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How to Build a Campfire

 

Before you leave your home, please check with the local forest ranger for any fire bans or restrictions. It may not help you to know how to build a campfire if there is a fire ban 🙂

Before ever deciding on a fire location or starting a fire, think about safety first. Be sure to select a site away from trees, bushes, and your tent! Your fire pit, hopefully one that already exists, should be on bare ground. If there is grass or dead pine needles, clear all dry materials away at least 3 to 4 feet fro the outside of the fire pit.

Three types of materials are required to get your campfire going. You should collect three times as much of each material type as you think you will need. Yes seriously, three times as much as you think you need is usually about the amount you actually need. And if you happen to have extra, use it to start your next fire. The types of materials you will want to stage in three piles a safe distance from the fire are:

  • Tinder – This is the small, highly flammable stuff; collect material like dry leaves and dry grass.
  • Kindling – Tinder burns to fast to catch logs on fire; small twigs and branches found on the ground will work.
  • Fuel wood – The firewood that will keep you warm.

There are three common methods of stacking wood in making a campfire. Each type of campfire will be similar in that there needs to be air space between the tinder, the kindling, and fuel wood.

Teepee Fire

Lay tinder bundle in the middle of the campfire pit. Above your tinder bundle, form a teepee with some kindling. As the fire intensifies, add larger and larger sticks to the teepee.

Lean-to Fire

Place a firewood sized piece of wood in the fire pit. Lay tinder in front of it and place kindling above the tinder. The kindling will lay at a 45 degree angle from the firewood to the ground. As the fire intensifies, add larger and larger sticks to the lean-to.

Log Cabin Fire

Lay tinder bundle in the middle of the fire pit. Build a log cabin out of kindling. As the fire intensifies, add larger and larger sticks to the log cabin.

 

Notes

Knowing how to build a camp fire, especially trying the different styles, can be a lot of fun to show the kids! And if you are looking for other camping tips, Outdoors Geek has a bunch on our Geek Advice page.