How to Build a Swedish Fire Log

an illustration of a wood log burning from the inside out with a cast iron dutch oven on top

When the Swedish army jumped into the Thirty Years War to invade the Holy Roman Empire, the soldiers developed a highly efficient campfire that required only a single log, commonly known as the Swedish Fire Torch or, in the Great White North, the Canadian Candle.

That was about 400 years ago. What worked then still works now.

So, if you find yourself in the woods under less-than-optimal conditions — say the ground is wet or there’s not a lot of usable wood — and you need to make a fire for cooking, crafting a Swedish Fire Torch is a great skill to know.

All you need is one good-sized log with a flat surface. Because the fire will burn in a concentrated area, you’ll be able to cook over a focused flame within 15 to 20 minutes, unlike a traditional campfire, which could take up to an hour to be ready for cooking.

The fire is elevated, so water and snow on the ground is not a problem. Another benefit of the Swedish Fire Log is that it is completely self-feeding: that is, minimal fire-tending is needed.

Follow these steps to make your own Swedish Fire Torch:


Equipment & Materials:

  • Whole dry log or stump
  • Splitting axe or maul
  • Metal wire or metal clothes hanger
  • Gloves


  1. Use the driest log you can find. Look for one with a flat surface or flatten the surface yourself (roughly 24 inches in height and diameter is a good size).
  2. Split the log into quarters or sixths with a splitting axe or splitting maul.
  3. Reassemble the log and secure it with a metal wire (a coat hanger also works).
  4. Insert kindling or fire starter inside the log and on top of the log with tinder — all within the center of the log.
  5. Light the tinder and once the fire is self sufficient, you can start cooking.