Archive for June, 2014

How to Start Fire by Friction-How to Use the Tools

Friday, June 27th, 2014

As stated before, creating fire with friction is something that has been done for centuries.  While it does seem simple to do, I would suggest that you practice it before going on your next camping trip.

Prior to using your tools, you will need to get your fire area ready.  This means preparing a fire ring and laying out your tinder and other fire making wood.  Next, you will need to find a “nest” for your spark.  A good choice is one that does not have much and/or is not wet.  If you cannot find that, consider shaving off bark from a cedar or using very dry grass.  For the later to work though, one must make sure the grass is really, really dry.  A better approach is to combine the cedar and the grass.

Now that you have a home for your spark, you will need to pick a location by which you are going to start your fire.  You do not want to be too far away from where you have built your fire pit area.

Once you have gathered these materials, the next step is to start making fire.  You will need your spindle, fireboard, and thunderhead.  You will also need a long piece of rope or a bow made from a bent piece of wood.  Either of these will work and their only use is to spin the spindle.

Next you will need to lubricate the pointed end of the spindle.  This can be done by rubbing sap or sassafras leaves on this end.  Now, place the other end of the spindle in the hole on the fireboard and the lubricated end into the hole in the thunderhead.


Now, hold down the fireboard with your feet and apply pressure to the thunderhead while “sawing” with the bow.  If you are using rope, wrap the rope around the spindle so that the ends are free.  Once that is done, pull the rope so that causes a back and forth action with the spindle.

Continue to do this until you have made a slightly bigger hole in the fireboard.  At this point, place your fire making tools down and create a small “V” cut into the hole.  This hole should be as close to the center of the hole as possible.   Smooth out the edges and place back on the ground.

Place the spindle back on top of the fireboard and top with the thunderhead.  If you are using a rope, remember to wrap it before placing the spindle on the fireboard.  Also, add additional lubrication to the pointed end of the spindle before topping with the thunderhead.

Once that is done, you are now ready to start to make a fire with friction.  A golden rule to follow is to apply a little pressure on the thunderhead for 20 strokes and then a little more for another 20 strokes.  Finish off with the most pressure possible for the last 20 strokes.  If all goes well at this point, you should begin to see a little smoke but do not stop.  Continue until you see a spark.  Now, gently place your spark in your nest or cedar/grass combination and gently blow.  Carry on with the blowing until you see flame.  Next, place it on your tinder.  If you are reluctant to hold “fire”, place your lit fire bundle on the tinder and blow.  

While starting a fire using friction is a learned skill and does take time to master, it is a very important skill to know.  This is especially true when modern conveniences do not light.

Camp Fire Recipe-Holiday Foil Pocket Dinner by Fire Light

Friday, June 27th, 2014

I will have to say that this is one of my favorite recipes.  It is delicious but it also holds so many good memories, especially when I thought camping on Thanksgiving was a bad idea.  While my whole family was on this camping trip, I really wanted a traditional holiday but as luck would have it, this trip was better than any formal Thanksgiving dinner.

The recipe below is one that my dad created and it is so loved that we always repeat it in November, even if we are not camping.  It has just become a family tradition and in recent times my kids have even taken Instagram pictures of their foil pockets.  Now, I really know this tradition is important to them.

Holiday Foil Pocket (A.K.A. Thanksgiving Dinner)


Heavy-duty foil

Hammer, optional

Mixing bowl


Measuring cups

Turkey cutlets

Stuffing mix

Turkey gravy

1 can of green beans

Dried cranberries

Optional, seasonings



  1. Per serving, unroll a large piece of foil. 
  2. If your cutlet is thick, flatten it out by placing it between two pieces of foil or wax paper and hitting it with a hammer.  Continue until it is as thick as you would like.
  3. Mix up dressing in a bowl.
  4. Place one turkey cutlet in the center of the large piece of foil.
  5. Place one cup of prepared stuffing on top of the cutlet.
  6. Place ½ cup of green beans around the cutlet.
  7. Pour ½ cup of gravy over the top and top with ½ cup of dried cranberries.
  8. Season as desired.
  9. Pull up the edges of the foil until they meet and roll down. 
  10. Roll the ends up to seal.
  11. Place on hot coals for about 20 minutes.
  12. Once that time period has passed, remove the pocket from the coals to cool slightly before opening.

While this is a traditional holiday meal, what if you do not like turkey?  Well, chicken can be replaced or you can try ham slices in place of turkey.  If you change the meat though, make sure that you change the gravy flavor.  Also, if you do not like stuffing, consider exchanging that with instant mashed potatoes or canned sweet potatoes.  What if you do not like cranberries?  Try a different dried fruit or a combination of dried pineapple, raisins, and dried cherries.  Finally, what if you just do not like green beans?  Well, add whatever vegetable you would like or even fancy it up a little with an addition of canned mushrooms and/or chestnuts. 

While my family consists of Thanksgiving purists when it comes to the meal, make sure to make this recipe your own.  Add your own culinary traditions to this holiday meal and in no time your kids will be sharing pictures of their camping holiday meal on Instagram.  Then, you will know, as I did, that you have created a memory.

Camp Fire Recipe-Two Easy Breakfast Staples that Cook in Foil

Friday, June 27th, 2014

For some campers, breakfast can be the most challenging meal of the day.  No one wants to get out of a snug sleeping blanket to fix something that you have to hang over the fire to cook.  In doing so, many campers settle for cold cereal, processed breakfast bars or just coffee.

 But no more, now you can have your eggs, sausage and even a hot muffin in the time span of less than a half an hour.  How do you do it?  Well, the secret and come close for this one.  The secret is heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Yes, I know people have been cooking in foil for years.  This is no secret but a new twist to an old favorite is to cook breakfast in foil.  Below are two recipes that follow this principle but do no limit yourself to the ingredients listed in the recipes.  Let your mind wonder and create your own favorite breakfast in foil meal.

Eggs and Sausage Foil Pocket for One


Heavy-duty foil

Small mixing bowl or cup with fork

1 frozen hash brown patty

2 eggs

2 frozen sausage patties

Optional ingredients include seasonings and cheese


  1. Roll out a large piece of foil and fold the edges up creating a “dish” shape.  This will keep the eggs from running out.
  2. Crack eggs and place in small bowl or cup.  Beat with a fork.
  3. Place frozen hash brown patty in the bottom of the foil.
  4. Pour eggs over the hash brown patty and top with sausage.
  5. Pull the edges of the foil up and gather.  Roll down and crimp the ends.  This will form something that looks like a tent. 
  6. Place in hot coals for 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. Optional:  If you want to add cheese, add it after the foil packet comes off the fire.  Sprinkle on, and close the pocket to allow it to melt.


*If you do not want to use foil, consider making your breakfast in aluminum tart pans.  Once you have them filled, place foil on top and cook on a rack above the fire.

Orange Shell Muffins




Mixing bowl


6 oranges

Muffin mix that only requires water to make



  1. Cut off one quarter of the top of the orange.
  2. Remove the inside of the orange by running a knife around the inside and then pulling out the fruit.  Save for later.
  3. Mix the muffin mix.
  4. Roll out six pieces of foil that is large enough to hold an orange.
  5. Place one orange on one piece of foil and fill ½ to ¾ full.
  6. Wrap orange up but leave the cut part of the orange open.
  7. Repeat steps with the remaining oranges.
  8. Place oranges among the coals making sure that the top remains up.
  9. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes.

Now you have a complete camping breakfast excluding the coffee.