5 Tips to Start the Perfect Campfire

By far, the most enjoyable outdoor activity to partake in is building a fire. For most, campfires are a special occasion, the bedrock of any outdoors experience. Fires are used for multitudes of applications, fires can warm a cold night, make a hot meal, keep large animals away and offer a source of entertainment. If you want to learn how to make one yourself or just brushing up on knowledge, the guide below can offer help.

1. Collect fuel. Preparing the fire is the most important step in building one. Having all the fuel close at hand allows for the fire to be brought out of infancy without interruption. Collecting the right size and type of fuel will ensure success in the first try.

Start by collecting small tinder. Tinder refers to small, dry, organic material that has a high combustibility rate. The best materials to use are dry grasses, paper birch bark, dried pine needles, and dried leaves.

Organize the fuel into separate piles, distinguishing by size. Starting with very tiny sizes, working up towards large sticks and logs. Be sure the largest amount of material collected are the smaller sized sticks and tinder. The more of the smaller twigs used, the faster your fire will be burning logs.

2. Lighting the fire. There is no need to resort to primitive fire starters like flint and rubbing two sticks together. In the outdoors, usually the best option is also the simplest and easiest. No need for gimmicks, I use a lighter or matches to create the first flame. If you plan your fire correctly, you won’t need more than 1 or two matches to get it going.

3. Grow the fire. Once the tinder starts to flame, place the smallest twigs on. Try and lay the twigs vertically against the flames, fire will burn hotter when working against gravity. Wait for the first batch to go up in flames and slowly add more materials. Be sure to increase the size of the fuel as the fire grows. Smoking sticks indicate the temperatures are nearly hot enough to create flames, try blowing on them to make fire. If the larger logs are not lighting, your fire needs more of the smaller sticks that can combust at lower temperatures. The larger the stick, the longer it will take to light but once it is lit, it will emit hotter temperatures.

4.Smoldering! If your fire suddenly smolders; its flames disappearing leaving only hot coals, do not panic. Usually, blowing gently on the coals will temporarily give the fire a boost of oxygen which creates flames and greater temperatures. Use this window of growth to throw more twigs or tinder onto the flames and build a more sustainable fire.

5. Keeping the fire. When the fires is hot enough and even the largest branches are burning, it is time to reduce effort. Using logs on a fire greatly reduces the need for fuel and requires a lot less work. At this point, the fire is at its peak utility. It is stable enough to be controlled, allowing for a full range of activities.

Best Campfire Uses

1. Cooking. There is no better accomplishment than having a fire to cook on. A helpful tool to cook in is a metal pot. It can be hung over the flames or placed on the coals. Examples of food that can be cooked this way: pasta, fish, sausages, vegetables, and more.

2. Heat. Being outside can be cold at any season, even summer nights sometimes require a fire. Building a fire in a strategic location can allow it to be used as a communal heat source. The social atmosphere created with fire provides more warmth than the flames can. Also, the amount of hands feeding fire means it can be built larger than any one person could hope for.

3. Safety. Sometimes when there are bears and wolves around, having a fire gives a sense of security at camp. Most animals do not like fire and will keep their distance, especially if it is a large fire.

4. Entertainment. Being in the woods and devoid of electronic devices, fire can sometimes be the only entertainment around. Simply staring into it, feeding it, and watching the embers soar upwards allows for therapeutic relaxation.

I hope this guide helps you on your next camping trip, building fires is always a fun experience. So get outside, make yourself a campfire, and revel in the glory of the ecosystem that is all around us.

Updated: May 4, 2017 — 3:50 am
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