The next time you’re out camping, whether it’s outdoors in the wilderness or right outside in your own backyard, try this hack out for an effortless campfire all night long. While there is definitely some prep work involved, it’s well worth it if you don’t need a huge bonfire, and more so if you plan on cooking meals over the flames.
In the video below, YouTube user Doogly demonstrates how to make a Swedish torch, which is also known as Swedish candle, Canadian candle, Swedish fire torch, Swedish log stove, or similar name, using a chainsaw. Basically, instead of tossing any firewood into your fire pit, grab one thick log and make two cuts. These cuts should be deep, at least halfway through the log, and should form an X on the top.
Once your cuts are created, add fire kindling such as newspaper, brush, or even wine corks into the depths of the log and light them. Remember to keep the X facing upwards, so the flame rises from within the log rather than downwards and dangerously toward the ground.
If you don’t have a chainsaw, you can attempt to use many thick cuts of wood together in the same shape, but you won’t get the same exact effect.
Image Via Silver Skyline
These Are Good for Campfires & Cookouts
Once you’ve lit your newly cut log, you have a long-lasting fire that will keep burning until you’re ready to hit your tent. Yet this fire building technique offers more options than simply warmth and light—it also provides a ready-made stovetop for your camp cooking.
Image via Hessie Scout Group
Nick Weston, writing for Back Woods Home, considers this log-cutting technique an excellent choice for outdoor chefs roughing it. After about 30 minutes of burning, the log’s flat top becomes the perfect place to set a skillet.
As the wood and its flame continue to burn, it reaches a high enough temperature to cook on top of. And, the longer it remains lit, the higher the temperature—meaning you could even slow-roast your favorite meat directly inside of the log.
Images via Back Woods Home
Another benefit to this easy-to-create camp stove is that it requires no effort. The log will continue to burn through the cuts, heating the wood from within its center and warming whatever you place on top.
The Type of Wood You Use Matters
Nick Weston also suggest considering what type of log you’d like to use before creating this long-burning fire. Different types of logs create different effects as they burn, and your choice may depend on the purpose of your campfire.
Image via Badgells Wood Camping
He recommends selecting a “well-seasoned” wood, rather than one that is stripped of its bark and natural growth. If you simply want to relax around your campsite, seek woods like pine, fir, and birch. Weston calls these soft woods, which give off the scent and light of the traditional campfires we all love.
However, this type of wood log isn’t the best for cooking food. If you plan to make your fire your own outdoor stove, Weston suggests avoiding any varieties of wood that give off soot and smoky taste. Instead, try to use hardwoods like beech, apple, cherry, and oak. These logs don’t hold much moisture, which prevents excess smoke, and burn better, according to Weston.