Schlangenbrot über einem Feuer.


Campfire tips & tricks

  • #Cooking
  • #Bivouacking
Bushcraft pro
© Fotos

Sitting around a campfire, watching the flickering flames, warming yourself with its heat or even cooking on the fire: bushcraft expert Philippe explains how to light a fire in just a few steps and how to choose a suitable spot for it.

You need wood to make a fire – everyone knows that. But before you can even get the first flame burning, you need a suitable spot for your fire. Ideally, pick an existing fire pit, rather than setting up a new one. There are more than 500 official ‘Swiss Family’ fire pits and countless municipal BBQ areas. If you really can’t find a fire pit, choose a sheltered area that’s a decent distance away from trees and branches. A stony or sandy spot is particularly good. You can also make a fire on damp ground: a gravel riverbank is ideal. There, you’ve also got water on hand to put the fire out.

Lighting a fire – here’s how

Eine Person versucht Feuer zu machen.
Photo © Philippe Heitz

Before you light your fire, you’ve got to collect your material: you need tinder, kindling and fuel. These range from very thin to thick.

The thinner and drier your tinder is, the quicker your fire will burn. Brushwood, birch bark and pine chips make perfect tinder. Only put thick wood onto the fire once the flames are properly established.

Jeamand macht mithilfe eines Feuerstahls ein Feuer.
Photo © Philippe Heitz

A knife and fire steel are a failsafe combination, even if the weather’s damp. They can withstand miserable conditions better than matches or lighters.

Tip: greasy crisps or nachos are ideal fire accelerants. Give them a try!

Eine Gruppe von Menschen sitzt um ein Lagerfeuer.
Photo © Raphael Zeller

When the fire’s underway, you can dry damp wood at its edge. Keep the fire as big as you need, as small as possible, and don’t burn wood unnecessarily.

Now it’s time to treat yourself: get warm and cosy by the fire, grill sausages, eat campfire bread or just gaze contentedly into the flickering flames.

Safely putting out the fire

Never leave the campfire unattended and put it out completely before you leave the site. To do so, let the fire burn down as far as possible, before quenching the remaining embers with sand, damp soil or water. Then, use your hand to check that everything is out – including large chunks of burnt wood.

Lighting a fire: what’s allowed?

Switzerland doesn’t have a federal law banning fires in the great outdoors. Cantons and municipalities can only impose permanent or temporary bans on campfires in nature conservation areas or if there’s a risk of a forest fire. Always check the warnings issued by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) if you’re planning to have a fire in a wooded area.

  • #Cooking

  • #Bivouacking

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