Equipping for disaster

Keep your fire on the down low with a Dakota Hole

For many outdoor enthusiasts, sitting next to a roaring campfire is a key part of the experience. However, in the coming zombie apocalypse you may not want anyone (living or undead) to see your fire.

To that end, the recommended technique is to construct what is commonly referred to as a Dakota Hole. The Dakota Hole is actually more of a tunnel, but names aside it does provide a number of benefits to those willing to put in the work to build one.

First, the design reduces the signature of the fire by placing it below ground. In addition, it creates a large air draft, causing the fire to burn with less smoke than a traditional fire pit. It is also easier to light in high winds.


As shown in the graphic above, the fire hole is a pretty simple concept, but to build one you will need some means to dig the tunnel. This is why it is important to keep a small camp shovel in your emergency kit.

For maximum concealment, choose a location under a leafy tree. The leaves will serve as a a filter and will further diffuse your fire’s smoke. Best case scenario, your fire will produce little to no visible smoke while still providing heat.

Once the location is chosen, dig the main hole. It should be about 10 to 12 inches deep with an opening somewhere between 6 to 14 inches. The sides of the hole should be more or less vertical.

The secondary hole should begin 8 to 10 inches away from the first. The secondary hole is for air flow and doesn’t need to be as big as the first, so 6 to 8 inches will do. Digging this hole can be a little trickier than the first because it needs to go down at an angle to connect with the first.

Once the hole is dug, start the fire in the larger hole. Because of the confined space, this can take a bit of getting used to. However, because your tinder will be out of direct wind, it can actually be easier to start than on open ground.

To minimize the visibility of your fire, make sure that your fuel wood is not too large. Remember, if your wood goes all the way to the top of the hole, the fire will extend beyond it.

Categories: Equipping for disaster

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