Is there a way to build a strong fire when it is windy?
What about a fire that has less smoke?
Maybe one that gets really hot?
Or how about one that doesn’t need as much wood as a traditional fire?
Do you ever need to build a fire that is mostly concealed and able to cover it up easily leaving no traces that one had been present?
The Dakota fire hole is the solution to all of these questions. Survivalists endorse the Dakota fire hole over traditional fires because they are efficient, covert, and resourceful.
The Dakota fire hole produces less smoke, provides a stable cooking surface, requires less fuel, is easy to put out, is less visible, and is easy to remove evidence of having been there in the first place.
Today, we will show you how to make a Dakota fire hole with step by step instructions.
What supplies do you need to build a Dakota fire hole?
- A Shovel.
Shortest supply list ever!
Some people have suggested using a sharp stick to dig a hole in an emergency, but that would be extremely time intensive. You can collect green, living sticks to use in your fire hole to lift the fire up off the ground and also use as a cooking surface at the top of the hole.
This is a great shovel to have for your Dakota fire hole; it is compact, folds up to store in your pack, and is affordable.
How to build your Dakota fire hole: Step by Step Instructions
Source: Gray Wolf Survival
1. Find a space to dig.
When digging a dakota fire hole, you don’t want to have to try and dig through a ton of thick roots or rocks. Look for nice, soft earth that is conducive to what you are trying to make. Avoid areas:
- With a lot of rocks and stones that are difficult to dig through.
- Where the potential for wildfires is great.
- With soil that is made from sand or other loose materials that would collapse while digging.
- Where the soil is wet and the hole would potentially fill with water.
Always treat the wilderness with respect; avoid cutting and damaging trees and their roots.
2. Dig your hole.
You will want to dig a decently deep hole; maybe 2 or 3 feet.
The bigger the fire, the deeper and wider you will want to dig. A personal fire would be sufficient around 2 to 3 feet deep and about 1.5 feet in diameter.
You can dig a hole with a stick or whatever you have in an emergency, but it would take a long time!
Some form of trenching tool, like a shovel, would be ideal for a quick fire hole. You could dig it in 5 minutes or so.
Source: U.S. Patriot Tactical
3. Dig a smaller hole about a foot away from the main hole.
This next hole is essential for the Dakota fire hole.
It allows oxygen to be carried down and towards your fire. A standard depth for the airflow hole is about 1.5 feet deep.
You will want to choose a spot about a foot away from the main hole to build this airflow hole. If the wind is blowing, you could set it up so that the wind will be blowing towards the fire from the hole.
Source: Survival Kit
4. Create a tunnel from the airflow hole to the primary hole.
Dig from the airflow hole towards the primary fire hole, creating a tunnel.
This tunnel will allow oxygen to flow to feed your fire underground. The tunnel should be dug from the airflow hole towards the fire hole.
It should be wide enough that you can fit your entire arm through the tunnel.
5. Build your fire.
Build a fire in the Dakota fire hole just as you would above ground.
Use dry materials creating a raised bed of sorts. Stack the wood up into the hole.
Once you build your dry fuel up in the hole, you can start a fire. To cook over the fire, lay a “grate” made of green, living branches to make a flat surface (or an actual metal grate, if you want).
Source: Survival Kit
Here is a video guide on how to build a Dakota fire hole.
Voila! The concept is simple and effective, and only a little more labor intensive, as far as building a fire goes.
Knowing how to make a dakota fire hole is a great tool to have in your mental backpack.
It is perfect for countless situations; from high winds to survival situations. It produces less smoke, gets much hotter than traditional fires, leaves a small footprint in nature, and keeps you hidden when you want to stay hidden.
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