Campfire Tips For Beginners: How to Start a Fire In The Woods

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Campfires are often a part of any camping trip. They can be crucial for cooking, staying warm on chilly nights, or just having fun with friends. 

If you’re new to camping, there’s one thing that might seem like a daunting task: starting a campfire

However, it doesn’t have to be complicated! 

We’ve compiled some campfire tips for beginners on how you can start your first campfire ever can make you enjoy yourself outside with friends and family this summer.

Let’s get into it!

Campfire Tips For Beginners

Ever been camping and thought, “I wish I had a fire to keep me warm?” Well, look no further! Here are some tips on how to build a fire. 

Location, Location, Location

Find a place that is at least 6 yards in radius. Almost all camping sites have enough space. It is also good to avoid areas where there are many dead branches or places where it has been raining recently. 

If it has been raining or snow on the trees, put a tarp above the fire. It will protect your fire from being put out by any water that falls from the sky or the trees when there is wind.

Determine The Fire Radius

Clear out the underbrush surrounding the fire for a good 3-yard radius. This ensures that you don’t start a brush fire in an area where it will be difficult or impossible to control, like during extreme drought conditions. 

If there’s been no rain, and this has made everything dryer than ever, extend this radius of safety by at least 5 yards per side.

Containment

A traditional way of creating a fire containment is by building either a pit lined with rocks or using logs. These containments are used to keep the fire enclosed and built before starting the fire to avoid any possible forest fires.

For most camping sites, either containment can be used. However, a pit lined with rocks is a better option in the mountains, where strong winds are more likely to blow out fires because of their openness and unprotected surroundings.

Firewood

Kindling

When thinking about starting a fire, it’s crucial to have your wood ready. You don’t want to be running around the forest looking for firewood while you’re trying to get that initial fire going. 

Three types of firewoods that you want ready. 

  • Shavings or tender: These are the small pieces that you cut off of deadwood with your knife. You can also use dried grass and cotton to keep it from catching fire quickly.
  • Kindling: Kindling is wood that can be found on the dead tree or ground. It will make your fire burn longer.
  • Various sizes of deadwood: Start with the smaller wood. Add larger pieces of wood as needed until you have the right size of fire for your needs.

Starting Fire

It’s finally time to start your campfire! Create a small teepee with the shavings, light them up and then add in some kindling. 

As the fire starts going, you can add more deadwood to make the fire bigger. One thing to remember is if the deadwood is wet, split it with an ax. The inside wood will be dry and easier to burn.

Choice of Woods

Choosing the type of wood is usually based on your campsite. It is best to know what wood will work best so that you don’t have trouble building a campfire.

  • Softwoods, such as pine and fir trees, are good for making shavings and burn quickly. However, they tend not to give off too much heat or last very long. The downside of cedar is that it can produce a lot of smoke while burning, so you’ll want to avoid using this wood when cooking your food.
  • Medium hardwoods, such as maple, aspen, and cottonwood, are better at burning for a longer time. They are good kindling.
  • Hardwood such as oak is the ultimate fuel for a fire. It burns longer and more intensely than any other type of wood. It’s perfect for cooking your foods or percolating your coffee.

Firewood Supply

You can never have enough firewood. Once you start the fire, make sure to get more wood. You want to get more than you need if the fire goes out or there is not enough wood left.

Dry Wood

It can be a good idea to bring firewood into the tent during the night for morning fires. This is to keep the firewood dry from morning dew or rain during the night.

It helps you start your morning fire easily without delay. 

How To Start Fire Easily When You Need It So Badly 

How To Start Fire Easily

You never know when you might need to start a fire quickly. Here are 11 unconventional ways that can help with starting your tent campfire even in the most terrible conditions:

1. Use Lint Roller Paper 

The best way to start a campfire is with the use of lint roller paper. The sticky surface does not require any tinder or kindling. It can be lit by simply placing it on top of the fire. It burns pretty quickly. 

2. Use Cheese Puffs  

A friend of mine says that Cheese Puffs are very effective at burning because they are small, and their shape is perfect for catching fire. They can be used as a substitute for tinder.

3. Chop The Fire Logs Into Pieces

A fire log can help get the campfire lit, but only if it is chopped up into smaller pieces first. A small piece of the wood should be placed at each corner and in-between logs to start the flames going with ease.

4. Rubber Cement

Rubber cement is a substance that has been known to ignite very quickly. Be careful; it might pose quite a threat when used in food preparation. I think glue sticks burn easily too.

5. Go Old School

Dry grass and hay were a popular choices for starting fires back in the day. You can use them to give your fire some extra time before it starts burning because they light quickly.

6. Cotton Balls And Q-Tips

The cotton balls provide an excellent burning substance on their own. However, adding oil, vaseline, or petroleum jelly will make it burn. You can even use your natural body oils on your forehead and at the ends of your nose.

7. Splitwet Wood

Wet wood is a great material for starting fires because it’s easy to split and dry on the inside. Chop up wet wood and burn the inside to help have your fire start faster.

8. Use Newspapers Or Any Paper

Paper is a great source for many things, including being the perfect fire starter.

9. Aerosol Cans

If you’re looking for a quick way to start a fire, aerosol cans are your best bet. They can be used with anything from hair spray to deodorant.

It’s important to understand that aerosol cans are very flammable and should not be used for cooking.

10. Baby Wipes Or Sanitizing Wipes

Baby Wipes or Sanitizing wipes are also good for starting a fire because they contain alcohol. Not only can they be used to clean your hands and face, but these highly flammable items will come in handy when you’re trying to start a fire up fast.

11. Personal Items

Some lotions, sunblock, shaving gel, shampoos, cologne, and even travel blankets are flammable. If you are in a pinch, it is worth trying to see if any of these can help.

Other Fire Building Tent Camping Pro Tips

The campfire pro tips will help you to utilize whatever resources available to start a fire.

Live Wood Can Be Used To Set Up Your Cooking Area 

It’s hard to say “no” when you are trying to cook food over a campfire. Sometimes it is difficult for pots and pans not to tip over to the fire pit.

In order to make cooking easier with less hassle, live wood can be used for things like making hooks to hold pots or stakes to hold frying pans over the fire. Live wood is not as flammable.

Live wood can also be used to make an overhang for the fire by chopping out two Y shapes with another straight piece placed across the notches of the two Y shapes.

Morning Coals

If the weather is right, it is a good idea to have an evening fire with hardwoods. Usually, you will still have coals in the morning that can be used to start the fire.

Conclusion

There are many reasons to enjoy a campfire. Whether you’re cooking your dinner, staying warm on chilly nights, or just having fun with friends and family, the benefits of starting one can’t be ignored.

I hope these tips are helpful to you. Happy Bonfire!

Also read: How to avoid ticks when camping.