Dakota Fire Hole: Saves Wood, Burns HOT, Minimal Smoke & Efficient Cooking

The Dakota Fire Hole is a Native American style fireplace that burns wood efficiently like a wood stove. It is also a safer way to build a fire as it keeps the coals and flames fairly contained when you are trying to have a fire in windy conditions.

By spending some extra effort on digging a Dakota Fire Hole, you can burn a very hot small fire with less wood. Very beneficial in areas where wood is limited.

What you’ll need to do is dig a hole just over a foot deep and a foot wide. The bottom of the pit can be a little wider to allow you to put longer pieces of wood in the bottom. Then dig a small tunnel beginning a foot or so from the main pit and angling down to the bottom of it. This will allow additional air to be drawn through and help the fire to burn hotter and more efficiently, producing less smoke. You can also dig a shallow trench in the very bottom of the firepit which lines up with the air tunnel. This will allow you to place wood flat on the bottom of the pit and will help draw air through the tunnel allowing air flow under the fire.

Depending on how soft the ground is and your location this task can be simple or a little more time consuming. Most forests or wooded areas you should be able to dig these holes pretty simple just using a sharpened stick. If your higher up in the mountains you’ll run into some harder ground that’ll make the the task a little more difficult.

When your holes are complete and your ready to start your fire make sure you have some very dry wood, preferably long-dead branches still attached to the tree. Remove all bark, as not all bark burns well and they usually smoke pretty bad. Make sure to split your kindling very finely. You can also put three rocks in the bottom of the pit and build the fire on top of them. These rocks can be used for later purposes such as heating your hands, body or for cooking things after you put the fire out.

The firehole is a very efficient and a quick way to bring water to a boil for purification. It also makes for a great cooking “Stove”. On your next camping trip give it a try. Learning new techniques is always fun, however they don’t become enjoyable until you actually get out and try them. So get out there and give it a try!!

%d bloggers like this: