Guide on how to build a campfire
After a day full of outdoor activities, nothing beats sitting around a campfire watching the flames, listening to the crackling sound of the fire, and the warm feeling of it that gives comfort to your soul.
Campfires are the star of a campsite. People always gather around every time there is a campfire, inspiring people to tell their legendary stories while roasting some s’mores and drinking beer.
However, creating a good campfire is an art. It isn’t simple and needs patience, knowledge, and the best firewood to burn.
Materials you will need
Before gathering all the materials needed, check first if campfires are allowed. Some camping sites do not allow campers to collect firewood for campfires to protect their environment and avoid uncontrolled fires that can cause damage to the forest.
Once the campsite gives you a go-signal, it’s time to gather your woods. The best firewood to burn is dry woods, the drier your wood, the better. You will need three types of woods to build your campfire: tinder, kindling, and firewood.
Tinder catches fire quickly. They are the materials that are easy to get, like dry leaves, dry bark, wood shavings, cardboard strips, candle wax, or dry grass can make good tinder. You can always collect tinder around your campsite. But if you are smart you’ll bring your tinder, especially if everything outside is wet.
Kindling helps shape the fire. You have to choose thin woods to make it work. The most common types of kindling are twigs and branches. Make sure that it is dry too, or else you will have difficulty burning it.
Firewood is the most important element, it will serve as the fuel of the fire and keeps your fire burning. You need a large and completely dry wood like the tinder and kindling to light it faster. Remember that no matter how good your firewood, if you place the woods too close to each other, there will be no enough oxygen flow to keep the fire burning. Examples of firewood are oak, maple, beech, and birch.
The last thing you will need is an incendiary device, like matches or a lighter. A reliable lighter or match-stick is a must-have. Keep your match-stick in a waterproof case to avoid getting them wet. Knowing how to start a fire is a valuable survival skill.
Methods for building a campfire
There are different ways to build your campfire, for beginners, the easiest method is the pyramid method or log cabin method. No matter what method you are going to use, always start with small woods, the tinder, then the medium-sized woods, and then once the kindling begins to catch fire, you can add your firewood.
The Log Cabin Method: Stack your wood as if you are playing Jenga, minus the middle part. Place two pieces of firewood vertically on the bottom and then put a small pile of tinder and kindling in between, then stack two more on top, horizontally. If you want a long-lasting fire and easy to maintain, use the log cabin method.
The Pyramid Method: It is one of the most common and classic fire shapes. Put all your tinder and kindling in the middle part and place your firewood in a pyramid form, like a cone leaning the top ends against one another. It is easy to maintain because you just need to put another wood against the frame to feed the fire.
How to start a campfire
Once you finished building your campfire layout, it’s time to light it up. Start by lighting the tinder using lighter or matches, it will serve as the fire starter. However, sometimes you will experience difficulties in lighting it up especially if it’s too humid or windy. In this situation, it’s better to bring a waterproof lighter or matches, some extra tinder that will surely ignite a fire like a candle wax or cardboard strips. And then, once the tinder started to catch fire, give it some oxygen and blow it gently, be careful not to blow the fire out. It will help you increase the fire that will light up the larger pieces of wood.
Always have tinder and kindling ready on hand because you need to keep adding some of it to feed the fire. You have to be sure that there is enough airflow on your campfire or else it will not work and the fire will always be out.
How to put out a campfire
To put out a fire, you will need a fire extinguisher like water, sand, or dirt that can block the oxygen from your campfire. Make sure that you put out the fire properly because if you did it wrong, it might create a wildfire. When you want to put out the fire, sprinkle the water instead of pouring everything at once. If you will pour it, the campfire ring will be full of water and the next camper cannot use it because of the water. Sprinkle water as much as you need to put out the fire. Next, while you are sprinkling the water, stir it with a stick or shovel to ensure that you get all the parts wet. You can also put the woods in a bucket of water because logs can also burn inside, so it’s better to break the big woods to make sure that you caught all the active fire. If you don’t see any steam or hissing, it means you are almost done with extinguishing your fire. Then lastly, test it with the back of your hand near the ashes, if it’s still hot, try to put some more water and stir it again, to make sure that it will not be active anymore once you leave the campsite. As soon as it cools down, you successfully put out your campfire.
Campfire Safety Tips
- Before you start your campfire, make sure that you are allowed. Some campsites do not allow campfire because it might begin uncontrolled fires and it may cause devastation of the forest.
- Do not leave your fire unattended.
- Do not leave any flammable materials near the campfire like cardboard, clothes, blankets, and woods.
- Always prepare a fire extinguisher nearby, a bucket of water or sand, just in case the fire gets big because of the strong wind, you can put it out because you have a fire extinguisher on hand.
Learning how to build a campfire is a skill that every camper should know, it is considered a survival skill. Follow these steps and safety tips to have a fun and exciting camping trip.