How to Make a Fire in the Snow

We may earn a commission when you purchase using our links.

Knowing how to build a fire in the snow is a handy skill.  Hopefully, you don’t ever need it for the sake of survival but you just never know.

Building a fire in the winter can be a fun activity and extend your time outdoors after the sun goes down.

Having a fire outside in the snow can turn an outdoor activity into an even more memorable event whether you are out hiking, snowshoeing, or nordic skiing.  Bring the marshmallows and hot cocoa for the perfect end to your snowy adventure.

How To Prepare Your Fire

There are a number of factors to consider before building a fire outside in the snow.

Safety First – obviously make sure that you are not starting a fire near a fuel source.  Even though it’s winter and there may be snow all around, fires can still get out of control and you want to be careful about where you start your fire.  Check for trees, wind direction, and other sources of fuel both above and around your fire site.

Location – ideally stomp out a flat spot that is protected from the wind to build your fire.

Snow – if there are trees around, make sure that there isn’t a pile of snow about to fall on your fire which could quickly put your fun to an end by extinguishing the fire.

Dig – if you have the tools for digging  – like a small portable shovel, you can dig a fire pit in the snow.   Dig down to about a couple of inches above the solid ground and then place stones around the fire ring.

Platform – If you don’t have tools for digging a fire pit, build a platform over the snow.  You can place a row of logs or rocks on top of the snow to create a barrier from the snow.  Ideally, a flat log or rock sits in the middle to make your fire. Then build your fire on top of your platform.

Build your Fire – Place your tinder on top of the platform and arrange kindling and wood in a teepee-style layout.

Be prepared – you’ll need dry wood and some fail-proof fire starters to get a fire started and keep it going, especially in the winter elements.

Building a fire in the snow is fun but you will need to be prepared to make it work.  Making a fire in the winter is a little more difficult than in summer.  You’ll need to raise the temperature of your combustible materials in a cold environment but it’s worth the effort.

Two marshmallows roasting over fire flames.

Don’t forget the s’more fixings and a thermos of hot drinks to round off a perfect evening around the fire and under the stars.