4 Camping Tricks with Forked Sticks

Camping Tricks with Forked Sticks

A forked stick has a number of uses, particularly around the campfire. Here are a four ways you can use them as mentioned in Outdoor Life’s Complete Book of Camping (1971).

How to Use Forked Sticks Around the Campfire

Trick 1: Securing a Dingle Stick

A dingle stick is used to hold meat or a pot over a campfire. This is a simple setup that can be quickly accomplished anywhere.

The final setup looks like this:

Forked Stick dingle stick wide view

A pot hanging over the fire on a dingle stick.

Step 1: Make a perch for the dingle stick

Place one forked stick in the ground near the fire for the dingle stick to perch on.

Forked Stick Dingle Stick 1

One forked stick (branch) at the proper height to hang an object over the fire.

Step 2: Secure the end of the dingle stick

Secure the dingle stick (I love saying that) in the ground with another forked stick.

Forked Stick Dingle Stick Set up

A forked stick in the ground holds the dingle stick securely in place. Alternatively, you can use a larger stick that has a heavier end.

Trick 2: Supports for a Spit

Forked sticks can be used to quickly make supports for a spit pole. You can either put game meat directly on the spit pole or use it to hang pots. This same setup can be useful for drying meat outdoors in the right conditions, though the meat would not be placed directly above the heat source.

Step 1: Make spit support poles

Gather two forked sticks of equal length. Sharpen the ends and push into the ground.

Forked Stick Pole Support

Spit pole supports are just forked branches.

Step 2: Lay the pole across

Lay the pole across the spit supports.

Forked Stick Setting Pole

Place a sturdy pole across the spit supports.

Trick 3: Making a Pot or Dutch Oven Hanger

With your spit in place you could thread the handle of the pot through the pole and support it that way. However, this can be cumbersome of you have other pots on the pole. A better alternative is to craft your own hanger from two forked sticks and a bit of cordage.

Step 1: Get two forked sticks and some cordage

Gather two forked sticks of nearly equal size and thick enough to support the weight of the pot or Dutch oven. The forked sticks will be lashed together, side by side, similarly to the photo shown below.

Forked Stick Making a Pot Hanger

These two sticks will be lashed together using some twine and a common rope whipping technique.

Step 2: Lash the two forked sticks together

Cut off a few feet of cordage and use a rope whipping technique to secure the sticks together. Other knots may work here as well.

Forked Stick Pot Hanger Rope Whipping 1

While holding the forked sticks in place make an eye in the string and leave a bit of string hanging down. You’ll need this later.

Forked Stick Pot Hanger Rope Whipping 2

Begin wrapping the cordage around the two sticks and around the loop. See the video below for how this works.

Here is a short video of how to finish up the rope whipping.

Forked Stick Pot Hanger Rope Whipping Complete

Forked stick pot hanger completed.

Step 3: Trim and turn the forks

If you try to hang a pot with the current setup it may lean a bit too much. If necessary, trim off the extra length of branch on one end (the end that will hold the pot handle) and turn the forks so that they are one over the other. See below:

Forked Stick Pot Hanger Over Campfire

A thick handled pot hanging on my pot holder. This would work better with a thin handled kettle or Dutch oven.

Trick 4: Makeshift Tongs to Hold Hot Rocks (and other things)

For this you just need one forked stick and one straight stick. It’s a simple and effective means of moving hot items.

Forked Stick Tongs Hot Rock

Make a tong with one forked stick and one straight stick, seen here holding a rock securely.

Final Thoughts

You likely don’t have to rough it all that much these days as there are plenty of store-bought options for cooking when camping. However, not too long ago ( 1971 according to the book mentioned above) men really did have to survive out-of-doors just to go on a camping trip. Skills like these are not only free, but they are fun as well.

If you have used or do use any of these techniques when camping, be sure to let me know in the comments below. If you have any tips, share those as well!

Happy Camping!

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