Step 2: Gather Firewood
To create a campfire you will need to use different types and sizes of fuel (usually wood and leaves). The general idea is to ignite the small and dry items and as the flame grows it will start the larger wood on fire. We like to group the fuel into three categories: tinder, kindling and firewood. When gathering firewood, don’t gather green or wet wood as it will not burn well.
- Tinder – leaves, twigs, dry pine needle and so on.
- Kindling– smaller dry sticks, try to keep the thickness similar to that of a pencil.
- Firewood – larger sticks or the blocks of wood you’ve purchased.
Don’t transport firewood from location to location as it can spread insects and other problems from forest to forest. If you can, buy local firewood. Often times nearby stores and campground hosts sell firewood.
If you’re camping in a designated campground, sometimes it is not allowed to gather firewood on your own near the campsite. Make sure to check with the camp host on what the rules are.
For those camping in the backcountry, if permitted gather only wood that is on the ground. Don’t cut into live trees or even break down dead trees and often times the dead trees are great homes for birds. Please follow with our Leave No Trace principles while in the backcountry.
Step 3. Build the Campfire
We prefer to build a self feeding fire
which is also known as an upside down fire. We find this method superior because it tends to burn longer, you can start it without kneeling down as far, is generally easier to start, and you will not have get up and add more wood as often. To make a self feeding fire, start with three or four of your largest logs next to each other to make the bottom layer, if you are using purchased firewood, try to ensure the wedge or thin part (think the opposite side from the pizza crust where most people take their first bite) facing upward. After that, stack another layer similar to the first on top. Be sure to rotate the wood 90 degrees like you are building a log cabin.Try to use smaller logs as you build upwards. After that layer, it’s time to add the kindling and tinder on the top.
Step 4. Light the Campfire
Light your tinder while it is within the fire ring with a match, lighter or flint. If you want to make starting the fire easier, use a fire starter
or similar item (sometimes paper towels or newspaper will work fine). After the tinder starts on fire, blow on the flame to provide oxygen (fuel for fire) to help start the burning process and ignite your kindling.
Step 5. Enjoy the Campfire
Sit back and enjoy the warmth. As the fire dies down you will need to add more logs. It’s helpful to have a log nearby that you use as a fire poker and log adjuster. Adjust your camping chairs
to be upwind so that the smoke from the fire does not get in your eyes. Never leave your campfire unattended! Also, watch for embers flying out of the fire and extinguish them.
Step 6. Extinguish the Campfire
To extinguish the fire start by pouring water on it. Be careful because the hot coals will create hot steam and kick-up ash. Do not lean directly over the fire while pouring water on it. After pouring some water on it, stir the fire and then add more water. Repeat this process until the fire is out and the coals are cold.
Step 7. Clean up the Campfire
It is okay to burn trash only if it burns completely and is not toxic to burn. Burning plastic, metal and similar items is something you should not do. Once your fire is out and you see trash, collect it and dispose of it properly.