How to Start a Fire in the Rain

 How to Start a Fire in the Rain

Getting a fire going is easy when the conditions are in your favor but that can all change when the skies open up. The hardest part is not so much starting the fire but actually keeping it going. If you haven’t took the time to gain the knowledge needed to start a fire in the rain, read on and we’ll share some tips to help make it a success.


The first step to successfully building a fire in the rain is to carefully think about where you will be building it. A good location will allow for easy building and maintenance, as well as making sure that you don’t waste too much time and energy.

Your fire is going to need some form of natural protection. Consider the following:

  • Your fire will need some form of shield from the wind so you could try to build it on the downwind side of a hill and immediately downwind from large obstacles, like rock formations. You could also create your own shield from a tarp to create a kind of fence.
  • Look for natural outcroppings to build your fire under, like under thick tree branches, under uprooted trees, or a cliff overhang that can protect the fire from the falling rain.
  • You could use you tarp to create a loue tent and build the fire at the mouth to keep the rain out as in the image below.
Loue tent
Credit: Creidiki

The Correct Fuel

There are three separate parts that we need for our fire:

  • Tinder – small, dry, and easily ignitable.
  • Kindling – small branches and twigs. The tinder will set this alight.
  • Fuelwood – larger pieces to keep the fire going (can be wet)

If your fuelwood is wet, just lay it by the fire to help dry it out until you need it. Both your tinder and your kindling must be dry or it just won’t ignite.

If it is wet around you, you have a few places that you can look to acquire dry tinder and kindling:

  • Look for fallen trees – there will often by dry areas on the ground underneath. You can also use your knife to hack in to the underside of the fallen tree. Also look for any fungus that may be growing under there too.
  • Make a feather stick – check out the video below for a better understanding.
  • Cotton balls soaked in vaseline – can be made at home and easily catch a spark.
  • Char cloth – again, easy to make at home.

Laying the Fire

Now it’s time to start putting it all together and build our fire. There are a few steps to keep in mind here:

  • Kindling and tinder needs to be elevated – if your kindling and tinder is on the wet ground it won’t ignite. You can create a platform out of sticks to combat this issue or if it hasn’t rained too much, you can scrape away the top level of mud to expose the dry dirt underneath.
  • Protect your kindling – The lean-to campfire lay is great for wet conditions.  This basically means that build up layers of kindling.  The top layers protect the bottom layers from getting wet. The fire will burn from bottom-to-top, instead of top-to-bottom like with the standard tipi fire lay.
  • Let it breathe – as we are covering the fire with our lean-to construction in order to try and keep it dry, it is quite possible that our fire won’t get enough air and if this happens, it will emit carbon monoxide so make sure this isn’t the case.

Have anything you would like to add? Please share your own tips for our readers below.

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