Camp Fires

Within our camp environment fire is one of the most import things. It is used for cooking on, top help keep us warm, to dry wet clothing, to provide light and as a communal gathering place.

When ever possible we have a cooking fire of some sort. If we are allowed we dig a fire pit, where we aren’t we have a raised fire tray. Typically the fire is kept going though out the camp and chopping wood, checking, raking and stoking the fire is a continous thing.

One of the things we have been working on is being able to start a fire without the use of modern tools. Traditionally everyone would have known how to build and start a fire and anyone that was traveling would have had the basic tools required to start a fire. This would be a flint and steel. The other items that would have been carried are charcolth, some tinder and possibly some sulphur spunks.

In order to start a fire you would gather your fuel and have a starting stack ready. this would be a mixture of larger pieces of wood and some form of kindling. Dried grass, bark, moss or pine cones all make good kindling and if prepared correctly should burn for long enough that the larger pieces of wood will catch fire. To light the kindling itself you would use your flint and steel to create a spark, this would be ‘caught’ on the tinder, or more often on the charcoth which would be added to the tinder. once the tinder is smouldering you add it to the kindling and encourage a flame. If you have sulphur spunks these are also added to help get a flame going.

About Ian Piddington

I have been involved in re-enactment since 1993. My main group now is the SCA in New Zealand, although I still do some bits with the local Jousters. Within the SCA I am Sympkyn of the Moor, Baron of Ildhafn
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