Believe it or not, making a fire is easy once you know how to properly build it. Follow these fool-proof tip and tricks to building the perfect outdoor fire.
Read on to learn how to arrange your tinder, kindling, and fuel logs in one of these three fail-proof configurations. No matter which style you choose, you can either light the fire after you set up the tinder and kindling, or wait until you’ve arranged a starter layer of fuel logs as well. One of the best outdoor experiences you can have is sitting around the campfire, perhaps strumming the old favorites on the guitar or telling a few spine-tingling ghost tales, all while getting your s’mores on.
If only you knew how to make a fire that didn’t burn like the Towering Inferno one minute only to flame out into a smoky pile of charred bits the next. In short, if only you knew what the heck you were doing.
Actually, it’s quite simple (not to mention, fun) to build a safe campfire that burns consistently. Follow these steps, and you’ll be hunkered down by a cozy flame in no time.
Next, gather your kindling. These are the larger twigs and small branches that will catch the tinder’s flame, establishing the fire so that it can be transferred to the larger fuel logs. Again, search your site, this time looking for dried wood pieces about 1 foot long and less than 1 inch in diameter. Be sure to gather dead pieces, limbs and branches that have already fallen to the ground, and look for a variety of widths and sizes – from skinny, pencil-lead size to pencil size to foot-long ruler size to everything in between.
Never cut live branches; they don’t burn well and it’s also not good outdoor etiquette. If it’s wet out or outdoor conditions don’t allow you to gather your own kindling, most supermarkets and convenience stores near campgrounds and vacation-rental spots sell kindling, usually narrow cedar slats that easily catch fire.
See also Campfire Safety Tips
Pros: Teepee fires burn very hot and are great when it’s especially cold out. They’re also effective if your wood happens to be wet or recently cut and is still a bit green inside. If a large bonfire is your eventual goal, a teepee works well.
Cons: Because they burn so hot, teepee fires tend to burn through fuel logs quickly.
Tinder & kindling: In the fire pit, place your tinder nest in the center, and arrange the kindling pieces around it in the shape of a teepee. Leave an opening at one side of the kindling teepee so that you’re able to light the tinder.
Fuel logs: Place fuel logs atop the kindling in a teepee formation. As the outside logs burn, they’ll eventually fall into the center of the pile, thus feeding the fire by providing more fuel.