Building a Dakota Fire Hole – Smoke Free Fire Pit

One of the problems with making a fire in the woods is that you will stick out like a sore thumb.  During the day, your smoke will draw attention, and at night the flames can be seen by anyone passing by. The Dakota Fire Hole resolves those issues and then some. I’m going to show you how a small hole next to your fire pit is one of my favorite survival hacks.

How a Smokeless Fire Hole Works

– Air travels through the side of the hole

– The smoke has to now travel up thru the fire

– This gets rid of a lot of the smoke and allows it to burn much hotter.

How to make a Dakota Fire Hole

Step 1 – Dig a hole

You’re going to make two holes, the larger hole will be your main. The other hole will be for air. Suggestion: use a Survival Shovel or any type of entrenching tool to make this part easier. The hole pictured is 1.5 wide and 2 feet deep.

Step 2 – Dig your air hole

Your second hole should be about 1 foot away from your current and it doesn’t have to be as deep or wide. This hole should be 1.5 feet deep and should tunnel to the first hole. The purpose of a second hole is to allow oxygen into your fire. Since the oxygen no longer has to come from above, your fire will burn even hotter.

Step 3 – Make sure your holes connect at the base

Make sure you can get your arm all the way through.  If you cut the hole too high up, your fire won’t get the air it needs to burn hot.

Step 4 – Building your fire

Stack kindling wood into your smokeless fire hole.

Mark your camp

Now that it’s hard to see your fire, consider memorizing your surroundings so you can get back to camp.

Note: If you burn wet or green materials, it will still cause some smoke.  Always use dry wood.


– Hotter flames for campfire cooking

– Significantly less smoke

– Safer in windy conditions

– Easier to cover

– Stealth mode

Optional Tools

– Entrenching tool

– Outdoor cooking kit

– Something to start fires