When Peter Buchanan-Smith first felt the need to reconnect with nature and launch an outdoors company in 2009, the only tools of the trade in his possession were a very rough draft of a business plan and 12 solid, handcrafted axes. Nonetheless, he managed to get Best Made Company off the ground, and now the New York-based designer—whose previous work includes creative direction for The New York Times, and Paper, and a few under-the-radar musicians like David Byrne, Brian Eno, Philip Glass, and Wilco—outfits an entire generation of adventure-seekers with everything from brass flashlights to waxed canvas blankets.
We decided to come clean to Peter about not knowing how to build a bonfire, so he helped us out with everything from scouting a location, to finding the right tools, and he even outlined a detailed, step-by-step plan of action. Screenshot away.
Before Getting Started
This first step might seem obvious, but it's often overlooked: "Make sure you have a location picked out where it's legal to build a fire," says Buchanan-Smith. "If you're building the bonfire on a public beach, make sure there aren't any permits required or local fire restrictions." You'll also want to make sure to have some essentials handy: a water bucket (for controlling the fire and extinguishing it), a few backup logs in case there isn't enough wood on the beach, matches, and a shovel. "Of course, a first-aid kit is always a good idea, especially if you're hanging out on an out-of-the-way beach," says Buchanan-Smith. "Not to be morbid or alarmist, but remember the opening scene from Jaws?"
For more on Best Made Company, see bestmadeco.com.