I spent some time in a wigwam today, and due to the wind conditions, it was very difficult to keep the smoke out. Are there some tricks one can use in a situation like that to make the wigwam more habitable, or to deal with the smoke in some way?

  • 1
    Where's the smoke coming from?
    – berry120
    Mar 17, 2013 at 15:00
  • @berry120: There is a fire burning in the middle of the wigwam. It is still rather cold and showy around here, and without fire the wigwam would be too cold to stay in. Mar 17, 2013 at 15:27

1 Answer 1


I haven't used a wigwam, but I expect you'd have the same issues as with any shelter. You have to expect there to be some smoke, but you want the amount of smoke to be as low as possible. Perhaps the hole at the peak is not large enough, or perhaps you're not letting enough air in to feed the fire. Make sure you have a large enough crack at ground level to let the fire get sufficient oxygen. Any fire that's not getting enough oxygen will smoke more. I've been in old cabins where we had to open the front door to let air in when the fire was small. We could close it when the fire was larger.

All of those issues relate to 'draw.' The fire needs to burn hot, or the smoke won't be hot enough to rise and escape through your vent. If your air intake isn't large enough, the fire won't burn hot, and you'll have lots of lukewarm smoke that won't go anywhere.

If your vent isn't large enough, the smoke won't have anyplace to go, so it'll back up.

So, try leaving the entrance open until the fire really gets going., and make sure you have good openings top and bottom to create sufficient draw.

Oh, and it'd probably be good not to sleep between the air intake and the fire, or that cold air will run right over you.

  • 2
    Also, using small fuel wood to increase the burn rate helps. Mar 18, 2013 at 17:17
  • @RichardAtHome Makes sense. It'll burn hot sooner than the larger stuff. Mar 18, 2013 at 17:29
  • If it is your wigwam, you could also dig a tunnel from outside to under the fire in the center to act as a vent while being able to keep the door closed. This will feed the fire plenty of air if done on the side the wind is coming from which in turn will keep it burning hot and the smoke down. When the fire is below ground lever this is referred to as a Dakota fire pit.
    – Nate W
    Mar 6, 2018 at 19:36

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