How to Build a Campfire
Aug 31, 2022
Safely and Efficiently
Whether you use it for s’mores or ghost stories, a roaring campfire is one of the biggest delights of any camping trip.
Never built a campfire before? No worries...Our step-by-step campfire directions will have you and the crew huddled around the fire in no time!
Before you get started, make sure you have the fire safety basics on hand. Preparing for accidents is the easiest way to prevent more significant disasters and ensure everyone's safety.
Have these safety essentials nearby when making and enjoying a campfire:
A Nearby Source of Water
Try to find a pre-existing fire bed whenever possible. If neither option is available, you can build your own fire pit.
Make sure it’s at least 10 feet away from anything flammable (tents, trees, etc.).
Remove twigs, grass, and any other flammable materials.
Dig a pit in the dirt, about a foot deep.
Circle the pit with large rocks or stones. Leave a bit of space between them so air can circulate and feed your campfire.
Chances are you’ll find a nearby store that sells firewood, but if you have to gather wood on your own, only forage for fallen wood.
Tinder: small sticks, twigs, bits of dry grass
Kindling: small pieces of wood, smaller than 1 inch in diameter
Fuel: larger pieces of firewood
Fire: a lighter and/or waterproof matches (always pack multiples, in case one fails you)
Building Your Campfire
The easiest campfire to build is also the best for cooking: a teepee fire.
Place your tinder on the ground, in the center of your fire pit.
Get one long piece of kindling and plant one end into the ground.
Add more kindling to form a teepee over the kindling, leaving access to the tinder below.
Start the fire by lighting the tinder.
As the structure burns, add more kindling and firewood. Once it collapses, you can add larger logs.
Take The Easy Way Out
If all this seems like a lot to remember, there's no shame in taking the easy way out!
Invest in these no-brainer campfire systems to make starting, containing and extinguishing your next campfire a swift and repeatable experience:
Putting Out Your Fire
Just as important as starting a fire is putting one out. Ideally, you’ll follow Leave No Trace by letting the fire burn down to where it’s mostly ash and smaller pieces of wood. After they’ve cooled off, scatter them around the campsite to return it to its previous state.
If you absolutely have to leave before the fire burns out, pour water over it to extinguish the flames. Use a large stick to turn over any firewood to make sure you’ve taken care of it completely. Keep pouring water until it stops sizzling on contact with the wood.