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In the realm of wilderness survival, escape, and evasion, the ability to create fire without drawing attention is a skill that can mean the difference between life and death. Fire serves as an essential tool for providing warmth, cooking food, signaling for help, and boosting morale. However, conventional fire-making methods often produce smoke that can inadvertently attract unwanted attention. In scenarios where remaining undetected is crucial, mastering the art of smokeless fire-making becomes paramount.

The Significance of Fire in Survival

Fire has been a primal source of comfort and security for humanity since time immemorial. In a survival context, it provides warmth, light, and the means to prepare food and purify water. Beyond its practical applications, fire can serve as a beacon, guiding rescuers or fellow survivors to your location. However, the very same smoke that makes fire visible can also act as a beacon, alerting potential threats or enemies to your presence.

The Perils of Traditional Fire-Making

Traditional fire-making methods, such as rubbing sticks together to create friction or using flint and steel to spark a flame, often generate significant amounts of smoke. In a densely forested or otherwise enclosed environment, this smoke can travel far and wide, catching the attention of anyone within its vicinity. In situations where evasion or stealth is of the essence, this smoke can betray your location and put you at risk.

Smokeless Fire-Making Techniques

  1. Dakota Fire Hole: The Dakota Fire Hole technique involves digging two interconnected holes – one for the fire and another for air intake. This setup promotes efficient combustion, resulting in minimal smoke production. By ensuring that the flames are well-contained within the earth, the fire's visibility is drastically reduced.

  2. Fire Reflector Wall: Constructing a fire reflector wall behind the fire serves a dual purpose. It reflects heat towards the desired direction while helping to minimize smoke dispersal. This technique is particularly effective when combined with other smokeless methods.

  3. Rocket Stove: A rocket stove is a highly efficient, portable cooking and heating device that burns wood with very little smoke. Its design maximizes airflow, enabling complete combustion and significantly reducing the emission of smoke.

  4. Steam-Powered Fire: This ingenious method involves using the heat generated by the fire to turn water into steam. The steam rises through a pipe and exits through an outlet away from the fire, effectively dispersing smoke away from your location.

  5. Solid fuel stove: Solid fuel stoves are super light and very simple, but they are not quick. You simply light an Esbit fuel tab, pop you pan on top of the flame and weight. There is not much more to them than that.

  6. Liquid fuel stoves: If you are planning on cooking for a large group and are not too concerned about weight or space in your backpack than a liquid fuel stove will work for you.

  7. Alcohol Burning Stoves: Alcohol burning stoves have been a long-standing favourite amongst long-distance hikers, however the canister stoves are now knocking the alcohol stoves off their pedestal.

The Advantages of Smokeless Fire-Making

  1. Stealth and Evasion: Smokeless fire-making allows you to stay hidden from potential threats, increasing your chances of survival in hostile environments or during escape and evasion scenarios.

  2. Preservation of Resources: By using techniques that produce minimal smoke, you conserve precious resources such as firewood. This is crucial when you're unsure of how long you'll need to remain hidden or in survival mode.

  3. Signaling without Compromise: When you do need to signal for help, a smokeless fire can be easily transformed into a smoke-producing signal fire by adding damp materials to create temporary smoke.

I will share with you on method that I keep as a plan for this type of situations.

Basically I am using a Solid Fuel stove from ESBIT.

Solid fuel stoves are super light and very simple, but they are not quick. You simply light an Esbit fuel tab, pop you pan on top of the flame and weight.

Below you can see one of the many tab fuel available on the market.

There is not much more to them than that.

But also I can use for this stove alchool burning source.

Pros of a solid fuel burning stove:

  • Compact and light.

  • Easy to use.

  • Cost effective.

  • Stealth and Evasion

The fuel tabs are easy to transport and you’ll never risk and spillages.

Cons of a solid fuel burning stove:

  • Slow cooking times.

  • Expensive – the fuel tabs are not the cheapest.

  • The tabs can be tricky to buy as not everywhere stocks them.

  • A little bit smelly – the fuel tabs are not odourless.

  • Not great in wind and rain.

  • You can’t control the size of the flame.

Below you see more photos about this stove.


In the realm of wilderness survival, escape, and evasion, the ability to create fire without generating smoke is a skill that can safeguard your life and maintain your concealment. Smokeless fire-making techniques allow you to harness the advantages of fire without drawing attention to your location. By mastering these methods or having the right tools, you empower yourself to navigate precarious situations with stealth and prudence, ensuring that the element which once united communities around warmth and sustenance now acts as your silent ally in the face of adversity. Stay safe!

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