The 5 Most Basic Types of Campfires and What They’re For

Learning a campfire from scratch is a feat. But just as important is knowing the right type of fire for your needs.

The type of fire you need to build depends on how much wood you have and what you will be using it for. There are certain types that are best for cooking, keeping warm, or for a large group of campers.

RELATED: How to Build a Campfire

Camping 101: The 5 Most Basic Types Of Camp Fires And What They Are For

Whatever your purpose, here are the 5 most basic types of campfires and what they’re meant for:


A teepee is the most common and popular type of campfire. The cone-shaped structure has a wide and round base that allows for a good flow of oxygen.

This type of fire, in turn, burns hot – ideal for a small group to gather around. It’s also great for cooking quick meals and warming up. However, the tipi burns quickly – it consumes wood quickly and therefore needs constant maintenance.

Log cabin

Cozy fireplace in a cabin-types of bonfires

The log cabin fire is created by stacking thick logs in parallel, leaving space in the middle for the air to flow. This is a slow-burning fire that requires little maintenance and burns hot for a long time. The log cabin is great for cooler weather when you need to stay warm through the night.


During the day, campfire bones lay in a circle on the grass-types of campfires

This type of campfire, also called an upside-down pyramid, is similar to the log cabin. It is made by stacking thick wood that forms a pound sign and the fire is burned from above, creating a platform of coals. Because of this, the platform campfire is best for cooking food.

RELATED: Fire Prevention When Building Camp Fires


big bonfire with sparks and particles in front of forest and starry sky types of bonfires

If you are running out of firewood this is the way to go. Starfire burns the wood piece by piece, unlike other species that burn the wood all at once. It is a slow burning fire that makes a good flame.

This can also be easily erased by simply pulling the logs out from the center. Start by making a small tipi fire, then place 5 thick logs around it to form a “star”.


Remains of a bonfire in a Yukon forest in Canada-types of bonfires

Are you struggling to make a campfire due to the windy weather? The leaning fire is your best choice as it uses its own wood as a windbreak. Although it is windy, this type of campfire requires little maintenance.

Now that you know the 5 most basic types of campfires and their purposes, you’ll be more confident on your next camping trip!

Daniel J. Smith is a survival expert. He has lived outdoors since childhood and loves to share his expertise in camping, hiking, traveling, RV home living and more.

He has also started his own company called OutBright which will shortly be selling products for campers, hikers, travelers and all outdoor adventurers.

To all preppers, craftsmen, bushmasters, nature lovers and all-round experts, Survival Life needs YOU! Click here if you’d like to write for us.

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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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