Primitive Fire Making

1980 - Ninth Edition: Boy Scout Handbook
pg 114

Matches are OK for starting cooking fires. A campfire deserves better. Add to its romance by lighting it the way Indians and early settlers did it.

Fire By Friction. This was the Indian way of making fire. For this you need a fire-making set made up of spindle, fire-board, hand block, bow, and tinder.
To make fire by friction, put the tinder on the ground, Place the fireboard over the tinder. Kneel on one knee. Place the other foot on the fireboard. Twist bowstring once tightly around the spindle. Hold spindle upright with the hand block. Rest the hand holding the hand block against the knee.
Set the spindle spinning with long strokes of the bow. Increase the pressure. Keep going until heavy smoke rises. Knock the ember formed in the notch in the fireboard into the tinder. Blow it into flame with steady blows.
Fire has been made in 6.4 seconds. What's your aim?

How Tall Is That Tree - Pencil Method

This one comes from the 1948 edition of the Boy Scout Handbook. (A great find last week at an antique mall for only $6.00!)

Pencil Method - Have a friend whose height you know stand against the tree (your walking stick will also work if you know the length of it). Hold a pencil or short stick at arms length, sight across the top of it to the top of your friend's head. At the same time move over your thumb on the stick until you sight across it to the base of the tree.  Then raise your arm and the stick, until your line of sight over your thumb hits the top of your friends head. Note where your line of vision across the top of the stick cuts the tree.  Move your arm up again, and repeat the process.  Thus you find out the number of many times higher the tree is, than the known height (your friend or walking stick).  Multiply that number by the known height, to find the height of the tree.

Cotton Ball Fire Starters

I take a bag of these fire starters with me on every camp out and hike. Extremely easy to make, easy to use, and light to pack.

Items needed:

  • 100% Cotton Balls
  • Petroleum Jelly (any brand works)
  • Bag to store in (close-able plastic bag)
Completely coat the cotton ball with the petroleum jelly.  Make about 10 per plastic bag and store within your pack.

Always remember to use your best judgment when working with fire.

Firem'n Chit

This certification grants a Scout the right to carry matches and build campfires. The Scout must show his Scout leader, or someone designated by his leader, that he understands his responsibility to do the following:
  1. I have read, understand and use fire safety rules from the Boy Scout Handbook.
  2. I will build a campfire only when necessary and when I have the necessary permits (regulations vary by locality).
  3. I will minimize campfire impacts or use existing fire lays consistent with the principles of Leave No Trace. I will check to see that all flammable material is cleared at least 5 feet in all directions from fire (total 10 feet).
  4. I will safely use and store fire-starting materials.
  5. I will see that fire is attended to at all times.
  6. I will make sure that water and/or shovel is readily available. I will promptly report any wildfire to the proper authorities.
  7. I will use the cold-out test to make sure the fire is cold out and will make sure the fire lay is cleaned before I leave it.
  8. I follow the Outdoor Code and the principles of Leave No Trace.
The Scout's "Firem'n Rights" can be taken from him if he fails in his responsibility.

Totin' Chip

This certification grants a Scout the right to carry and use woods tools. The Scout must show his Scout leader, or someone designated by his leader, that he understands his responsibility to do the following:
  1. Read and understand woods tools use and safety rules from the Boy Scout Handbook.
  2. Demonstrate proper handling, care, and use of the pocket knife, ax, and saw.
  3. Use knife, ax, and saw as tools, not playthings.
  4. Respect all safety rules to protect others.
  5. Respect property. Cut living and dead trees only with permission and good reason.
  6. Subscribe to the Outdoor Code.
The Scout's "Totin' Rights" can be taken from him if he fails in his responsibility.
Warnings are given to the Scout in the action of cutting a corner off of their totin' chip card. When all four corners have been cut, the Scout's rights should be taken.
Be safe and smart when  a blade of any kind is in your possession.

Tin Foil Dinners

Tin foil dinners are a great way to have the least amount of cleanup during dinner at camp.  One thing
to keep in mind is that you need to have coals to cook your meal. There are many options on what to cook with a tin foil dinner.  Some of my favorites are fajitas, stir-fry, and good old Scouter Hash. To save on cooking time, precook your meal at home and wrap in the tin foil. When you reach camp, and the coals are ready, you will be the first one eating while the others are waiting an hour for their hash to cook.

Scouter Hash Recipe

Use about 3 feet of tin foil
Place items within the tin foil as follows:
1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 diced potato
1 diced carrot
1 diced green pepper
1 diced onion
2 TBS butter

Double wrap

Start fire, wait for coals, place with meat side down first on coals, turn over after you hear sizzling for 2 minutes, let cook for another 5-10 minutes, remove with tongs and enjoy.