In 5 simple steps: How to build a fire after preparing some campfire wood.

The best type of campfire wood is “dry wood”.

That being said, there are two types of “wet” wood. Freshly cut wood from live trees and wet wood which would be dry except, it got rained on.

Wood from live trees will “never” burn and cutting branches from live trees is just extremely damaging to the forest. So, let's not do that.

This is my version of the hybrid log cabin.The dry tinder is on the bottom with the kindling stacked above it. I put one piece of fuelwood on top.

It's not serious if the campfire wood got wet from the rain. The center of the wood piece will still be dry.

Once the piece is split with a small ax or hatchet, there will be a couple of dry surfaces. That’s enough to get some dry kinling together start the fire burning.

If a couple more pieces are added to the fire into the ring or pit they will dry in a few minutes and burn well after that!

Note: Never make a campfire using leftover painted or pressure treated wood from your deck project or home renovation. Although pre-cut wood trimmings stack nicely in the vehicle the fumes are extremely toxic. Starting a fire with the colored pages from a newspaper is also very toxic!

It’s time to collect some campfire wood:

Tinder = Consists of small twigs, pine needles and dry grasses. Anything smaller than a pencil. Or, bring a newspaper from home, like I do. In a heavily used campground you will NOT find anything to burn anyway.

Take 10 newspaper pages, roll each one into a ball and use this as the base of your fire.

Kindling = Wood items the size of your finger or a little larger. I usually make my own with a hatchet from larger pieces of fuelwood. 16 pieces is usually enough. But make a few extra pieces in case the campfire doesn’t start burning as well as hoped.

Note: If there is no kindling to be found anywhere but you happen to have some Doritos Chips, they actually burn really well. Some varieties of Potato Chips burn really well too!

It’s also a good idea to pick one piece of longer kindling or a stick and use that one to poke your fire if needed.

Fuelwood = Larger pieces of wood about the size of your forearm. Unless you gave a good saw, and an ax with you, larger pieces of fuelwood are difficult to manage with only a small hatchet.

Another option is to bring wood from home or buy it along the way. Many campgrounds do sell bundles of wood. The advantage is: no need to pack the wood in the car, it’s perfectly split and best of all it’s dry.

How to build a campfire safety tip:
Be sure to collect all campfire wood before you light the fire. Once the fire is burning you don’t want to let it burn by itself while you’re out looking for more firewood.

How to build a campfire In 5 easy steps: My version of the log cabin type.

  • Get together all your tinder and loosely pile it together in the campfire pit or ring center. Or, take 10 rolled up balls of newspaper (after reading the comics section) and place them in the center of the pit as well.
  • Then, take three pieces of kindling and lay them parallel to one another 5 inches apart.
  • Take 3 more pieces and stack them perpendicular to the other 3 pieces.
  • Do this 2 more times to make 4 layers.
  • Light the fire: Take a match or lighter and light the tinder or newspaper in 3 to 4 places on the underneath side. The kindling should begin to burn well in a couple of minutes.

Once the kindling burning well, add one more piece of fuelwood by carefully laying it on top of the stacked kindling. If you add too much fuelwood the stack of kindling will collapse and the campfire may go out because it won’t be getting enough oxygen.

The fire will need some attention until some hot coals have formed. Just add a piece of fuelwood every now a then before the flames die. After that, the entire evening is yours to enjoy around the campfire.

And, now you know prepare your campfire wood and build a campfire.

Continue reading more on how to make a campfire....

Go from this campfire wood page back to the make a fire homepage.
Find out step by step how to make a safe campfire.

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Mound fires and campfire pans
The art of making a mound fire or using a campfire pan, and not leave a trace.

Putting out a campfire
Take these precautionary steps by putting out a campfire the correct way.

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