I know a lot of people have trouble with building a fire and getting it going. In this article I will be discussing the best way to build a campfire so you don’t get left in the cold out in the wilderness again.
I am constantly teaching my friends how to do this, so I thought this was all the more reason to write what I know on my website, just in case others are having trouble with this difficult-to-learn task as well.
First And Foremost
You don’t want to be THAT guy who didn’t follow basic regulations and ended up starting wildfire in a national park.
Create your fire bed first, you should always be thinking about safety during the entire process of building your campfire.
Build it away from trees, bushes, and other plant materials. It should be built on top of earth (dirt), and NOT on grass, especially dead grass.
If you can’t find a bare area, it is okay to start raking out your own area for it, or digging if you have to. You want to take as much grass, branches etc, away from your fire site as much as possible.
Different Fire Building Methods
A Tipi – One of the most common fire-building methods, and also the most effective 😛 You should already know what a Tipi is by now. If you don’t, here is some examples on Google Images.
To start a fire with this method, you should be using the smallest and driest wood possible, especially if you want to get it going easily and stress-free.
Leave a door to place your kindling inside. Now place your your fire starter (tinder) inside the door of your Tipi and light it up.
Add more wood slowly and when necessary. The secret is to get the fire going first – allowing plenty of air to hit the fire, then you can add more wood as it builds.
Log Cabin – The reason why I mentioned this way was simply because it requires little maintenance once it has began burning.
These fires are built to burn for long periods of time. The best part? You can start with building a Tipi first, and then build your log cabin around it once it has started burning.
Start with thicker logs for the base, then you should go smaller as you build it up. These work great for starting bonfires or when you’re prepping your dinner.
Best Way To Start A Campfire
Of course a fire will not start without some decent tinder. There are thousands of potential tinder materials that you can use. However, you will also need to know that tinder catches fire faster AND burns faster than any other wood types.
Remember to have everything ready before you even begin to start burning your firestarter. There’s nothing worse than burning your tinder, forgetting what to do next and end up wasting it.
Tinder (Good firestarters) – Dry bark, leaves, wood shavings, dry grass, fluffy fungi. But because not all natural tinder is always dry, you should always have a backup.
There are hundreds of firestarters you have at home too, Outdoor Life have some very (weird) firestarters, yet they work very well 🙂
Kindling – This is the piece of wood that will start burning as soon as your tinder has caught fire. Since you can’t move to big logs right away, you need something a lot smaller, yet still larger than the tinder.
Twigs and branches work well in this case, keep them small though. Get something that’s the width of a pencil, they work best.
These also need to be as dry as possible, or it will not burn (well not as easily anyway).
If you can’t find any dry pieces, you can chop some bigger logs and get to the inside of it, then just chop away at the dry bits. You can also get some by cutting off the damp areas on the twigs or sticks by using your pocket knife.
Fuel Wood – Many people think that bigger is better, however in this case, that is just not correct.
Essentially, this wood is what’s going to keep your fire roaring. These pieces tend to be larger (ones that are as wide as your arm). Anything wider than that and you’ll find it takes longer for it to catch fire.
The picture above is a good example on how wide your fuel wood should be.
A Couple Of Notes
If a piece of twig or branch breaks easy, it is dry and easily burnable. If it bends, then it is most likely too wet to burn.
Contrary to popular belief, fuel wood doesn’t have to be as dry as kindling or tinder, a little damp is okay and will still burn. It just won’t be as good.
Just like everything else in life, practice makes perfect. And the secret to knowing how to get a roaring fire going is by doing it over and over again until it becomes second nature to you.
There’s a lot more different styled campfires you can do, I just wanted to start you off with the easiest and common ones in this article. When you have mastered the ones mentioned above, you can then move on to more advanced ways.
Here’s some from Gizmodo that I think you’ll like.
Please leave a comment below if you found this article helpful 🙂