Regardless of location, leaving the pavement for the woods is a great undertaking. The endeavor comes in many flavors, including backcountry big game hunts, primitive state park camping, and hunting camps. Whatever the case, overnight outdoor excursions come with the need for fire for cooking and, in some cases, warmth. My trips out and about the Texas landscape usually involve Whitetail scouting and hunting on a variety of parcels, and I typically do it solo.
With solo hunting comes the need for heat. Sure, my mini-adventures aren’t too far off the beaten path but they ultimately beg for a good fire source, albeit on a small level. Uses include boiling water for coffee and cooking small meals. I often use a wood-burning stove rather than a propane one. Let’s just say, I like making fires – even small ones. It’s practical, easy, and creates ambiance back at the truck for going through trail cam images, reading, or just flat-out reflecting on life. Fire is a huge part of the outdoor experience, no doubt.
Look, I love the challenge of making a fire in the wild as next as the next guy or gal. However, a simple, no-nonsense fire-starting method is hard to beat. Pyro Putty is the ticket. It’s lightweight, portable, dependable, and inexpensive. A small pinch of it with a little dry kindling has me staring into flames in less than 5 minutes.
I could dowse a pile of logs with lighter fluid, creating woodland pyrotechnics but it’s unnecessary. I like to methodically make a modest fire for my needs. Especially on smaller properties, I don’t need the additional smell and mess associated with larger blazes. It can be alarming to area deer. Plus, the smaller controlled burn is not only less abrupt, but it’s more gratifying. While Pyro Putty is a great solution for bigger fires too, smaller, minimalistic heat sources are all I usually need. When it comes to effectiveness and practicality, Pyro Putty represents a sweet spot.
Can you establish a fire without it? Usually. That is if conditions are ideal. Why leave it to chance? Pyro Putty is waterproof and a small pinch is a great answer to damp or windy conditions. It’s a great alternative in terms of preparedness and survival, as well as the more routine hunts and outdoor outings.
Though I employ various setups, the even and controlled Pyro Putty solution plus the walls of a stove confine the flames ensuring a safer fire. It makes for a super-duo for my mini-hunting trips across different properties – and like Pyro Putty, the stove is lightweight and compact, perfect for the small controlled fires I employ during the fall in the whitetail woods.
As mentioned, a good lightweight backpacking stove like TOAKS’ offerings have a lot of utility for my outings. TOAKS stoves and other gear are made from Titanium and are almost weightless. They also nest for compactness. My stove, when nested, measures less than 5” in diameter and height. Best of all, their design makes for optimized heat and air flow. Translation; fire in minutes.
- 1 small tin of Pyro Putty
- TOAKS Titanium Backpacking Stove
- Ignition source (matches, lighter, Ferro rod, or dual arc lighter)
- Small and medium-sized kindling and wood chunks, in Ziploc bag
- Small camp pot or skillet
- Metal coffee cup or kettle
Hint: If you don’t have a supply of kindling in your yard back home, commercial wood chips and chunks are available at places such as Walmart and your local grocery store.
For my solo hunts, I dig out a shallow pit (optional). At a minimum, I clear a small area of debris and form a ring with rocks. When I return to my solo camp after a morning or evening hunt, I’m good to go.
First off, it’s a good idea to pack a couple of Ziploc baggies full of kindling and tiny, small, and medium-sized twigs. While it’s easy to collect them on-site, it’s efficient to have them ready. It really comes in handy during damp conditions. These small stashes take up little space and weigh mere ounces.
- If not packed, take time to collect an ample supply of kindling and a few stouter sections of wood. Area brush and deadfall are great sources.
- Detach the 3 stove pieces and nest (see image below).
- Tap in a couple of small tent stakes in the holes at the bottom of the stove, especially if the ground is uneven (optional).
- Assemble a little kindling in the bottom of the stove. Good candidates are pine needles, dry grass, newspaper strips, and tiny twigs.
- Place a pinch of Pyro Putty on the bed of kindling and ignite with the source of your choice. (I prefer the Phone Skope Dual Arc Lighter).
- Give it a minute to catch well.
- Methodically add small twigs into the square opening at top of the stove.
- Graduate to larger pieces.
- After a few minutes, the fire will be established enough to add even larger twigs and wood chunks.
The rest is easy. Pull up a camp chair. Boil some water and enjoy a cup of java. For an easy meal, use your skillet or pot to sear sausage, hot dogs, or even steak and vegetables. These and other meats can be cut into small sections and cooked in short order. Of course, for more “means to an end” meals, I warm up chili or soup. Compact outdoor pots and pans like the TOAKS Titanium 1100ML Pot-Pan Combo are a great choice.
Keep the fire going a little longer and enjoy the glistening coals. As you wind down, you can mentally relive the hunt and strategize for the next one. These are good times all at the hands of a pinch of Pyro Putty fire-starter and a woodburning backpack stove – and these small manageable controlled fires are easy to clean up when done. Let this simple combo enhance your peace of mind and outdoor experience while on the hunt.