With years of fire lighting and stove designing behind us, here at Anevay HQ we know a thing or two about lighting the perfect fire. So we've brought you a list of 10 easy steps to laying it, lighting it and getting it started that'll give you fail-safe flames in no time at all.
1. Location, location, location. If you’re using your stove in a tent or a shed, make sure that the flue clears the top of the tent so that it’s exposed to the wind. Tents or pitched roofs create dead spots in windy places where the wind eddies and moves more slowly, which will compromise the draw.
On the other hand, if you have problems with too much wind, you might need aH-Cowl, which is a clever little piece of engineering that has been used for years on top of chimneys to eliminate backdraft and improve draw in windy areas.
2. Choose your wood. Small pieces of dry softwood work best for kindling as they’ll catch easily, and choose dry, well-seasoned logs for keeping the fire going. If you’re using recycled wood, look out for timber that’s been painted or tanalised (heat-treated) as this can give off nasty fumes when burning and will clog up your flue.
2. Insulate. If you’re burning timber, leave a bed of ash in the bottom of your stove. This helps to insulate your fire, preventing it from losing heat from underneath, and will direct the heat upwards towards your wood allowing for a better burn.
3. Let some air in. Open up your air vents or put the door on the latch when first lighting the stove to allow a good supply of oxygen to your fire. If you’re burning coal, open the ash tray (bottom) vent to let air in from underneath. If you’re building a freestanding fire, blow on the fire to give it enough oxygen to get started.
4. Start to lay your fire. The conventional way to do this is to start with some twisted-up lengths of newspaper or paper. You can use firelighters as well, which can help speed up the process, but we’ll go on the assumption that you don’t have any to hand. Arrange some small pieces of kindling on top of the newspaper. The best way to do this is to lean the pieces of kindling upwards creating a kind of cone, like the poles of a tipi.
5. Try this: while the above method is easy and probably the one you’re most familiar with, it can cause a bit of smoke and occasionally the fire will collapse and smoulder rather than take. Give this alternative a go: place two smallish logs side by side in your stove with space between them. Fill the space with twisted pieces of newspaper along with some very small pieces of kindling. Lay slightly bigger pieces of kindling across the newspaper, resting on the two logs like train tracks. Again, dry softwood works best here but you can also use dried twigs or even dried pinecones!
6. Burn, baby, burn! Light the newspaper at the bottom in a couple of places around the edge.
7. Shut down the air supply (a little). Close the door of your stove leaving it part-way open. On a Frontier or a Traveller Stove you want the door open to the second notch while you let the fire take.
8. Build up the fire. Wait until your kindling is really burning and then start adding small logs. Start small and gradually increase the size of the logs as the fire becomes more established. The larger the log, the longer it’ll burn for, but you don’t want to smother the fire by adding big logs too early.
9. Decide what kind of fire you want. Here's an expert tip: adding logs slightly higgledy-piggledey with lots of air between them will create a short-burning, hot fire – perfect for cooking on or boiling water. Stacking logs quite close together, in a pile all going the same way, will result in a longer, slower-burning fire that’s better for heating a tent or a room.
10. Keep adding logs as needed. As you get used to lighting your stove, you’ll refine the process so you use less paper, less kindling and burn fewer logs – this will all come with practice and soon you’ll be a firelighting pro!
There are loads of great firelighting hacks out there, from using Doritos as quick kindling to get a fire going, to dipping cotton pads in wax to make portable firelighters. If you've got any expert tips you'd like to share, let us know in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.