A bit of a ‘how to’ today – making a pot stand for your campfire. There’s a shed-load of ways to suspend a pot over a fire, but this is a really simple way to use three sticks to create a stable, safe stand for your pot or billy. You need to start by selecting three sticks, each with a fork in them. Keep in mind that one stick (We’ll call this the ‘support’ will be the one from which you will hang your pot, the second will be the ‘fulcrum’ on which your first stick rests, and the third will be a strong ‘peg’ to hold your first stick in place in the ground.)
It is best to use green wood (easier to carve, saves your blade!):
Another thing to remember is that in the case of sticks 2 and 3 (the fulcrum and the peg), you want the ‘v’ shape to be asymmetrical – this will allow you to, if necessary, hammer them into the ground. (That way the ‘shock’ of the mallet goes into the ground – if you used a y-shaped fork, you’d just end up splitting it.) So basically you want one vertical branch with an asymmetrical branch going off to one side.
It will be much more stable if you carve a notch into the underside of the support branch, where it will rest on the fulcrum. To get really nerdy about it, you can make your support stick adjustable by carving multiple notches, which will enable you to easily raise and lower your billy simply by moving the support branch along a notch where it rests on the fulcrum.
So the whole thing looks like this:
Now you’re all set up. Even when the ground is damp, I use a firebowl, which you can pick up for around £20 – they keep your fire off the ground and contain it beautifully. So you’re all sorted to light your fire and boil your water. This won’t happen as quickly as when using a kelly kettle, but you have the open fire to entertain you while you wait… *Remember that during the winter months you’ll find a lack of dry material to burn, so if, like me, you don’t have anywhere to dry and season wood, remember to stock-pile a bit towards the end of summer. I still have a dry-sack full of birch bark!
There are ways to elaborate on this basic method, and I’ll go into those in more detail in a later post, plus look at building a more permanent setup, suitable for a week or more’s camping. In the mean time, enjoy that campfire coffee!