How to Build a Perfect Campfire

Are you planning for a campfire? You are here because you are a smart person who learns the basics before executing anything. Here, we will be going to have a detailed discussion on how to build a perfect campfire. Fire and humans have a precious and old age relationship. In the ancient era, the fire was the main source for many purposes.

The fire was used to get protection from wild animals, cook food, get warmth, and get light in the darkness. In today’s world, fire does its job in many ways to enhance our lifestyle. Campfire is a good activity to enjoy beautiful moments with family and friends. The below mentioned detailed guide will introduce you with the steps from making a campfire to putting out the fire.

campfire with friends

1. Always Check if Campfire is Allowed

First of all, check whether the campfire is allowed at camping? Because a single spark can cause an uncontrolled forest fire. Some nationalized parks and camping grounds don’t allow campfires. It is for the safety of the forest, animals, plants, humans, and the environment. Some camping grounds allow campfires but they may have some rules and regulations. You can contact camp host, park visitor department, or local ranger station for rules and safety measures.

2. Selecting a Perfect Site

Now, its time to select the perfect site for the campfire. Some nationalized camping grounds have a dedicated campfire area. You can use it to make your campfire. However, if your camping area lacks the dedicated site then it’s your turn to make your own. While selecting a place make sure that it is away from bushes, plant material, and trees.

Safety must be your first priority because just one embar can cause a forest fire. Therefore, it is important to prevention from an uncontrolled fire and devastation. If you are not able to find any suitable area then you can make your own by digging. Clear all dry barks, branches, grass, and any other plant material.

Selecting the Essential Wood

Once you have a perfect site for campfire then its time to select the essential wood. Generally, there are three main types of materials required to make your campfire burning. They are:

1. Tinder

You will need a good quality wet tinder to build your campfire. Dry bark, dry grass, dry leaves, wood shavings are the best material for tinder. These dry material will burn fast and easily. Some campers prefer to carry homemade char cloth for tinder while some give preference to dryer lint. Keep in mind that wet tinder doesn’t catch fire easily. Therefore, if the surroundings are wet, it is a smart decision to carry dry tinder while leaving the house. You can read here how to keep the fire in the rain.

2. Kindling

Tinder will catch fire easily but it will burn fast. It will give a little flame. You will need some kindling material for a smoother flame. Small twigs and little branches are the perfect examples of kindling material. It is not a good decision to move to big logs because they do catch fire quickly. They take time. You must pick kindling material having the width of a pencil. A good kindling material must be dry. Wet materials will not burn easily. If you are not able to find dry kindling then you can use the pocket knife to remove the wet layer. This will work if it was raining recently.

3. Fuel Wood

Now, you have tinder and kindling materials to quickly start your campfire. In order to make your fire longer, you will need fuelwood. Basically, it will keep your campfire burning. The best fuelwood is the dry branches that you will get easily. These will keep your campfire hot. Take branches having a diameter of your wrist. Don’t go for such big logs because they take time to catch fire. If it was raining recently then you can use axe for the huge logs. You will get inner dry parts. The water takes time to get deep inside the big woods.

Bonus Tip #1: Make sure to gather double the amount of tinder, kindling, and fuelwood than you think because tinder and kindling will be used very frequently at the beginning of campfire. Also, don’t use green or bending woods because they will make lots of smoke.

If the nationalized camping ground offers you firewood onsite then it will save you lots of time and maybe you are the lucky camper who has these facilities.

campfire experience

Four Different Lays to Make Campfire

There are mainly four working ways to lay your campfire. While following any of the below discussed, just make sure that your woods are close enough for heat concentration. Don’t forget to maintain some space between them because the fire needs oxygen to breathe and burn. Start your fire by tinder then kindling. Once the tinder has some flame, put kindling to enhance the fire. When the fire gets smoother then add fuel woods to make it run longer and get heat. You can select any of the following discussed four different lays for a campfire.

  • Lean-to Fire Lay

1. First, make a tinder bundle.

2. Then place a long piece of kindling at about 30° angle into the ground. Make sure that the end of the kindling is pointing into the wind.

3. Now, place the tinder bundle under the kindling stick to prepare a tinder nest.

4. Here, surrounding the tinder nest by putting small tinder pieces. Make sure to lay small pieces of kindling against the piece stuck in the ground.

5. Now, put larger pieces of kindling to make a layer.

6. Once done, light the tinder.

7. Hurray! You made the campfire.

  • Teepee Fire Lay

1. Start by making a tinder bundle.

2. Now, place it in the middle of your campsite.

3. Place a match under the tinder.

4. Now, place kindling stick in the form of a teepee.

5. Make sure to leave an opening side against the wind.

6. The opening will allow the fire to breathe and blowing flames in the kindling.

7. Now, place more kindling sticks.

8. Next, place fuelwood like branches of arm size to make a bigger teepee.

9. Now, lit the fire at the tinder and the campfire will start burning.

10. After a few minutes, the teepee structure will fall.

11. Simply, add more fuelwood to support the fire.

  • Platform Fire Lay

1. Collect four uniform pieces of firewood

2. Now, lay them alongside one another

3. Next, add three pieces of firewood perpendicularly on top of the base.

4. Here, add two pieces of firewood perpendicular to that layer.

5. Now, place a tinder bundle and kindling on top of the base.

6. That’s it. Light the fire. Enjoy!

  • Log Cabin Fire Lay

1. Start by making a tinder bundle.

2. Now, place it in the middle of your campsite.

3. Place a match under the tinder.

4. Now, place kindling stick in the form of a teepee.

5. Make sure to leave an opening side against the wind.

6. The opening will allow the fire to breathe and blowing flames in the kindling.

7. Now, place more kindling sticks.

8. Now, place larger pieces of fuel on opposite sides of the tepee.

9. Next, lay small pieces of fuelwood across the first set parallel on the other sides of the tepee.

10. Now, make a pyramid or cabin shape by laying smaller pieces

11. Simply, light the fire and enjoy it.

Bonus Tip #2: Make sure to put a tarp or waterproof material or clothing over the collected dry tinder, kindling, and fuelwood. If the rain starts suddenly then still you have your campfire materials safe and dry.

How to Put Out Fire?

It is a moral duty of any camper to put out the fire after they are done with a campfire. Below, we have mentioned the tips to put out your fire completely safely:

1. Start Early

Putting out the fire completely takes a long time then you think. It is a smart option to start by 20 minutes before you will leave.

2. Sprinkle Water

You will need a bucket on water. It will work as a fire extinguisher to put out the fire. Sprinkle the water according to the requirement to put out the charcoal and ember. Don’t pour all the water on the campfire site because maybe someone else will use it later. We recommend to always have a bucket full of water nearby camping site for safety purpose.

3. Stir with a Stick

Once, you have sprinkled the water over the campfire site then stir them using a stick. It will allow all the ashes to get wet. This way you will get close the completely extinguishing the fire. Make sure that no hissing sounds or any steam arise from the campfire site.

4. Touch test

If you found everything is good then you can put the back of your hand near the ashes. Don’t get your hands too close to them. If you found them hot then keeping sprinkling the water and stir them with a stick. Do it until it feels cool.

5. Throw Out the Ashes

Don’t leave the campfire site full of old ashes. It is not a good thing because you or someone else will later use that place. Simply, leave the campfire site the same as you found it before. Collect the ashes in a bag then spread them around the campfire site.

Conclusion

That’s the complete guide on how to make a perfect campfire. First, ensure that campfire is allowed at the site then start by choosing a perfect campfire site. Collect tinder, kindling, and fuelwood. Follow any of the above-discussed lays for fire. Once you are done, leave the place the same way you found it before. Don’t forget safety is first so do proceed with everything carefully. Comment below if you have any questions or doubts. We will resolve your queries. Stay tuned with us for more regular updates.

About Robert Smith

I am the founder of Smart Camping Reviews. I started travelling independently at the age of 18 and in just 7 years I have travelled across over 20 countries and all seven continents. Everything that I learn while travelling, experience, and find valuable is on the site for you. Living my best life!

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