How To Build A Campfire
If there’s one thing that comes in handy when doing fun stuff in the outdoors, it is building a camp fire. It brings people together, it can help you cook tasty meals, and there’s something captivating about watching the fire burn and flicker, especially in the night.
It is a skill that been indispensable for survival for thousands of years. Technology has made it much easier to build a fire, but it is still not quite simple. Luckily, we are here to clear things up for you. In this article, you will learn how to build a campfire with items that can be reasonably obtained.
Finding a Spot
The first thing you need to know is where you are allowed to build a fire. You might come across a spot that could make for an ideal place for everyone to sit around, but it might not be in accordance with the campground’s regulation. It might seem that there’s no designated area but double check. You do not want to be in violation of the campground’s rules.
There might be times of the year when it is not permitted to build fires for reasons like dry heat, or the ecosystem is not able to sustain the loss of wood. Even if you see a setup for a fire, call someone in the campgrounds department and ask.
When everything seems to be a go with camping rules and regulation, still do a little bit of your own evaluation. If there’s too many bushes around or trees with branches that are hanging too low, then make a small enough fire, or consider building it somewhere else. Those branches can catch fire easier than you think and the smallest burning ember can make its way to the worst possible area and start a wildfire.
Setting Up the Pit
Things that are set up for building fires like fire grills, fire rings, or fireplaces (think pizza brick ovens) are usually permitted. If they are not claimed then go for it.
Make sure there are no flammable materials in or around your fire pit. There should be nothing but the sand or some type of gravel like substance. We are not trying to light anything yet. You want to make sure that the flames will be contained and the area is established.
Now for the Wood
To get a nice, hearty fire going, you will need three types of fuel for burning; which are tinder, kindling, and firewood.
Tinder is basically stuff that you can burn easily like sticks, dead leaves that have no moisture, and dead grass that is basically like hay. You do not want to get a big log. Otherwise, you will have a tough time getting it to burn. Luckily, these are things that can be easily found and doesn’t involve a lot of heavy work.
Then you will need kindling, which are sticks that won’t burn up as fast as tinder but will help keep the fire burning. They are in between twigs and logs as far as size goes.
Firewood is usually the big logs that will keep the fire going. These can either be bought or you can forage them yourself. Remember to check the campground regulations when it comes to logs. Just because you are not axing any trees, doesn’t mean you are in the clear. Some campgrounds are more careful with mother nature than others. For example, some places do not let you bring wood that’s further than 50 miles because it could attract the wrong kind of insects.
Look for logs that are no thicker than a soda can.
You have all the things you need to put together a campfire. There are three popular ways to build them. There’s the tepee, log cabin, and pyramid. There’s no wrong way, and it all seems to be about preferences. Keep another pile of tinder and kindling in case you need to feed the fire.
Form all your tinder material into a mound or bundle in your campfire spot. With your kindling material, use 5 or 6 pieces to make a teepee while leaving a hole at the top. Then you form another teepee layer with logs. Again, make sure that there’s some kind of opening at the top and another on the side, preferably where the wind is blowing.
You make a pile that is made up mostly of kindle and a small percentage of tinder in the center of the fire pit. This style of campfire uses a lot of kindling, so be sure to make a big pile that the fire burns efficiently. Then, you place two pieces of firewood on opposite sides of the kindling/tinder pile. With two logs, you are going to stack them on top of the first set of firewood on the side of the pile. Then you will do the same thing again on the other side of the pile. It should be a square at this point. Repeat this process a couple more times while leaving an opening for the pile in the center.
Start by stacking the logs in in a pyramid-like shape. They need to range in large to small, so lay 5 of them together in a parallel fashion. Then, you are going to lay the next stack of logs on top but perpendicularly. The next layer after that should be stacked the same way as the one that you laid first. As you repeat this process, you will be switching the direction in which the logs are stacked as you form the pyramid. After you form the shape, be sure to leave some space at the top, that is where you will put the tinder. Top off the tinder with a layer with some kindling.
Lighting the Campfire
Regardless of the how you build a campfire, you should be able to light the tinder with no trouble. A match or a lighter should do just fine. As long you start with something that will catch fire easily, you will make progress.
Adding more fire is not the only way to get a campfire burning. You should also give the tinder base a light blow to give the fire more oxygen. Whatever you see that has been partially burned, push it towards the center. This should be done intravenously throughout the burning of your campfire. Make sure someone is always minding the campfire, it is never a good idea to have no one watching it.
When it comes time to extinguish the fire, it is ideal to get a bucket full of water to pour on and to stir it. Then throw some more water on it. Repeat this process until the ashes are cold to the touch and that there are no lit embers. The less of a trace you leave, the better.