The Best Campfire Building Techniques

Fire is one of the basic things that you will need when you will be camping. Do you know any campfire building techniques? You will need a campfire to cook your meals, to generate warmth and for some lighting. It will also scare away wild animals from your campsite to guarantee your safety.

As a camper, you will, therefore, have to build a campfire and this article highlights several campfire techniques that you should know. While technology has an impact on how we camp at night, building fire still remains the same.

Of course, you may not be rubbing stones against each other to create sparks as there are lighters and matchsticks for that purpose, but the other aspects of building a campfire still remain the same.

Learning how to build it will make your camping seamless. Go ahead and see the basics of doing so.

Campfire safety rules

campfire burning

Before we take a look at the techniques that you should know when you are out there camping, you should, first of all, understand some basic campsite fire safety guidelines.

Starting a campfire will help you accomplish a lot of things but if you are not careful you may start a raging fire at the park or in the woods.

Consider campsite fire rules

Campsites usually have designated areas for starting a campfire and you should stick to these areas when lighting it up. If you are camping in a general area without the rules, there are a few guidelines that you should follow to ensure your safety and others.

The basics

First of all, the site where you plan on setting the campfire should be away from bushes, trees, and other vegetation. You should set it on the bare ground that is free of grass and especially dry grass.

If you cannot find a bare spot to set it up, you can create your own by clearing the vegetation in a certain area. You will then have to make the fire bed. You can do this gathering dirt in one area to form a platform that is about 3 inches thick.

How to build the campfire?

Here are a few things that you will need to build it and methods to do it.

Gather your wood

To build your fire, you will need 3 types of material: tinder, kindling and the fuelwood.

1. Tinder

Tinder catches fire easily and you will need it to start your fire seamlessly. It basically includes dry grass, wood shavings and other materials that burn fast. Make sure that the tinder is dry since wet one won’t work.

Find out how you can make your own fire starters with dryer lint.

2. Kindling

Kindling is heavier and thicker than tinder and it is used to keep the fire going before you add the big fuel logs. It consists of small twigs and tiny branches that are about the width of a standard pencil.

The kindling should also be dry or your fire will not catch up easily. The twigs should snap when bent but if you find out that they bend without breaking, then they are still too wet to be used.

3. Fuelwood

This is the wood material that will keep your fire burning. Fuelwood doesn’t have to be big for it to make a great fire. Branches with the diameter of your wrist will work just fine. Fuelwood, unlike kindling and tinder, can be a little bit damp as the heat will dry them out but this is still not ideal.

Wet wood creates a lot of smoke and that is why you should avoid it at all times. Meanwhile, if you don’t have dry wood available you can still set up a fire using wet wood.


3 Methods of Laying the fire

There are different methods to lay your fire. I will discuss the 3 common types.

1. The Teepee fire lay

Here is the procedure for setting up your fire this way.

  • Place the tinder at the center of your site.
  • Form a teepee with the kindling above the tinder bundle. Make sure to leave an opening on one of the sides for lighting the tinder and to allow the air to flow freely.
  • Add more kindling to make it easy for the fire to develop.
  • Create a large teepee frame by adding fuel logs to your kindling teepee.
  • Light the tinder at the bottom of the teepee structure to start your campfire. This design directs flames up the structure and the fuel logs will eventually catch fire.

Here is a video that explains how to set up a fire with the teepee fire lay technique.

2. Lean-to fire lay

The method works this way;

  • Stick some kindling into the ground at an angle with the ends in the direction of the wind.
  • Place some tinder underneath the kindling.
  • Add more pieces of kindling around the tinder nest.
  • Light the tinder and let it burn.
  • Add fuelwood progressively.

If it starts to rain you will find the article about keeping the fire burning in the rain useful.

3. Log cabin lay

This is another common method for laying a fire and you can accomplish it in the following steps.

  • Create a teepee lay as explained in method 1 above.
  • Get larger pieces of fuelwood and place them on the sides of the teepee.
  • Find smaller fuelwood and lay them on the initial set of fuelwood at a right angle.
  • Continue adding shorter and small pieces of fuelwood to the structure to form a pyramid.
  • Light the tinder to start the fire.

Which method to choose?

One of the skills that you ought to learn as a camper is how to light a fire. This article highlights some of the campfire building techniques that you should know. You can try all three of them and use your favorite at the camping trips in the future.

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