The Dakota Fire Pit is a great alternative to the usual campfire and is a great choice for when you need to remain undetected. It produces little to no smoke when built correctly which makes it essential learning for use after a SHTF situation in which you didn’t want to give your location away.
This kind of fire pit is often used by the military due to the fire producing a low light signature, reduced smoke, and it can even be started in windy conditions. We will give the basic steps for building a Dakota Fire Pit but to get a better understanding, we will include a video for your viewing too. Some of the benefits of this kind of fire include:
- The fire burns very hot
- It uses less firewood than other types of fires
- Faster cooking and boiling times
- When built correctly, it produces less smoke
- Works well even in windy conditions
- Less chance of the fire being seen at night
It is important that when building your fire, you use only the dryest tinder that you can find. If the tinder is wet, resinous and green it will produce smoke which is not what we are after with our fire. The Dakota Fire Pit will be harder work to build than your usual fire but it is much more efficient when it comes to fuel consumption.
How to Build the Dakota Fire Pit
If you ask five people what sizes the holes of your fire pit should be dug you may end up with five different answers. All sizes can be adjusted for your own needs and what materials you have available. If you do change the sizes, try to keep the basic ratios.
Choosing Your Hole Locations
It bugs me when I see articles that tell you to dig the holes of certain sizes and spacing without also mentioning something that is very important.
You need two holes in these locations:
- Smaller hole – needs to be dug towards the prevailing winds to help ensure the fire has a proper draft.
- Larger hole – needs to be dug on the downwind side of the first hole with a gap of about 8 inches/20cm between them.
Once you have a location where you wish to build your fire pit it’s time to get your hands dirty. Start off by clearing the top layer of vegetation from the area where your holes are going to be dug.
Dig your smallest hole, around 6 inches/15cm following the advice from step one. The larger hole, should be around 10 inches/25cm being sure to leave the gap between both holes. From here, you need to create a tunnel between the two holes which should be around 6 inches/15cm in diameter.
Let There be Light (and warmth)
You should build your fire at the base of the larger hole in the style of your choice. If you are creating your pit for boiling water or cooking on, you can create a simple cooking rack with green sticks to rest your pot on. Don’t place your pot into the hole otherwise you will starve the fire of oxygen.
After the Fun
Once you are done with your Dakota Fire Pit make sure that you extinguish the fire properly. You can suffocate the fire of oxygen by blocking both the holes to easily extinguish the flames and then add your soil back into the holes. Never just walk away and expect it to put itself out.
As promised, here is a video for you: