How to Start a Campfire
Okay people, it’s time to reach down inside and touch base with your inner homo sapiens and get that great, big fire roaring on your next camping expedition. If this is your first foray into the wild, wild outdoors, even better! We are going to walk you through the process of starting a camp fire and by the time you’re done reading, you can impress everyone present, yourself inclusive, with you man skills. Bomki
So, without wasting your time, let’s get to it! Bomki
What you need to start a camp fire
The first place to begin is to know just what you will need to start a fire and to make sure you have them in place. There’s nothing as frustrating as when you’re all set to strike that match only to realise that you’ve forgotten to bring something major. So here is a list of what you need to have before you think about starting a camp fire.
A campfire ring: Your first point of call is a camp fire ring. No, we are not saying you need to move around with a campfire ring, honestly. It’s simply a place that has been set aside for your big roaring campfire. Most campgrounds have one, usually made from steel or stone. They don’t want those amateurs setting their camp on fire. That doesn’t apply to you, obviously, since you are reading this.
Remember to clean out the campfire ring before lighting a fire and use lots of water to put out the fire and leave the ring clean for the next user.
If there’s no campfire ring, you’re going to need to make one for your fire. This does not mean you need to log a steel campfire ring along with you on your next backpacking expedition. It just means you need to do as our for-bearers did; dig a hole in the ground. Oh and let’s not forget the stones or ricks around the fire ring. That’s where your pot or pan will rest so you can’t do without that. Traditionally, three stones are placed around the fire ring to give balance to the pot or pan.
Make sure that it is far away from bushes and trees or anything that could spark a wild fire.
Tinder: Now that you have your fire ring all nice and ready, the next step will be to get some bits of tinder. It’s a perfect cheat to a roaring campfire because it burns easily. Forage around for some dried leaves or grass or barks of wood to get your fire going. You could also come along with your tinder, basically, anything that burns really well like lint. Although tinder burns well, it also burns fast so you will need something more to sustain your fire.
Kindling: In order to ensure that your flame doesn’t burn out too quickly, you need some kindling. These are small pieces of twigs and little branches. Your kindling should not be too wide though, you want something that can catch fire quickly. So, go for slim narrow twigs about the size of a pencil and use them to feed your flames. Your kindling needs to be dry or it won’t catch fire. Bomki
Fuel wood: Once you’ve got a good fire going, you need to be able to keep it burning. Relying on tinder and kindling alone means that your fire will go out in no time at all, or you will spend your entire time foraging for twigs to keep it hot and burning. This is where you need fuel wood. Search for good-sized wood to use. This means that while the wood should be larger than what you used for kindling, it should not be too large or it will have a hard time catching fire.
Air: Do you mean the air we breathe? We hear you ask. Absolutely! It’s a fact of life that fire cannot burn without oxygen, which as you know, is the air we breathe. For your camp fire to really catch on, you need to have a good airflow, which is why your wood needs to be arranged in the best way to promote optimal air flow.
Fire Starter: Yep, life is definitely easier than in the days of prehistoric man and we get to bring our own fire starters with us, no rubbing two sticks together for you. For a great fire starter idea, you could soak cotton balls in paraffin. No smell, safe, and can be put in small zip log bag or like the old 35mm film canisters. Sweet! Bomki
General tips to get that fire going
We know you’re eager to go conquer the great outdoors, but just a few tips to give you that edge. When starting your fire camping, remember to observe general rules of safety. Don’t start your fire too close to bushes or trees. Also, wet or damp wood will give you a nasty time. Stick to dry wood particularly for tinder and kindling. You can use wood that is a little damp or wet for fuel wood as the fire is already going and will dry out the wood.
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How to lay your fire
So, you have all you need to get a roaring fire going. Awesome! What comes next? Starting a fire means you need to know how to lay it. You can choose from a number of classic methods which include: Bomki
- The teepee method: lay your tinder on the ground and place a few kindling twigs around it like a tepee. Place some more kindling around this and then use some fuel wood to support it.
- The log cabin fire: start with some tinder and lay a few kindling in the teepee style, next place two large pieces of fuel wood parallel on opposite sides of the teepee. Then lay smaller pieces of fuel wood across the first set. Repeat by laying smaller logs until you get a pyramid shape. Add some tinder if necessary and you’re good to go. Bomki
- The lean-to method: This is just like the lean-tos of the Native Americans. Really neat! So you get a long piece of kindling and stick it into the ground with the end pointing to the wind. Next, proceed to lay the tinder bundle against the stick. Follow that with some small pieces of kindling and then larger pieces of kindling. Repeat the process and light it up baby!
How to put the camp fire out
All done with your campfire and ready to move on? Awesome, dude! But, are you sure the fire is totally out or is it still smouldering? Campfires often take some time to go out completely so don’t do this while you’re in a hurry.
Sprinkle some water over the flames. Don’t pour, just sprinkle but use a bucketful or as much water as needed. As you sprinkle use a large stick or shovel to stir the fire so that the water touches every bit of the ashes. If you think the fire is all out, place the back of your hand close to the fire and feel for heat. Once you are sure that the fire is all out, scoop out the ashes and spread around. If you dug your own pit, fill it up again.
Quick tip: pour black soil over the fire to put it out quickly!
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Alright rock-star, it’s time to go show them what you’re made of. Go get that campfire roaring!