So, building a campfire? Let’s just gather some wood and put it on fire. Sounds easy, right? Wrong! Building a campfire is not as simple as gathering a few logs of wood, bunching them together, and igniting firewood underneath it. There’s a lot of planning and even more effort needed to make a fire. If you go on a camping trip without any knowledge as to how to properly build a campfire, you’d then spend much lurking around a dark lot, cluelessly staring at your friend’s face while your friend stares at you. We suppose you wouldn’t want that to happen. Presenting the ultimate guide to building a campfire perfectly!
- What You Need for Campfire
- How to Build a Campfire (The Perfect Way!)
- 7 Campfire Safety Rules
- Frequently Asked Questions about Campfire
What You Need for Campfire
Making a perfect campfire would require certain things. Don’t worry. You won’t need to spend money on some fancy stuff. You could get virtually all these things from your backyard. And to find some, you might need to do a little probing and searching.
A fire ring:
To build a fire, you would need to find a fire ring. In most camping regions, you would find a built fire ring. However, if there is no fire ring around, you could dig a fire pit. Digging a pit is simple, though; you might need to take permission from the local authority before you start digging. In some places, it is a felony to start a fire, even a harmless one, without informing the authorities.
A fire requires various kinds of fuels to begin its ignition and for it to maintain its form. The three essential fuels you would need are;
Sticks and twigs are important fuels to keep the fire going, while firewood, well, there won’t be a fire without the firewood. If need be, you could also buy quality firewood from stores. Such firewood is equipped with all the fueling features. You won’t need to put special efforts into allowing the wood to catch fire. In addition, you would need to gather dry leaves and forest residue, which comes under the tinder. This would ensure the continuance of the fire.
A large bucket of water: Well, obviously, you won’t need THIS to start the fire, but you would require it to extinguish it. It’s a mere safety measure; in case the fire goes out of control, you could extinguish it by dumping a bucket of water. You could also use the water when you’re done singing, dancing, and sharing anecdotes around the fire. Leaving the fire unattended could prove to be hazardous; consider this a warning. We will expound on the extinguishing procedure later in the article.
How to Build a Campfire (The Perfect Way!)
Find a perfect spot for a campfire:
As we’ve already discussed, you would need to find a designated fire ring before you incept the fire. However, there are also certain other considerations. For example, ensure that there is not anything inflammable within the range of the ring. Do not, and we repeat DO NOT, start a fire in the middle of the forest. Even the slightest of accidents could spiral out of control and turn into something sinister.
Ensure that the ground where you are igniting the fire is flat with no bumps. This point is especially important if you’re starting the fire on a hill. You don’t want the rubble to roll down the slope. Lastly, find a place that is sheltered from winds, if possible. While a little wind can inflame the fire further, too much wind is vastly dangerous. So, remember the open place, balanced ground, and sheltered ground.
Build a fire:
Now that we’ve selected the perfect place for the fire and that we’ve gathered the firewood, it’s time to build a campfire! You can build various kinds of fire.
Cone or Teepee Fire:
Cone or Teepee fire is the most common of all fire types. You must have seen people dancing around some bunched-up wooden logs that take the shape of a large cone. Indeed, cone fire is perfect for singing, dance, and share stories around. But how to build this exquisite campfire?
- Lay down a bunch of tinder, dry leaves, small sticks, and twigs. This will provide your fire with a solid base. As long as your base looks good, the rest of the fire should be fine as well.
- Use tiny pieces of sticks and twigs to begin forming the cone inside the fire ring. Ignite the fire and keep adding the twigs to grow the fire. While this kind of fire is easy to maintain and extinguish, it could also exhaust quickly. Unless you have someone who is willing to keep adding the fuel, chuck building this fire. However, if your group agrees, you could take rounds at furnishing the fire with adequate fuel to keep the fire going. You could also use this kind of fire for cooking meals or boiling water, or even grill meat if you have the griller.
Log Cabin is the best kind of fire for a camping party or something. If you want your fire to continue for hours and hours, you could consider constructing a log cabin. This fire is long-lasting and quite easy to maintain. However, the construction would demand some effort, as you want the cabin to be perfect and not crooked.
- Make a base by placing two logs at the bottom, parallel to each. Keep some space in the middle. This is where your fire will be ignited.
- Place the next couple of logs on top of the bottom logs but perpendicular to them. Once you’re done, it should have a perfect square shape.
- Keep stacking the logs two at a time in an alternative pattern until you have bunched up substantial pieces of wood.
- Fill the middle space by adding small pieces of wood. This is where you will be igniting the fire. Once the fire is lit, you can constantly air it to maintain it. The best part is, you dint constantly have to feed the fire with twigs, sticks, and leaves to keep it going, unlike cone fire. Therefore, if you’re planning to throw a camping party, collect perfects logs of woods to build the perfect campfire!
People often wish to cook foodstuffs over a fire. However, you cannot cook over any kind of campfire. For example, a log cabin is not the ideal kind of fire to cook over. You might end up with burnt food. Introducing; Criss-Cross fire. As the name suggests, you need to crisscross the wooden logs to build a structure. To make this structure, place 3 or 4 wooden logs parallel to each other with no space in between. Next, place another 3 or 4 logs on top of the base, but perpendicular to it, with no spaces in between. Continue placing 3 or 4 logs until there are 4 levels of logs, crisscross. Voila! You’re all done. Ignite the firewood and begin camping or cooking over the fiery flames.
To create the pyramid fire, you might need to purchase or find wooden logs of varying lengths and sizes. As pyramids go, there will be a strong base at the bottom, and each subsequent level of the fire will be shorter than the last, forming a perfect pyramid that is unlikely to fall over under the heat of the moment, literally. To make this beautiful structure, you need to make a solid base. Collect varying lengths of firewood and place them on top of the base, one length after another in decreasing lengths, in a crisscross manner. Once you’re done, you could begin the fire by lighting the top-most layer first, rather than the traditional bottom lighting. The fire will then make its way to the bottom. If you don’t want to invest efforts in lighting the fire, a pyramid campfire is perfect for you.
Keyhole fire has to be one of the most versatile fires out there. While on the previously mentioned fires, you could only keep yourself warm or cook on it, this particular type fulfills both of these needs, and quite conveniently. As the name suggests, this fire is in the shape of a key. You have two ends to the fire; one around which your party will gather (round-shaped) and keep themselves warm, and the other where all the cooking will take place (rectangle-shaped).
Constructing this fire might be a little tricky, but trust us when we say it’s worth all the time you invest in it. To make this fire, collect large stones to mark the territory of the campfire. Place the stones in the shape of a key, with plenty of space in the middle to build a fire. Inside the round shape, build any type of fire we discussed above.
Let’s say you chose log fire due to its immense popularity. Now, create another small structure at the other end; this is where all your cooking will take place. Use the coals that you burnt in the log fire for cooking your meals on the other fire. This collaboration of these two fires will ensure that you have an excellent time with your friends. You can sing your favorite tunes on one end and raw grill chicken with some spices on the other end. Make sure to extinguish the fire before you are done for the day.
You could read the fire safety rules of the region and abide by those. This will prevent any fire hazard from happening.
Extinguish the fire:
You simply cannot leave the fire running if you’re done with your party. Leaving the fire unattended while it burns through the night violates the safety rules of various regions. Plus, even if the rule does not have legal backing, leaving a fire unsupervised could anyway be catastrophic. Thus, we suggest that before you call it a day, extinguish the fire in the prescribed manner, lest any accidents take place that we all would regret. So, how can you extinguish a roaring fire, or even a feeble one, quickly and effectively?
- Extinguishing a fireis not as easy as picking up a bucketful of water and dumping it on the fire. Nope. Prepare to invest a full 30 minutes in putting out a roaring fire. Even more, if you’re dimwit enough to not follow the instructions properly. In this spirit, we advise you to start extinguishing the fire well 30 minutes before you plan to leave the place.
- You could either put out the fire by pouring a bucketful of water on it or by restricting the oxygen supply to the fire. But since most people choose to reduce the complications and use water, we’ll expound on that. To extinguish the fire using water, ensure that the wood has been burnt thoroughly and turned into ash. This will make dousing the fire simple. Pour ample water on the fire at once and watch the fire extinguish. If you still see the flames in certain places, pour some more water until there are no flames in sight. Use a stick to stir the remnants of the fire and see if you could notice any alive flames.
- You could pour another bucket of water just to be sure you don’t leave anything unchecked. Once you’re done, linger at the scene of the fire for a while and supervise it. If there are no signs of coal or wood-burning for 10-15 minutes, you can leave the site.
Extinguishing a fire can be a piece of work. Naturally, when you are bellyful of good food and beer, you’d rather go home and take a 12-hour long sleep, not do more work. However, by dousing the fire, you would be doing the work of a responsible citizen. After all, you’re using public space.
It is your duty to abide by the rules of the region and not leave a fire unattended, no matter how feeble you “think” it is. Apart from this, there are also certain fire safety rules that you need to keep in mind while you relish a campfire evening in the middle of somewhere. In the following section, we will discuss some key safety rules.
7 Campfire Safety Rules
1. Use a fire ring or a pit:
While fire rings are the most recommended place for the campfire, you won’t find a designated fire ring everywhere. Especially if you’re planning a trip where not many people campfire, your efforts might double. Thus, you could alternatively look for a pit. If there are no pits nearby, you could dig a pit yourself and have your problem solved!
2. Familiarize yourself with the local fire rules:
Each city, county or a region for that matter have their own fire rules. There are rules on when you can start the fire, what you can use to fuel the fire and how to douse the fire. You will be wise to follow all the local rules and have an environment-friendly campfire. If a certain location forbids a campfire, choose a place somewhere else and not override the local authority. In some places, an uninformed campfire is a felony. Avoid camping in the middle of a dense forest.
3. Use the local firewood:
If you are camping somewhere that is miles away from your present location, then it is advised that you purchase firewood from the campfire location. By doing so, you could decrease the likelihood of transporting insects and pests to the forest you’re traveling to. This is why people would recommend buying local wood and not transport it.
4. Avoid windy places:
The wind is a strong force that could inflame a fire further. So much so, a sudden gust of wind could turn your campfire into a wildfire. This could well easily spread through the forest, and well, you know the rest. Hence, try to find an environment that you could control as much as possible. Preferably a region that is not subject to winds. Moreover, keep anything inflammable, including alcohol or other alcohol-based liquids, miles away from the fire.
5. Keep a bucketful of water nearby:
Though we’ve already mentioned it plenty of times, there’s no harm in repeating a word of caution. Always keep a bucketful of water nearby before you begin the campfire. This bucket will come in handy if you want to douse the fire for safety reasons. For instance, if accidentally one of your garments or any similar object catches fire, you could control the situation using water before things spiral out of hand. Thus, keep one or two buckets somewhere near you.
6. Never leave the fire unattended:
Remember the warning even our grandfathers gave us? We’re going to repeat the same. Never leave a fire unattended. You wouldn’t do that at your home, would you now? That’s exactly what’s expected of you when you campfire outside. Once you’re done with your party and wish to leave, douse the fire before you leave the place. Else, you could ask someone to watch over the fire while you’re gone.
7. Check twice, check thrice that the fire is all out once you’re done:
You can never be too careful with campfires. Once you decide to call it a day and begin dousing the fire, ensure that the fire is extinguished entirely. Stir the debris, turn it upside down and see if there is even a bit of flame alive. Douse it as quickly as you notice. Linger for a while and take your leave once you’re 100% certain that the fire is out!
Frequently Asked Questions about Campfire
1. When is it okay to build a campfire?
When it comes to weather conditions, if it’s not windy or rainy, you’re good. Windy conditions can make the situation worse. Wind increases the supply of oxygen to the fire. This phenomenon gives the fire enough prowess to grow. This is why people often use a hand fan to provide oxygen to the fire. However, you won’t be able to control the windy weather.
Thus, if the region is windy, your little campfire could grow into a wildfire. So, avoid building a bonfire in windy weather conditions. Similarly, don’t campfire in rainy or rain-like conditions either. Why? Well, that’s pretty self-explanatory.
2. If there is no designated fire ring, where can we campfire?
A designated fire ring or pit is the ideal spot for a campfire. However, chances are, where you want to camp, there are no fire rings. What can you do then? The one thing that you can do is, dig a pit yourself. However, you need to dig in such a way that you leave no trace of any digging behind. This means once you’re finished with the fire, fill the hole back with soil. Ensure that the site looks as good as new after the campfire.
3. How big of fire is acceptable?
If you are a small group of friends or family, there’s no reason for you to have a big fire. A big fire would consume loads of firewood, and it could also be hazardous in the wilderness. If there are dense forests nearby, it’s all the more reason to avoid building a big fire. Thus, you could consider building a house-sized campfire. This means, build a fire of a size that you could also build in your backyard. You could know about the local fire rules to get more insight about the size of the fire that is acceptable.
A campfire can be fun, but only when you know how to build one. Furthermore, there are plenty of things to know about campfire apart from the campfire itself. As long as you are familiar with the ins and outs of an ideal campfire, building one and maintaining one should be a piece of cake. This article included everything you need to know about a campfire. We covered;
- Things you need to build a fire
- How to build a campfire; types of fire;
- Campfire safety rules
- Frequently asked questions about the campfire.