Monday, June 20, 2011

Bushcraft - Central Texas Style - The Stealth Campfire

There are times when you may want to leave as few traces of your presence as possible. The remains of a campfire are one of the things that will leave behind evidence of your passage through an area that is easily recognizable by even a novice to the outdoors.  There is a simple solution you can use to make a stealth campfire that will make your presence even harder to detect, even for a more experienced person who may spend a lot of time outdoors.

The first thing you will need to find in order to build a stealth campfire is a fair sized rock that is halfway buried in the ground. You may have to keep a sharp eye out for one that will be suitable for this purpose. You’ll also want to find one that can be pulled up by hand without a lot of effort or one that is easily dislodged by kicking it with your boot. A rock that is partially buried in the ground will have a nice hollow depression underneath and this makes a decent ready-made pit for a small fire. The area should also be fairly clear of grass or brush. The rock in the picture above was slightly bigger around than a football and left a nice sized impression in the ground when it was dislodged from its resting place.

You can then add some tinder and kindling to make a small fire in the depression. You probably won’t be able to build a huge fire in the depression but it should be more than enough to cook an egg or warm up water for a cup of coffee. 

When you’re through with your fire and it has burned down to pretty much nothing more than a few ashes, just douse it with some water and place the rock back into the original depression. Make sure you keep it oriented with its original position. By doing this, it will be pretty hard to tell you built a fire in that spot.

Making a small campfire in this manner is not a new trick and is one that is used quite often by many people. Just like a Dakota fire pitit can be used to make your presence a lot harder to detect.

If you think you are going to need a really big campfire, you may need to find a really big rock. Just don’t kick it with your boot to try and move it!

Special Note: Due to the extreme drought conditions and a current fire ban being in effect, an actual fire was not started in the pit.

Got stealth campfire?

Staying above the water line!



Karl said...

Nice write up mate... you can also use the same technique for your cat scratch when nature calls...


Anonymous said...

Also make sure you burn all of your fuel rather than leaving charred remnant ends around as evidence.

What is more difficult is to conceal your sign as you move around the fire. The earth gets turned up revealing different soil colors, soles leave patterns and marks, that sort of thing. Shoes or sandals which have their soles modified to reduce this can be made though.

riverwalker said...

To: Karl

I was hoping to do a complete job with a fire and everything but conditions were just too dry to risk it.

You are right about being able to hide a lot of stuff under a rock.

Thanks Karl.


riverwalker said...

To: anonymous 6:30

Great reminder about remnants from your fire. If it doesn't burn down fairly completely, pack them out if necessary.

It's extremely difficult to hide all the evidence of your presence and best to remember to watch what you are doing. The less disturbance you cause will make it easier to cover your tracks.

Thanks anon.


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