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View Full Version : Fire Starting: Teepee vs Log Cabin



Rory McCanuck
07-02-2015, 01:28 PM
http://www.outdoorlife.com/sites/outdoorlife.com/files/styles/photo-gallery/public/import/BlogPost/embed/fire_0.jpg?itok=8rL5YGWH


April 4, 2013
by Tim MacWelch

http://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/survivalist/2013/04/fire-starting-teepee-vs-log-cabin

When you start a campfire, how do you do it? Do you use a log cabin fire lay? A teepee fire lay? Or is there a pile of wet logs and a can of diesel involved? I hope itís not that last one.

For years, I have been a big fan of the teepee fire lay. It just seemed like the natural shape to allow the fire to climb at a steady pace. But I wanted to see if there was any solid evidence that one fire lay did something that another style did not, so I set out with equal amounts of the same fire building materials to determine if there were any major differences between a log cabin fire and a teepee fire. Using two pounds of sticks and a quarter-pound of twigs for each fire lay, I built a cone-shaped teepee and a square log cabin with a small cone core. With a handful of dry oak leaf tinder in the center of the fire lays, I lit each one with a quick kiss from a Bic lighter.

The dry conditions and breeze during my test were a great help in the ignition of both fires. The four ounces of dry small twigs in each lay lit very quickly and immediately began to burn both structures. As I had suspected would happen, the teepee produced a larger volume of flames within the first five minutes of testing, and the teepee flames reached a taller height than those of the log cabin. The teepee flames hit two feet in height, while the log cabin flames were a few inches shorter than that.

As the structures became fully engulfed in fire, they both collapsed inward on themselves. You wonít always get that effect in a teepee layósometimes it falls to one side. The log cabin-style fire offers more structural support. Thankfully, both of our test lays fell inward, giving us a fair comparison.

After ten minutes of burning, a few small flames flickered in both fire lays, going out at the same time. The remaining beds of coals, however, were quite different. The teepee coal bed was a nice, round pile, while the cabin lay was a spread-out square of thinner coals. Two thumb thick sticks on the cabinís upwind perimeter did not burn; all of the teepee sticks were consumed. The coals continued burning for many minutes afterward in both fire lays, but 30 minutes after starting this test, the log cabin coals were dead. At 32 minutes, I still had enough coals in the teepee pile to rekindle the fire, which I did.

My hunch was confirmed: When all factors are equal and the same amount of materials are used, the teepee burns with a bigger, taller flame and produces a more concentrated, long-lived coal bed. What I thought was most revealing in this test is that a mere 2.25 pounds of twigs and sticks can produce a half-hourís worth of fire and coals. Maybe Iíll try stretching my firewood supply a little more the next time I have a campfire.

blacksmithden
07-02-2015, 02:30 PM
No crap.....I made up an adapter that screws onto 1lb propane cylinders that will let you go from a little shot to full on free flow liquid propane flame thrower. Just get any kind of an initial flame going down in the base of what you want on fire and then have at it. I know, I know...it doesnt sound too safe, right ? Thats because its NOT....and I dont care !!! :D 90 seconds of this little rig blasting into the bottom of a fire pit, and youve got a good hot fire going.

Ive lit dozens of fires with it and never had an issue. As long as you understand what you're doing, its all good....and just to stay on track...teepee.

BrotherRockeye
07-02-2015, 04:08 PM
Common sense would tell you it's easier to burn down a teepee than a cabin... :)

A little boy scout fluid mixed with ash to make a paste is a good fire starter...

Curly1
07-02-2015, 04:32 PM
Both methods work, but, you'll get a better coal base with a log cabin IMHO.

ROADGLIDE45
07-02-2015, 04:44 PM
I use the teepee, always worked well, just need to layer it correctly especially when things are damp or wet.
Now.. when everything is completely soaking wet and you don't want to wait an hour for warmth, I have a 20lb propane cylinder secured in my Jeep and a Tiger Torch.
Regardless of how wet things are... ROARING fire in 5min! LOL

Steveo9mm
07-02-2015, 05:42 PM
i use teepee, log cabin and dekota when im feeling like a ninja.

762shooter
07-02-2015, 06:13 PM
I use the teepee, always worked well, just need to layer it correctly especially when things are damp or wet.
Now.. when everything is completely soaking wet and you don't want to wait an hour for warmth, I have a 20lb propane cylinder secured in my Jeep and a Tiger Torch.
Regardless of how wet things are... ROARING fire in 5min! LOL

My preferred wet weather back up is a road flare!

FlyingHigh
07-02-2015, 06:26 PM
I generally build a small cabin for the tinder and kindling, then teepee over top of it with bigger stuff. Gives a pretty good fire. The small stuff catches easily with the cabin style and the teepee allowed the bigger stuff to dry a bit if need be and builds into a bigger fire.

kennymo
07-02-2015, 07:50 PM
Teepee for warming up and marshmallows, if I have a frying pan around I'm building a square fire.

Forbes/Hutton
07-02-2015, 07:54 PM
Pussies.

http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/files/2011/11/flame-thrower-4901.jpg

lone-wolf
07-02-2015, 07:58 PM
A little boy scout fluid mixed with ash to make a paste is a good fire starter...

What's boy scout fluid? I didn't think scouts were flammable.

Steveo9mm
07-02-2015, 08:07 PM
Pussies.

http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/files/2011/11/flame-thrower-4901.jpg

thats how i shovel the sidewalk.

Candychikita
07-02-2015, 09:29 PM
I like the teepee :D If only for the name :D (Plus I use empty TP rolls stuffed with dryer lint, so it's a TP teepee)

Strewth
07-02-2015, 09:45 PM
TeePee 'cause log cabin/Tetris takes too much time and my beer won't get any colder, y'know.

BrotherRockeye
07-03-2015, 04:19 AM
What's boy scout fluid? I didn't think scouts were flammable.

diesel fuel / aka farmer fire starter ;D