Latvian Fire Logs
A Great Fire Lay for Backwoods Cooking
Latvian Fire Logs are a great and useful fire lay. Using a single log, you are essentially creating a wooden rocket stove. The fire burns inside the log so the heat travels straight up the chimney making it a very efficient cooking fire.
You will need:
- Chopping block
- Wire or cordage
- Wire cutters
- Small saw
- Firelighting kit
Choose a log for the fire that’s very dry and has been cut flat. Pine and birch work well but anything too hard, like oak won’t burn very well and will need a lot of blowing to keep it burning. Softer woods like willow will burn too quickly which isn’t ideal either.
Split the log into quarters using the axe, mallet and chopping block. Then chop the 90° corner off of each of the 4 quarters.
You’ll need to cut a notch out of the bottom of one of the quarters. This is to allow the fire to draw air up through the bottom of the Latvian Fire Torch. Using a saw, cut the notch, it should be as big a the chimney to allow air in.
Place the four quarters back together and secure them together using whatever cordage you have. We used gardeners’ wire but you could use something natural like spruce or pine roots.
Get the bits you cut off the log quarters and split them up. Light your fire on top of the Latvian Fire Log and it will fall through and start burning up in a matter of minutes. You can feed it little sticks to get it going but after around 5 minutes it should be self-sustaining. If you need to, you can blow into the hole at the bottom.
Latvian Fire Logs
Remember the Fire Triangle. If your Latvian Fire Log isn’t working there is something wrong with one of these things – Fuel, Heat or Oxygen. In my experience, if your fire log isn’t catching, it’s probably air flow. You can see in one of my pictures, I’ve stuck a wedge in to get more air get into this one.
If your logs are sturdy enough, you can get your pot on top. Maybe raise it up using some metal tent pegs to allow airflow. If they are too small or unstudy, you can hang from a tripod. Our Scouts used theirs to make hot juice which was a treat on a cool October evening. Obviouly be very careful with an unsteady hot kettle.
So Latvian Fire Logs are a useful firelay for campfire cooking. They’re safe in that they are cool at the sides, all the heat comes out the top. They are very contained and tidy. They are efficient and use much less wood than a traditional campfire. Another great cooking fire is the Dakota Fire Pit. The theory is very similar to this Fire Lay.
They do have their drawbacks though. Latvian Fire Logs are pretty rubbish at warming you up on a chilly evening. They are useless as a signal fire. And they can be pretty fiddly at the start. But if you stick to cooking with them, you won’t be disappointed!
Add Latvians Fire Logs to your bushcraft and backwoods skills repertoire.