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How to Build a Campfire

Build the perfect campfire with help from Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

Sitting around a warm campfire is one of the best parts of camping. You can cook s’mores, tell ghost stories and just have a good time with everyone on your camping trip.

1. Make a Fire Pit

How to Build a Campfire
A great campfire is the centerpiece of a perfect camping trip. Learn how to build a campfire with help from Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

If your campsite doesn’t have a designated fire site, or you’re out in the wilderness, you’ll need to make a fire pit. Choose a location that’s away from trees, shrubs or any other plants. If there aren’t any bare spots around your campsite, make one. Rake and dig away plants. You need bare earth for your fire pit. Be especially careful to rid the area of dry grass, bark and branches, which can easily catch fire. You can keep this stuff for tinder and kindling. Make a small hole for the fire pit and surround it with rocks to keep your fire from falling apart.

2. Gather Firewood

Only use logs from the area you’re camping in. You don’t have to find giant logs to get your fire burning. Branches that are about the size of your forearm work great for a campfire. Make sure logs are dry. Wet firewood can still burn, but will produce more smoke than dry logs. Wet wood will also make your fire much harder to start.

You will also need tinder and kindling. Small dry sticks and twigs, known as tinder, are used to start the fire. Kindling is a bit larger than tinder. It helps get your fire going and burns easily once the fire is started. Kindling should also be dry and about the size of a pencil.

3. Laying the Fire

Put tinder in the middle of your fire pit. Make a teepee of kindling around the tinder. Leave an opening on the side the wind is blowing against. Wind will be able to blow the flames on the kindling and you’ll be able to light the fire with matches, a butane lighter or flint striker.

There are a few different options when it comes to setting up your firewood.

Log Cabin Fire

Once you have your kindling and tinder set, it’s time to lay the firewood. The name kind of explains how the fire will be set up. Lay down two pieces of firewood on opposite sides of the teepee. Stack more firewood across the first two pieces, running parallel. Continue building the fire with shorter and smaller pieces to make a pyramid or cabin shape. A log cabin fire is sturdy, burns for a long time and makes great coals; perfect for campfire cooking.

Teepee Fire

To create a teepee fire, continue making a teepee shape around your kindling. Add larger kindling around the smaller kindling. Set up pieces of firewood around the kindling and tinder to create a teepee. This may require some patience as kindling and firewood can collapse. Once it’s lit, it will collapse, but you can add more firewood. Teepee fire lays are great because the construction allows heat to easily rise from the tinder and kindling.

4. Putting Out Your Campfire

When you’re done with your fire, you need to put it out completely. Drown out the fire with a bucket of water. Once you’ve poured a bucket of water on the fire, stir the wet embers and soil with a shovel or stick. Once everything in the fire pit is completely wet, hold your hand over the embers and coals to determine if they’re still hot. It’s also important to check underneath the rocks around the pit for hidden lit embers. Douse the fire with water once more. A good rule of thumb is if the fire pit is too hot for you to touch, it’s too hot for you to leave.

For more tips and information about setting up the perfect campsite, visit our camping blog.

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