Backwoods cooking – Damper for lunch

backwoods cooking damper

Scouts on survival camps prepare their meals using “Backwoods cooking”, a method of cooking without the use of kitchen utensils or cookware.

Alternatives to cookware include aluminium foil, fruit skins (such as egg in an orange skin) and heated stones.  Traditionally, backwoods cooking takes place over a wood burning fire because wood is the most available fuel source in the backwoods.

Here they cooked a damper for lunch in aluminium foil on an open camp fire.  Another favourite is splitting a banana and adding chocolate and marshmallows, then wrapping the banana up again in its skin and alfoil, and cooking on the coals.

This UK Scout group website has some very creative backwoods cooking recipes including toffee apples and cooking a whole chicken in a rucksack!


How to build a camp fire

how to build a camp fire

how to build a camp fire

Knowing how to get a camp fire started – and stay burning – is a skill that you will be proud of throughout life, whether you’re camping with friends or a picnic BBQ with the family.

A group of new scouts stayed overnight at the den for “new scout camp training” including building this cracking camp fire in the new triangle fire pit.

There are a few secrets to building a stable, long burning camp fire … especially without using any synthetic fuel and minimal matches!

How to build a camp fire

You’ll need:  tinder, kindling and fuel (the wood kind, not petrochemical), plus something to spark such as a match or flint.

The teepee or crisscross styles seem to work best as they allow the air to circulate and the fire to build up slowly.
Start with a pile of tinder in the centre of the fire pit: gather a small heap of dry leaves, twigs, wood shavings or loosely screwed up newspaper. Either lay the kindling in a crisscrossed pattern lightly over the tinder or layer it around in a teepee
shape. You can build up several layers of kindling retaining the same shape but ensure you do not layer it too thick as the air needs to circulate for the fire to burn.

A gap should be left at the base of your structure for the match to light the tinder.  Lighting at the base is best as flames burn upwards.

Once lit, the interior layers will burn away, while you continue to add replacement layers until the fire is burning well. This is when you can start to add the fuel, which is the larger pieces of wood. Place the wood on the fire in a similar style to how you started rather than throwing on large logs which might hinder its progress. Adding the proper size wood at timed intervals will keep the fire blazing.

teepee campfire  Example of a teepee structure campfire from

lean to campfire for survival  Example of a lean to campfire structure from