Thursday, June 24, 2010

Outdoor Enthusiast Campfire Chat: Starting Your Campfire with Rotten Birch Bark

Most campers know birch bark contains a combustible oil and will burn fiercely even when wet. We also know that it is not appropriate to peel bark from a live tree.

What was missing from my knowledge was whether old rotten and damp birch bark will still serve as kindle to quickly start a file.

During a recent hike in the Great North Woods of New Hampshire we passed through a swampy area with old blown down birches. They obviously had been lying on the floor of this forest for years. My friend thought overtime this downed tree had lost its combustible oil. I was not sure, and I never wanted to say, “I wish I had tried using rotten birch bark to start a camp fire”. Certainly, rather than wait to test this theory under emergency conditions, we should try it now.

See the below video on using rotten birch bark to start a camp fire.

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