How to Build A Campfire

A survivalist well worth their money should know how to make a campfire from scratch. It is a fundamental skill that every prepper must possess. This article will walk you through everything you need to know about building campfires.

RELATED: Campfire Infographic | How to build the perfect campfire

Building a campfire is as easy as 1-2-3

Prepare everything

First, find out if a permit is required in your area before making a campfire. Inquire about this with the responsible person in charge of the area. You can speak to a U.S. forest representative if you are camping on the state-owned property or an operator if it is commercial.

Once the requirements are established, it is time to review factors such as the weather and the condition of the area. Moisture and wind are just some of the things to consider. This will allow you to prepare suitable fire-building material and ensure the safety of the camp.

Preparation of the campfire siteYoung couple build bonfire near creek bonfire

Commercial campsites are great for those who want to know how to make a campfire. Most of the time there are pre-existing rings of fire or pits left by campers who were there first. However, if you are camping in non-commercial areas, you will need to light your campfire from scratch.

The first thing you need to know is how to light your campfire on relatively level ground. Second, it is standard practice for you to set up your fire at least 20 feet from your tent or flammable structure. However, your location must be protected from sudden gusts of wind. This serves to protect against flying sparks and embers, which can cause a fire.

Step-by-step instructions on how to light a campfire

Step 1: building the fire pit FireStone bonfire Pit bonfire

Make sure that the entire perimeter of the campfire pit is free of flammable materials. Shrubs and grasses make excellent fire fodder. Free from the heavy foliage.

Once you’ve eliminated the potential fire hazards, it’s time to start digging the pit. Dig a three-foot-wide, one-foot-deep pit, then surround the perimeter with stones. A shovel and bucket of water should also be within easy reach.

Step 2: gathering the firewoodCollecting firewood for bonfire bonfires

No campfire without wood. Collecting firewood is an art. You should learn to tell a good one from a bad one. A simple and effective way to do this is to use the snap test.

This test is done by breaking a stick in half. If the stick makes a nice cracking sound, you know it’s good firewood. As simple as that.

Step 3: prepare the tinder and kindlingSmiling woman is leaning on her boyfriend, who is lighting the campfire on her tented campfire

Simply put, kindling is used to set fire to larger pieces of wood. Tinder, on the other hand, is a small flammable material that helps make kindling burn faster. Small drying sticks are good lighting materials, while dried leaves, bark, and moss can be used as tinder.

It is good practice that you collect a sufficient amount of tinder for long-term use. This ensures that you have enough dry tinder to make a fire, especially in adverse weather conditions.

Step 4: arranging the firewoodMan arranges firewood for bonfire by the lake camping bonfire

Making firewood combustible isn’t rocket science, but not everyone knows how to do it right. Fire is basically a combination of heat, fuel and oxygen. The rule is that the fire should be able to breathe.

Avoid stacking the wood in tight bundles. Instead, make sure there are gaps in between. This will ensure that air flows through it and provides enough oxygen to start a good fire.

RELATED: How to Build a Fire Properly: A Step-by-Step Guide with Safety Tips

Step 5: starting the fireLight a campfire with a fire extinguisher during Wilderness Camping campfires

This step is a breeze if you have a lighter or match with you all the time. In the absence of these fancy tools, a Firestarter is a good alternative. You just hit the flint to create a spark and you’re good to go.

Worst of all, if all of this isn’t available, you’ll have to do it the old school … well, the prehistoric way, actually. There are plenty of YouTube videos out there that teach you how to build a campfire from scratch. But the main idea is to create heat and friction.

Step 6: maintaining the fireCampfire-with-sparks-fly-around-campfire

Making a fire is one thing, keeping it burning is another. The worst that can happen is that your fire will burn down without enough wood to rekindle it. The trick here is to keep your fire small.

Keeping your fire small will make it easier for you to control the burning process. This extends the supply of firewood. Check your fire from time to time and add more wood if needed.

Campfire safety tipsA-group-of-four-friends-sit-around-the-bonfire-and-have-fun-bonfire

  • Never build a campfire when it is windy.
  • The use of flammable liquids such as lighter fluid or kerosene is a no-go.
  • Again, make sure that flammable materials are at a safe distance.
  • Never throw rubbish such as plastic and tin cans on the fire.
  • Use water instead of sand to extinguish the fire to remove the embers.

Check out this simple Firestarter hack from Survival Gear:

No camping is complete without a campfire. The thing is, not everyone knows how to properly light an outdoor fire. Most of the time we leave the dirty work to the handyman because we think it’s difficult. News flash. It is not.

Remember, stay safe and keep the fire burning!

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Macallister Anderson

I am by no means an expert in every aspect of this stuff. I plan to learn, and when possible, enlist the help of experts in various fields to come together and offer their knowledge. In a few years, I dream that this site will be a virtual survival encyclopedia and allow a total novice to come on here and be supplied with everything they need to prepare for anything.

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