Have you ever wanted a fire to last all night long, but didn’t want to stay up feeding it hour after hour? Most nights you lay down and open your eyes again two hours later just in time to throw more tinder and wood on just before it goes out. Recently I was watching a video on Far Northern Bushcraft – a favorite Youtube channel of mine – about how to keep your fire going all night long. The short version is you take one log and lay it top of another and light them on fire. Once the fire is established it will burn very slow.
The rule of thumb on this fire is that for every inch of thickness you have in your logs it will burn for one hour. Thus, if your logs are eight inches thick the fire should last eight hours. Nothing is ever that precise in the bush of course, but it does give you a reference point.
Materials and Procedure
I started with two logs about four inches thick. After chopping them up with my ax I carried them back to camp and then cut four green poles about four feet high. Then I flattened the two logs by taking my ax and trimming about two inches of wood off each length leaving a flat side along one side of the log. Thus, if you stacked one on top of the other they would lay flat without support. I drove the poles into the ground and stacked the two logs one on top of the other with some tinder and kindling between them.
To reiterate, this is not a big fire. It’s more of a smolder that will last most if not all of the night depending on how thick your logs are, what kind of wood you’re using, how hard the wind is blowing, and stuff like that. I set my fire up with kindling in front of it as well as in between the logs with spacers and then lit it. After a small blaze that lasted for a few minutes I was rewarded with a fire that smoldered between the two logs. For more info check out the short video I made:
The only real downside to this fire is that because it burns so slow it emits a good deal of smoke. If you set this up in front of your shelter for heat make sure you’re upwind or you’ll suck down smoke all night long.
The fire lasted about 2 1/2 hours before I had put it out, but was well on its way to burning the full four hours predicted by the rule of thumb. The next time I head out for a backwoods camping trip I’m definitely going to try this set up. You’ll want an axe to help get this set up properly and don’t forget to use green sticks for the support posts. That way they won’t catch on fire as it burns through the night.
Got any tips for an all night fire?
Sound off below!