...

I WAS going to follow your winter cooking tips this weekend and try boiling some tea in the backyard but NOW it looks like we'll be sunbathing on the deck. Curse you climate change!