Why you should learn how to make a Swedish fire log before your next camping trip

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Planning for a camping trip requires the mastery of a number of skills, and the acquisition of a moderate amount of gear. Before you head into the woods, we just want to make sure you don’t forget this crucial bit of preparation: the Swedish log.

Also known as a rocket stove, Canadian candle or Swedish fire torch, the Swedish log is a long-lasting fire log that both cooks food and warms you up. The Swedish troops first created the fire log for heat and light during the Thirty Years War in the middle of the 17th century.

While hopefully you won’t face such extreme conditions on your camping trip, the Swedish fire log can handle whatever you come up against. It’s compact and self-contained, so you don’t have to worry about fire-related danger. It’s also a self-feeding fire. Which means that no matter how wet your campsite is, you’re guaranteed a roaring fire without a neverending hunt for dry wood to fuel it.

How To Make Your Own Swedish Fire Log

All you need for this mobile fire pit is a large log, a chainsaw or hatchet, and a wire. Look for a log that’s about 30 inches tall by at least 12 inches wide. A dry log catches fire best. Then, use the chainsaw to cut into the log about three-quarters of the way down. Pretend you’re slicing a pie, but stop before you cut completely through the log, cutting four or six slices.

If you’re using a hatchet, you can split the wood all the way through and reassemble. Or, you can bundle pre-split wood to avoid chopping altogether. Then, use the wire to secure the bundle together.

Either method works, but the key is to end up with a flat surface on both the top and bottom for cooking, with space in the middle for the flame.

swedish torch photo
Flickr | m.prinke

When you’re ready to light it, gather kindling and place on top and inside of the log. Wood shavings, pine needles or small pieces of tree bark work well as kindling.

Once the kindling ignites, the embers will drop down into the log and start the wood on fire. The log burns from the inside out and will last up to five hours depending on its size.

Buying One Ready-Made

If the DIY version is too Paul Bunyan for your skill level, you can buy a pre-made Swedish log. For example, Lowe’s has a Timber Tote and Amazon sells the OneLogFire. There are a variety of sizes available, so you can take them camping in the woods or just in your backyard.

Finally, sit back and relax or grab your favorite campfire snacks and get cooking. No matter what you choose, there’s no need to rush. There’s plenty of burning time for your whole family to take a turn. Plus, you won’t have to add logs to the fire or tend it to keep it burning.

Remember to bring plenty of graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows to have enough s’mores to keep up with the flame.

It’s official: Camping is lit.