Last night we took over Tent & Trails, a cavernous woman-run outdoor outfitter in Lower Manhattan. The well-stocked store was an a gear junkies’ dream, complete with a knowledgeable staff who shared stories about climbing Everest without oxygen masks.
Between parkas and plenty of gore-tex jackets, we heard a fantastic lecture on the principles of fire-making by Rhett Godfry, the Sustainability Director at Loomstate Sustainable Apparel. Luckily, the New York City Fire Department wasn’t called, even when Rhett carried live coals outside for a practical demonstration of ignition techniques!
Some things we learned about fire-making without flint or matches:
- There are three friction based methods, the hand drill, the bow drill, and the fire plow (check out this website for the knitty-gritty scoop).
- Each method relies on a softwood spindle to create enough friction to produce an ember.
- The goal is to create a coal that can then be ignited with a tinder nest, so no need to worry about setting your house on flames!
- You need strong hands, lots of practice, and some stamina.
- Even if you never start a fire while freezing in the tundra mid-winter (knock on wood), it’s a pretty sweet skill to learn.
After Rhett’s demonstration, we got a chance to practice our new fire skills (with some supervision!), chat about everything from medicinal plants to new hiking trails, and swap battle stories about outdoors adventures.
As always, we took lots of pictures, ate too much trail mix, and enjoyed our awesome outdoors community.