Infographic: How To: Make A Great Campfire + Watch Someone Else Build A Campfire

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Struggle with campfires and don’t quite understand the sorcery that fire is? REI has created a helpful infographic that has a great pro-tips so you can master the almighty campfire!

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That’s nice and all, but what if you just want to watch someone build a campfire? Outdoor Research has you covered.

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How To: Watch Someone Else Build A Campfire

1. Establish yourself as the expert

Fine. The other guy can start the fire. But if anyone wants to eat before sunrise, he’ll probably need help. You will be the fire supervisor, which is even more important than the actual fire maker. You saw this guy start a grill once and it took an entire bottle of lighter fluid. Tell him you’ll guide him through the process, to take the pressure off.

2. Give the fire builder a job

Explain to Mr. I’ll-Make-The-Fire that he’ll want to start with the smallest twigs he can find—thinner than a pencil—and then gradually use larger twigs. Send him off to collect sticks. Stress that more is better, and to make sure all of the kindling is dry. Plan to delight onlookers by showing them that old man’s beard lichen makes an excellent fire starter. Watch Mr. I’ll-Make-The-Fire pull a bundle of firewood from Walmart out of his trunk and drop it in the fire ring. Explain to him that it would’ve been more satisfying to start the fire after collecting wood from the forest, but since it’s his first time, sure, he can do it the easy way.

3. Determine the best fire structure together

Now it’s time to choose a structure. Explain that he’ll probably want to go with the log cabin or the teepee, and that once he’s got a few fires under his belt you’ll show him advanced techniques like the star or even the inverse campfire. Pause to allow everyone time to be in awe. Reach for the wood to demonstrate what these look like. Act confused when Mr. I’ll-Start-The-Fire insists that he’s got this and that you should go help the other campers drink beer at the picnic table. Repeatedly ask if you can just show him one thing until he tells you he just needs quiet.

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