How to Build the Perfect Campfire

Campfires facilitate the delicious roasting, toasting and “smore-ing” good times of camping. Depending on where you go, most campsites have designated areas already set up to use. Of course, bringing a custom portable fire pit is a great option if your camp site doesn’t have one. If you’re roughing it, however, this article will explain how to build a perfect campfire quick and easy.

Safety First

Before we start building, let’s touch base on campfire safety so we don’t burn the forest down.

  • Check Your Area — Make sure that fires are authorized in the area. Clean around the space you plan to build on and make sure that it is 15-20 feet away from any tents or other flammable items. Also, look up, making sure there are no hazards above.
  • Keep Water Nearby — Wet the area around the fire and keep a full bucket or cooler close. You can also keep some dirt piled around to throw on areas in case it creeps.
  • Extinguish the Flame — Always be sure to put the fire out if you leave or before you go to sleep. Grab some of that water and dirt to help with this.

The Build

A couple designs that can keep a fire burning strong are the teepee stack and the log cabin style stack. These designs create space below and around the fire to allow air to push through so your fire doesn’t smother itself. Nonetheless, the teepee is the basic design commonly used and you’ll need some things to help get it sparked.

  1. Tinder/Kindling — This can be old newspaper, cardboard, small twigs, branches, leaves, or any other smaller items that can catch fire easily. They are placed at the base of the fire to assist in lighting and keeping it lit.
  2. Cut Dry Wood
  3. Matches/Lighter

Take your tinder and make a small pile in the designated area. Follow this by stacking some larger kindling in a small cone shape over the tinder. From here, you can start to create an outer layer of the cut dry wood. This design allows air to flow freely as we discussed earlier and creates layers of heat at the same time, burning faster in the center and allowing all the wood to ignite evenly. Sometimes to assist the flame in reaching higher, you can use some cardboard to fan the bottom.

Now You’re Cookin’

Now that you have your fire working, be sure to continue to slowly add wood based on how long you think you will be enjoying it. Break out the goodies, crack open a beer, relax, and never leave it unattended.