A friend of mine was going camping for the first time. And asked me since I have been camping for many years how to make a good campfire. This is what I told him.
There are 3 basic steps how to make a good campfire.
How to make a good campfire: First find a good location for the campfire. One that will be advantages to not spreading a wild fire. Prepare the campfire pit. Even if there is no pit on site build your own. Clear out the area where the pit will be located. Build your campfire and always take the necessary safety precautions.
Building a campfire is not that hard unless you don’t know how to build a good campfire. No worries read to find out how to build a good campfire that is safe and will last a long time. And there will be a lot of tips for you too.
Easy Steps to Build a Safe Campfire
Safety first! You get to the campsite after a long days work. And by the time you set up the tent and unpacked the car. Now your excited to start a campfire. But your excitement will soon be over if you don’t use safe measures to make sure you don’t set a bigger fire than you intended. So even though we want to get started on the campfire lets talk safety first. Source
Here are some things to remember.
- Check with the campsite to see if campfires are allowed.
- Make sure you have water ready to quickly extinguish the fire if necessary. (Bucket of Water)
- Also have a Shovel close by to extinguish the fire with dirt.
- Never start a fire with a aerosol can.
- Never use gasoline or a flammable liquid to start the fire.
- Be aware what you put in the fire it could explode after getting hot. Glass, Aluminum, Aerosol.
- Don’t place treated wood in the fire as it could cause harmful toxic fumes.
- Keep the campfire big enough to manage. (It’s not a bonfire)
- Supervise the kids and watch the dog when the campfire is going.
- Never leave the campfire unattended.
- Always extinguish the fire.
Find a Good Location for the Campfire
Most campsites have campfire pits or ring. Made specifically for your campfire. You just need to gather the kindling and add the wood. But if you are off the path say your out boondocking or camping primitive then you would need to prepare the area for the campsite. Here’s some tips you for you to get the job done.
First check the local fire department to make sure it’s okay to have a campfire. And also they could tell you if the weather conditions are suitable for a fire. Also a good Weather radio or weather channels will alert you if there is a fire ban in the area.
Related Article: How to put up a tent in less than 5 minutes.
How to Prepare the Campfire Pit
You always want to side on the side of caution. For example if it hasn’t rained in a while the conditions are dry. Or if it is windy outside things could get out of control quickly. Don’t start a campfire in dry windy conditions. Better safe than sorry.
Next you want to clear an area about 10 feet around the campsite. And make sure your 25 feet from a structure that could catch on fire. In this 10ft radius clear away any debris. Such as dry leaves, branches, and sticks. Here’s a tip keep the extra sticks as you can use them for kindling.
And if there are any trees close to where you are going to be setting up the campfire. Make sure there are know low hanging branches. The main thing is we want a campfire not a forest fire.
Next your going to need as shovel to dig a hole in the center of your 10ft radius that is clear of any wood or items that could catch on fire. (Link to camping Shovel) it’s more than just a shovel!
The hole needs to be at least 12 inches deep. Then gather some rocks to place around the campfire. This is where it becomes fun. You can make the campfire as cool as you want with the rocks that you have found. Get the whole family involved.
Now that you have the coolest campfire ever. Its time to build a fire. Not just a fire, one that is going to be safe and last for hours.
Related Article: Must have Camping Gear: Large Family Tent.
How to Build Your Campfire
To get the fire started you will need to gather kindling. You never want to use green wood trying to start a fire. It will not burn. Wood has to sit and dry out to be good wood for a campfire. So start by gathering kindling. Maybe your not sure what that is. Kindling is small sticks and twigs that have fallen off the trees. It is also great material to start a campfire. And readily available in the great outdoors.
If you didn’t bring wood. Or buy it from the campground. You can gather larger pieces of wood for the fire. I like to stack the wood somewhat close to the fire. But not so that it can catch on fire. Close enough to make it easy to grab. To throw another log on the fire.
Be aware of any laws when your bringing wood into the campground. There are often laws that you can not bring wood across state lines and into different county’s due to the bug population. Keep this in mind and check with the campgrounds.
After you have gathered your kindling. You need to set it in the center of the fire pit. What I like to do is make a small loose fitting Teepee. Placing the twigs and sticks upright. It looks like a mini Teepee sitting in the center of the campfire.
Making a Long Lasting Good Campfire
Then you want to start the fire. I use camping campfire accelerators. This makes it as easy as 1 2 3 and your fire is lit. A lot of the fire starters are sticky and messy. I like an All Natural fire starter. the best campfire starter is lite a fire, and this is why. Small packages to pack for camping. Plain and simple it works to Light-A-Fire 100% of the time and is inexpensive.(Link to Amazon)
After the Kindling is set into place. Light the fire starter and place it under the Teepee. Or you can set the fire starter there first and then light it. It’s like a mini cupcake with a holder and wick. Either way you have plenty of time to set it in place.
If your not using a fire starter you can light the kindlin and then use a paper plate at the base of the kindling. Fan it to get the flame going.
Once the kindling gets going good. Take the wood and stack it also like a Teepee. Lean them on each other at the top. Add more wood as needed to keep the fire going. Don’t add to much at one time. keep the fire small and under control.
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How to Extinguish a Campfire
Campfires are so much fun and a big part of camping. But when it’s time to go to sleep or leave the campsite to go have a look around. What ever the case maybe put the fire out. And not just pour a cup of water on it. Because the coals that are 1200 degrees will still be hot and could catch back on fire. And this could lead to a problem.
The best way is to allow the wood to burn completely. Pour lots of water on the fire. You will hear hissing sound. Make sure you pour plenty of water on all the embers. Until the hissing can no longer be heard. If you don’t have water to put the fire out. You can use a shovel and dirt mix dirt into the embers. Eventually covering them. When barring the fire make sure there are no embers exposed or sticks. Cover the firepit completely. Make sure the area is cool when you are finished pouring water or dirt over the fire. It should not be too hot to touch. Source
Related Article: How to setup an RV Campsite.
How to Build a Fire Safely
- Gather twigs sticks and needles.
- Place the Kindling in the center of the fire pit upright like a little Teepee
- Start the kindling on fire with a match or lighter.
- Use a paper plate & fan the bottom of the kindling. The Additional air flow will help ignite the sticks.
- Take larger pieces of wood & stack on each other like a log cabin. (See the above image)
- Always have a bucket of water ready to extinguish the fire. Or have a shovel to cover it with dirt.
- Never Leave unattended & supervise kids and pets when they are at the fire.
Don’t forget to check out the Camping Essentials before your next camping trip!