Campfires are fun with the right set of people. It is the heart of campsites, and everyone loves a warm campfire after a whole day out. Some people love it for its warmth, and some enjoy the vibe of the music. Some people come for food, and some are just there to sleep. Short campfires are a great activity to bring people together and closer.
However, making a campfire is not an easy task. It’s just like any other art. It takes time, practice, patience, and logs, of course (haha). It is essential to have the proper knowledge to build the best campfire.
Materials Needed to Build a Campfire
Always read the rules of the place before putting your materials, as some sites have strict policies regarding cutting trees, kindling, etc. Before you leave for the camping trip, make sure you have the following supplies or you have access to the following supplies:
- Tinder- tinder is the essential material to light a campfire. Some common types of tinder include wadded paper, candle wax, dry leaves or grass, dryer lint, commercial fire starters, pine needles, wood chips or shavings, etc. Always have a stock of tinder if you’re going for the campfire.
- Kindling the fire- kindling is pretty essential too. It is more significant than tinder but smaller than firewood. You can use small twigs and branches for kindling, and make sure your kindling is thin.
- Firewood- A fire needs fuel, and dryness is the most crucial component of good firewood. The best firewood for campfires is dry; it will start readily and keep a good flame. When gathering or buying firewood, most campers don’t have a preference; instead, they use what is nearby. Some common types of firewood are Oak, Beech, Maple, birch, Ash, and black cherry. Read the campsite’s details before packing the firewood, as most camps have stores selling campfire materials.
- Spark or flame source- once you have all other materials, pack your fire’s origin. You can pack matchsticks or lighters.
How to Build a Campfire?
After the First step of collecting the materials, all you need to know is how to build a perfect campfire. Ensure you have the right location and skill set to light the fire. Here are the steps you need to follow while making the campfire:
- Choose a safe spot- first and foremost step to a successful campfire is finding a safe place. Usually, all the campsites have fire rings and fire holes to ignite the fire in. To be on the safer side, check before lighting the fire if the location is correct and if there is nothing that ignites easily. in the areas where it is allowed to light the fire, be extra careful in such sites as they are not explicitly built for campfires. Make sure to use fire rings in non-campsites.
- Create a tinder bed- after finding your safe spot, lay down a good level of fuel in the fire ring. Please make sure you use a good amount of tinder, as it’s the base for the fire.
- Add the kindling – now add kindling above your tinder bed; make sure to add kindling in the same direction you want your fire. Kindling is an essential step for a successful campfire. Put the kindling in the shape of the type of fire you’re lighting.
- Build your fire- once you’re done setting the suitable base for your campfire, you need to build the frame and light the fire with the right source and amount of fire. Types of firewood and materials can vary depending on your burning fire. Platform, lean-To fires, pyramid fires, etc., requires more firewood and a better lighting source.
Different Types of Campfires
Well, you’ll say a fire is a fire. But no, all the fires are somehow different from each other. Some fires are lit up to cook food, and some are lit up to manage the temperature. Some fires are lit up to burn something. It means that there are various styles and types of fire. The fire created differently will have different outputs and different heat effects. You may also try and experiment with your types of campfires; ensure that you and your loved ones are safe.
Five Common Types of Campfires Are:
- Tepee or cone fire- tepee fire is the most common style of lighting a fire, and it gets its name from its shape. The base of a tepee fire is circular with a sizable diameter, allowing plenty of oxygen to enter. Lay down a sizable bundle of fuel to start the tepee fire. Next, create a tepee shape above the embers using small pieces of kindling. Continue to build the tepee construction with more giant sticks as the fire gets bigger.
One advantage of a tepee fire is how simple it is to maintain. Just lean more sticks against the frame to fuel the fire as it burns. A tepee fire is typically used to warm up quickly or for simple cooking operations like boiling water because it consumes wood quickly. Wait until the cone collapses and the wood burns through before using a tepee fire to cook food. Put a small pan or saucepan on the coals and keep the fire burning by adding small sticks or twigs.
- Log Cabins fire- if you want something that stays for a considerable amount of time, you can go for log cabin management. Place two pieces of wood parallel on the bottom, then stack two perpendicular pieces on top, as if you were building a hut. Then, place tinder and kindling in the center square and light it. Repeat the process until your fire reaches the desired height.
For the bottom, use your thicker wood pieces; for the top, add your thinner, lighter pieces. You can also try making the form taper as it becomes taller, giving it a design more akin to a pyramid than a cabin. The logs collapse into one another as they burn, always adding fresh fuel to the logs; this makes a log cabin fire a better option for evenings when you want to spend a few hours in front of a crackling blaze because it burns more slowly than a tepee.
- Upside-down Pyramid- The platform fire was intended to cook meals, much like the log cabin style. The fundamental distinction between the two types of fire is that a platform fire has more closely spaced logs, and you start the fire from the top rather than the bottom.
Because fire is started at the top of the wood, the logs burn down rather than up. You may lay pots or pans directly on the coals, and the fire will maintain itself while it burns, creating a stable, flat platform of hot coals that is ideal for cooking. Start by placing three or more pieces of firewood on the ground to build a platform campfire. Put three or more on top in line with the previous layer. Put kindling and tinder on top of the platform once the fire has at least three levels of wood, then continue adding wood.
- Star fire- The star fire can be the ideal remedy if your wood supply is short. For a durable and practical fire, it uses whole, unsplit logs and burns them slowly at the ends.
Collect four or five logs of any length to start. Drag the logs around a small fire you’ve built for a tepee; one end should face the fire, and the other should point away from it like a star’s points or a wheel’s spokes. The ends of the logs will catch fire from the central tepee fire. Move the logs toward the center of the fire as they burn to replace the ones already consumed.
- Lean-To fire-If you’ve ever tried to start or maintain a fire in solid winds while camping, you know how frustrating it can be. It can feel like an uphill battle to keep the fire going long enough to cook food and stay warm.
Make a lean-to fire the next time you are outside in strong winds. A lean-to shields your flames from annoying winds by acting as a windbreak from its wood. Lay your tinder against a sturdy wood on the ground, away from the wind, for the simplest type of lean-to fire. When you light the tinder, lean your kindling against the log so that it covers it. The kindling will catch fire and start slowly burning the log. Build up the fire with larger sticks as it becomes bigger; add another full-sized log when it is big enough.
Now you know the types of fires you can build in your following campsite location. Before lighting any fire, be aware of the different types and their techniques. And once you build a successful campfire, congratulate yourself on creating a beautiful campfire and enjoy the vibes of the campfire. Make sure you pack all the materials before leaving for your next vacation. All the best for your next campfire, and don’t forget to keep all the necessary materials.