Many times we find ourselves outdoors and we have this amazing fire going. When it is time to go to bed, you might feel like you could have used those hot red embers the following morning for breakfast. This is possible and many times we forget about this.
Banking a fire essentially means preserving the core embers of the fire and keeping the fire going when it is supposed to die down.
In this article, you will learn exactly what is needed to bank a fire when traveling the outdoors and we will show you a step by step tutorial on how this can be done.
It is worth noting, that this is not really as effective for backpacking and you might be increasing the weight that you are carrying on your trip if you do try and do this while backpacking. Banking a fire is generally more for camping when you have everything on hand to essentially do this.
A Few Things You Might Need When Banking A Fire
When banking a fire, you will need a few things. These things will be great for simplifying the process, but it should also be noted, that it is possible to do this without these things. The only main thing that you will need in every instance is the fire to start out with.
1. A Fire
This is the obvious base of the process and you need to have a fire with hot embers or coals that can be preserved for the following morning. If the fire is dying down, just add more wood to ensure you have more embers that can be banked when you are done.
Wood is one of the most important parts and this also includes the quality of wood that you are using. Cheaper wood will create a huge fire, but they do not make coals and this will result in you ending up with a lot of ash.
We would recommend you have decent quality wood that is known for sustaining fires and burning for extended periods of time.
3. A Fire Pick Or Stick
The fire pick or stick, or anything that you can use to scuffle inside the fire is also really important. Steel will be a great choice as it has a high tolerance for heat and should ensure you are capable of moving the coals around freely.
4. A Shovel
The shovel is the final thing you need and the size of the shovel will depend on the fire. If you are making a small fire inside the coal stove, you only need a smaller shovel, while a bigger shovel will be the best and most logical choice if you are camping and making a massive fire or even a bonfire.
How To Bank A Fire In 5 Easy Steps
Now that you know what is needed, we will show you how to do this. There aren’t really any effective ways and this is probably the best way to go about banking a fire in almost any scenario. Here are a few steps to bank a fire:
Step 1: Ensure The Fire Is Ready
By this, we mean you should look at the fire and make sure there are not any flames that are still burning. This means you have successfully created red hot embers and a little bit of ash. Keep the ash as it will certainly come in handy in the following steps.
Step 2: Seperate The Ash And The Coals With The Pick Or Stick
Using your scratching mechanism, you should separate the coals from the ash and ensure you are safely away and doing this from afar. By running the stick through the coals and moving them to one side, you should have the ash and the coals separated in no time.
Step 3: Add A Few Solid Pieces Of Wood
By adding a few solid pieces of wood, not only will you keep the fire burning, but you also leave it with something to start off with the next day. This is not that important and many people choose to leave out this step.
We have found it to be a great way of getting your fire going the next day and drying out the wood if your wood is moist.
Step 4: Scoop The Ash Onto The Wood
By scooping the ash onto the wood, you will essentially be smothering the fire to create any flames. The hot embers on the inside will still be hot for up to 16 hours, depending on how well you have done this.
If you do not have enough ash to do this, you will also be fine by just scraping all of the coals and embers on one big heap. Do not add the extra wood and make sure your heap is large enough for the core embers to stay warm. This should easily preserve your fire.
Step 5: Simply Add Smaller Wood And A Little Bit Of Kindling
No fire starters will be needed and by simply just adding some sort of kindling or dry grass, you will have a flame. If you have added the ash, you could just scoop it down from the heap and this will ensure you have a great big fire to cook your breakfast.
Banking a fire is really simple and it could save you on some firelighters and you will not be wasting those perfect coals and embers.
Using these steps, you will easily be ready to get cooking the next day and you could easily save the embers for up to 16 hours. This can even be longer inside a home oven.