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:
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.
Step 2: Secure the end of the dingle stick
Secure the dingle stick (I love saying that) in the ground with another forked stick.
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.
Step 2: Lay the pole across
Lay the 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.
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.
Here is a short video of how to finish up the rope whipping.
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:
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.
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!