There’s no more classic survival skill than the ability to build a campfire. If you can build a roaring flame with whatever you can find around you, you can stay comfortable, warm, dry and safe outdoors. Just make sure you start your fire far enough away from your beloved Eureka! tent or anything else that you don’t want to light up!
You’re probably familiar with basic flint-and-steel fire starting techniques, and if you’re a modern camper, you probably pack some waterproof matches and a lighter or two to simplify the process. You might also pack a few oranges, however–oranges are extremely flammable and can serve as a great source of natural lighter fluid.
Of course, you’ll need a spark to get your fire started, but you can entertain other campers and give your kindling some extra time to get started with this simple trick.
1. Cut a circular hole in your orange with a knife. Hollow out the center of the orange and rain as much juice as possible. Don’t worry about draining too much of the juice–you only need a little bit of orange oil.
2. Place a hard rock in the center of the orange. You’ll need something like flint, quartz or another relatively hard rock with jagged edges. The rock should sit in the hollowed-out center of the orange without getting too wet from the orange juice.
3. Take a long stick and place it against the rock, then rub the stick back and forth to create friction. This is another take on that old scouting trick; you’re effectively shaving off tiny bits of the rock, making molten sparks in the process. The process might take a bit of time depending on the hardness of the rock and the amount of friction that you’re able to exert with your stick.
4. Have some kindling ready. The orange will start burning, and if you did everything right, you should have an hour or so to get a larger fire started with the new flame. Still, it’s always better to prepare your kindling before you work on your starter flame.
You’ll notice that the orange gives off a pleasant smell while it burns. This smell can drive away mosquitoes, spiders and other pests, so you might consider bringing some oranges along on your trip even if you’ve already got another way to start your fires. If you’re in a hurry, you can always light the orange quickly with a long-stemmed lighter.
Have any cool campfire hacks? Let us know in the comments below.