How To Start A Campfire

Whether you a recreational camper or just want to have backyard bonfire, understanding how to start a campfire is a must. Campfires are an important part of the whole outdoor experience. Other than just providing a source of light, heat, and food, they create camaraderie. They are great focal points to gather a group of friends or loved ones around.  Of course, starting a campfire can sometimes be a bit frustrating; so, before you strike that match, keep a few of these tips and hints in mind. 

To learn how to start a campfire you will need:

  • Kindling (Small Dry Sticks, Pine Needles, Dry Leaves)
  • Logs
  • Combustible  Material (Newspaper, Corn Chips, Fluid)
  • Lighter, Long Match
  1. You will want to start you campfire in the designated fire pit or ring. If no ring or pit is available, you will need to make one yourself. Locate a spot that is out in the open away from trees or other structures. The area should be flat and large enough for chairs, coolers, and plenty of people. Then using large rocks, build a ring that will contain the fire. 
  2. Place your kindling in the center of the fire pit. Your kindling is any small dry material that will light easily. This can be small twigs, pine needles, and leaves. The key is to make sure that they are dry The kindling will ignite first before the logs, so make sure that you use enough to keep a fire going for several minutes, while you wait for the logs to ignite. 
  3. Place the logs around the kindling. The key to any good fire is oxygen. So when you add logs, place them in a tepee or pyramid shape. This will ensure that plenty of oxygen will get to the fuel. Three to four logs will be enough to start a campfire, then as these catch, you will add more wood. 
  4. Fill in the gaps with newspaper. When starting a campfire, newspaper works best, but you can also use other combustible material like cardboard, lighter fluid, or a store bought starter log. Also, believe it or not, corn chips can work great too. If you are using newspaper, tear it into strips; then place these strips in between the logs and all around the kindling. 
  5. Strike a match and stand back. Using a long match or lighter, ignite the newspaper or other combustible material. This should ignite fairly quickly, so do not lean in too close. 
  6. Keep vigilance early and often. Just because the campfire is lit, does not mean it will stay lit. The newspaper should light first, then the kindling, then the wood. If any of these steps fail to ignite, add more kindling or combustible material. Also, never leave a campfire unattended. An unattended campfire is only a few errant sparks away from creating a forest fire. 
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