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August 8, 2018

How to Build the Perfect Campfire Every Time

When we have decided to go camping, the next thing is to choose the place where we can ignite the fire for camping. We can go for the following options as mentioned here:

Campgrounds – Always ignite a fire in the designated grills, fireplaces or fire grounds. Before lighting a fire always check with the campground operator whether the campfire is allowed in that area or not. If it is allowed to make sure before campfire you have all safety measurements along with you.

Backcountry – You can go for a campfire in backcountry areas where the fire is permitted. In these areas, you can use already left over fire ring. Always go for a new fire ring only in case of emergency. If possible, after use of that fire ring dismantle it. If you are using the existing one, clean it properly before lighting the fire.

Apart from that always keep in mind that prevention is better than cure. Be the person with safety precautions. If you are at the designated fireplace where already fire rings are available, use that area for the campfire. If you are in the rough area where the campfire is allowed, you have to make your own place for a campfire.
Following is the thing needs to take care while selecting an area for the campfire

  • Always select the area which is away from bushes, trees and other hazardous elements that can result in a fire.
  • Always create a fire bed or fire ring on the bare earth.
  • Never plan a fire ring on the grass, especially the dry and dead grass. Dry branches, bark, grass can easily catch fire.
  • If you are unable to find the bare area, dig the area by ensuring that there is no dry plants, bushes, bark near to it.

When you are all set to the campfire location, the next need is the firewood. For smooth kindling of a fire three types of woodpiles i.e. Kindling, tinder, and firewood are required.

Tinder – In order to start a campfire, you need material that can catch fire easily. It covers material like dry bark, dry grass, dry leaves, wood shavings, small twigs, forest duff etc. While going for a campfire, it is good to carry your own tinder in the mode of homemade cloth char or dryer lint. When everything is wet outside, it is best to carry your own tinder because wet tinder never catches fire.

Kindling- After collecting the Tinder material for a campfire, you need a material that helps to hold the fire for some time so that you can go ahead with big logs. Kindling consists of small branches and twigs which is near about one inch long or so. Always ensure its dryness before putting it into the fire. If it is wet, try to whittle away the moist bark using your pocket knife.

Fuelwood – After Tinder and Kindling, you need some stuff that can hold fire for a long time. So, here comes the fuelwoods. While choosing fuelwood always keep in mind that it is neither huge logs as it takes time to catch fire, nor too small that it gets vanishes in minimal time. Always go for branches that are wide near about your wrist or forearm.

While gathering firewood collects those woods that can break and snap easily. Always choose dry woods as they burn properly, quickly, smoothly. If you choose long woods, huge logs, wet or green one; it will just give you a lot of smoke. Always collect twice of the material that you are thinking of collecting for a campfire. As you will be surprised how soon the kindling and tinder get vanished when the fire starts.

Different Ways of Building Your Campfire

There are various ways by which you can organize Tinder, Kindling, and firewood. Following are the widely used styles of campfire i.e. Teepee, star, log cabin, lean-to, upside down pyramid (platform).

The Tepee

It looks like a cone-shaped structure that resembles after the Indigenous dwelling. Following is the method by which you can make a campfire structure like Tepee

  1. Firstly, place tinder woods in the middle of the campfire site.
  2. After that, form a teepee using Kindling woods. Make an opening in your teepee against the side of wind blowing. It will ensure that the campfire gets an appropriate amount of air as required by it and it will help in blowing the flames over kindling.
  3. Start adding more kindling to the teepee up to pencil size twigs.
  4. After that, add firewood around kindling teepee to create a larger teepee.
  5. Start puts the fire under the tinder as it lays the flames up directly. Slowly flames will rise up to the kindling and later on the fuelwood.
  6. After some time, the teepee structure will fall down. You can add more logs to the fire, according to your need.

The Lean-To

During Windy, it is the best campfire method that uses its own firewood as a windbreaker. The following are steps that are required for the lean-to fire method.

At about an angle of 30- degree place a long piece of kindling into the fire bed.

While placing kindling ensure that the stick ends are in the wind direction.

Underneath the kindling support structure place tinder bundle

Put more small kindling pieces around the nest of tinder.

Against the structure put small pieces of kindling. Add more layers of larger kindling around it.

After that, start igniting the tinder and enjoy the campfire.

The Log Cabin

Firstly, create a small teepee structure.

After that place a large piece of fuelwood opposite to the teepee structure.

Place smaller pieces of firewood first across the fuel wood and then parallel to the other side of the teepee.

Repeat the same procedure until it forms a cabin. Ignite the structure.

Upside down pyramid (platform)

Place three to four large logs on the bottom layer side by side.

After that, at 90-degree, add the second layer of smaller logs on top of the previous layer.

Repeat the same process up to few-layer by keeping the wood size smaller than the previous layer.

Above all place kindling and then tinder on the top

The Star

This method was used by Native American tribes as they have low supplies of woods. This method is unique from other method as it will not burn all logs at once. It works by arranging the few log ends by burning them bit by bit. It results in a fire the burns woods slowly. Following are the ways by which you can create star shape campfire

For this to work properly, you need to create a small teepee with kindling

Next, you need to place four or five logs around the kindling teepee

One end is in the fire and other end leads away like the starburst point.

The benefit of the star type campfire is it extinguishes quickly. You can extinguish it by pulling the middle layer logs.

Once you are done by creating the structure for a campfire. The next step is lighting the campfire. Following are the accessories that are required for burning the fire lays.
Accessories required to ignite a fire

Once you are done by creating the structure for the campfire. The next step is lighting the campfire. Following are the accessories that are required for burning the fire lays.

Carry a chemical firestarter or a candle to start the fire
You can also take cotton balls which are dipped in Vaseline, a cigar-size newspaper that is dipped into melted paraffin or a flattened milk carton wax.
Never go for a loose newspaper as they are good moisture absorber on damp days.

Lighting the Fire

Finally, it is the time when you can start lighting the fire. Following are some tips that are helpful while igniting the campfire

Ignite the tinder first using matchbox or fire starter, which is specially designed to burn the tender.

Once the tinder starts burning, blow it lightly at the base of the fire in order to provide oxygen. It will help in increasing the flame intensity and further it will help in the ignite of firewood.

After some time start moving embers in the middle so that woods burn completely.

Extinguishing Your Campfire

Once we are done with a campfire, it is the best practice that we extinguish it before leaving. Following are the tips mentioned that helps you in extinguishing easily.
When you are leaving sprinkle the water on it. Never pour the complete bucket of water on the fire. Remember that pit can be used by someone else later. Sprinkle water as much as you required to extinguish the woods. Sprinkle water till then you do not see any steam or you do not hear any noises.

Do not touch the ashes to check whether it gets completely extinguished or not. Rather put your hand near the ashes and check you are feeling any heat or not. If you are feeling some heat sprinkle more water otherwise it is completely extinguished.

Never burn materials which are not fully convertible into ashes.

Do not try to burn cans, foil, and plastic.

Dispose of the ashes correctly. Leave the clean area for the next camper.

If you burn something which is not fully convertible into ashes, collect all the remaining part. Pack it and dispose it into a trash receptacle.

There is not any specific season for a campfire. You can go for a campfire in any season whether it is rainy or snowing. It just you need to take care of the locations and woods in these seasons. Also weathers like snowfall and rainy one make our campfire moments adorable. But here are some of the tips that would be helpful for you whi;e setting firecamps in snowy or rainy seasons:

Building a Campfire in the Snow

You must select a site which is protected from snow, wind and water. You must especially avoid setting up the fire under the tree. The snow accumulated on trees can melt and fall onto the fire. If at all you want to set the fire under a tree, knock off all the snowflakes from the tree.

The fire pit should be of stone. Make sure that you put the stones slightly above the ground to allow passage for melted snow. You also need to leave space between the stones. Subsequently, get a heat reflector; this will multiply the amount of heat being radiated on you.

For lighting the fire, you may use an accelerant as it is difficult to light fire in snow conditions.

When you’re done with your fire, you can enjoy its warmth for a prolonged period. Just wrap the stones, that you used to make a pit, under a piece of cloth and put them under your bed. You will get a nice warm sleep.

Building a Campfire in the Rain

For setting up a fire in rainy weather, you will need a sharp knife, folding saw and a small hatchet.

Find a fallen tree, cut a limb measuring about an arm, with the help of saw. Make sure it is dry. Further, saw the limb in footlong sections carefully. Then cut each of these sections into kindling. You must use a hatchet for splitting the sections of limb.

Assemble the tinder and kindling. You just need to place two thick sticks parallel and about 6inch apart from each other. Place about four thinner sticks on those two thick sticks cross-sectional. Place kindles in the gap between thick and thin sticks.

Light the fire using some amount of fuel. You are all set to enjoy.

Campfire is an inevitable part of everyone life as there are so many stories are connected to it from the sharing of secrets to proposals. Everyone has an unforgettable moment connected to it. Have a happy campfire to you.

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