Confidently build a campfire that burns consistently and safely with these campfire tips and tricks.
Check the restrictions
Always be aware of current campfire regulations, which will often vary from region to region. Check to see if any fire bans are in place before you head to your destination. And if there is a ban, read through our tips for camping without a campfire.
Choose the best firewood
Be sure to choose dry logs for your fire. Wet wood will smoke more, and will be harder to keep alight.
It may be tempting to hunt around for small sticks to use as kindling to start your fire, but this is prohibited in most campgrounds. Instead, grab your hatchet and split some firewood into skinny pieces.
Always use a fire ring when available. If you must create your own fire pit, clear away any vegetation and mound dirt or rocks in a ring around the pit.
Bring fire starter
Some sort of fire starter will help you get the fire going, allowing the kindling and then the logs to catch. You can purchase specially made fire starter, or use newspaper, dryer lint, or egg cartons, or try out a DIY fire starter recipe.
Follow the right order
Beginning with your chosen fire starter at the center, next add the small pieces of kindling in a teepee over top. After that, larger logs are set up, spaced to encourage airflow. There are different ways to build up your logs, with two of the most popular being the teepee or log cabin styles.
Build it up gradually
Once your logs are set, light the fire starter. When your fire is going, resist the urge to pile on too many logs, and instead add them slowly as the fire burns. Too many at once can smother the flames, but slow additions will keep your flame consistent.
Put the flames out
Never leave a campfire unattended. Have water on hand for dousing the flames before you leave or head to bed. Give the ashes a good stir to ensure the fire is completely out.