How to Start a Fire in the Snow

 If you're going to camp in the winter, you're going to need a fire. It's not always easy, but it certainly can be done. 

Don't deny yourself the joy of sleeping outside, just because there's a little snow on the ground. Follow these steps for building a fire in the snow... 

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1. Select the Right Location

Just like in the summer, you need to a spot that’s protected from wind, snow, and water.

Choose a flat area with clear sky above so you don’t accidentally start a forest fire. If there’s only a little bit of snow on the ground, dig out a pit until you hit hard ground. If there’s lots of snow, simply stomp down a flat area for your platform.

The snow will melt as it heats up, so dig a couple of channels for the snowmelt to run away from the fire, this will ensure that water doesn’t build up in your pit and smother your fire.

2. Create a Platform

After you’ve found the ideal location, it’s time to elevate your fire from the snow, protecting it from moisture that will put out your flame.

Using your newly-tamped site, place flat stones or logs side by side to create a platform. The wood on the platform doesn’t need to be dry, it just needs to be substantial enough to create a buffer between your fire and the snowy ground.

Be sure to create a small platform for your wood pile as well. This helps to keep the wood to fuel the fire high and dry.

3. Build Your Fire


Similar to summer, use small pieces of kindling to build your fire. Slowly add larger and larger pieces of wood as the fire gets going and the coal bed builds up.

Aside from a lighter, it’s always important to carry an alternative method for starting a fire, such as a magnesium fire starter or waterproof matches.

For winter, a dryer lint ball soaked in wax makes great kindling. Store it in a pill bottle to keep it dry while traveling.

Go ahead and get the marshmallows out, just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t have a cozy fire in the backcountry.