Instead of spending time and energy searching for wood around a campsite, start your fire with the tried-and-true one-log method. Here’s how you do it. Find this post helpful? Save it using the link above!

This advice comes from our friends over at The Survival University. If you’re interested in learning more about survival skills, check out the classes offered by The Survival University.

Tools Needed: Knife, handsaw, kindling, fire-starter

Step 1: Find a log

Most people assume that they’ll need to go searching for campfire sized logs prior to getting a fire started at their campsite. Instead of doing that, simply find one large log that’s dry and roughly the girth of your forearm. A dead aspen tree (especially those still standing off the wet ground) will do nicely. Aim to find something that’s approximately 10 feet in length. NOTE: Be aware of wood gathering rules where you’re at before you start gathering.

Photo Credit: Stephen Martin; OutThere Colorado.

Step 2: Cut the log

Once you’ve got your ideal log, you’ll need to start hacking it down. Start on the girthiest end. Use a handsaw to cut a larger “hammer piece” roughly the length of your forearm. Sit it aside – you’ll be using this to split wood later. Next, start breaking down the log into smaller logs, each approximately one foot long. Be the time you’re finished sawing, you’ll have a pile of wood.

Photo Credit: Stephen Martin; OutThere Colorado

Step 3: Split the wood

Place your knife firmly on the top of one of the logs you sawed. Knock your “hammer piece” log on the top of your knife to split the wood. Continue to do this until you’ve split each log into quarters.

Photo Credit: Stephen Martin; OutThere Colorado

Your stack of split logs should look like the logs in the picture below.

Photo Credit: Stephen Martin; OutThere Colorado

Step 4: Stack the wood

Build the base of a log cabin with your split logs, placing a center piece of wood in the middle for your kindling (as seen below).

Photo Credit: Stephen Martin; OutThere Colorado

Step 5: Light the wood

Put your kindling in the middle of the logs and light it up. After that, build “floors” of wood on top of your flame (as seen below). You’ll find that the log cabin formation catches quickly and burns for long enough for you to continue to stack additional wood.

Photo Credit: Stephen Martin; OutThere Colorado

If you’re interested in learning more about survival skills, check out the classes offered by The Survival University.

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