One of the things we love about camping is sitting around a cosy fire in the evening, telling stories and roasting marshmallows with friends. Building a campfire is one of the most basic (and important) skills you could learn if you’re quite new to the outdoor scene. Apart from roasting marshmallows, an open fire can keep you warm, cook your food and purify your water. Of course there is preparation involved, in this article, we'll show you how to build the ideal campfire, step by step.
The importance of finding a good location
When it comes to finding a location for your campfire, you need to make sure that you choose a spot that is safe. That means avoiding areas covered with dry grass or leaves, and ensure there are no lower overhanging branches. You should also dig a small pit for your fire, and encircle it with some rocks if available to help contain the flames. Also note that some campsites only allow fires in a designated fireplace, so be mindful of your campsite’s rules.
Gathering wood and kindling
If you’re planning to camp in a national park area, you won’t be allowed to gather wood there. Make sure to check with your campsite and bring your own firewood if required. It is available for purchase at services stations or you can collect some fallen dry wood in some areas, check if this is allowed by the local council. The size of wood you require can depend on you length of stay.
The size of wood you will require depends on the duration of your stay. If you are on a day trip and just having a stop for lunch smaller logs are the better option as they fire up faster and will burn down quicker allowing you to leave after an hour or 2. If staying longer and overnight bigger logs will burn longer and more consistently. If using larger logs, you will want some smaller logs to build the fire up before putting the large logs on.
You will also want Tinder and kindling to get the fire started. Avoid timber from packaging or building sites unless you are certain they are not contaminated with harmful chemicals
Building the fire
The first step to building your fire is to place some tinder in the centre of your pit, make sure it is lose so plenty of air can be drawn through it. Then build a Tepee shaped of kindling around the tinder, again ensure there is good air flow through the kindling, be sure to have some extra tinder and kindling at hand to use if required. Have your large and/or small logs stacked to the side at a safe distance.
Lighting the fire
You can use a match or lighter to light your fire, a trick to avoiding your fingers getting burnt whilst trying to get to the tinder is to extend the tinder out of toward the edge of the pit, alternatively if you have some paper, make a roll with it and light 1 end using it to light the tinder. Once you've lit the fire, give it some time to catch, if it starts to die down before the kindling gets started add some tinder on top, continue this until the kindling is supporting fire.
Adding more wood
As the kindling starts to catch well, you can start to add larger pieces of wood slowly and build them as they catch and support the fire. Once you have a good base of coals you can add the larger logs and sit back and enjoy. Avoid adding too much wood at once, as this can smother the fire and make it difficult to restart.
Extinguishing the fire
When you're finished with your campfire, it's important to extinguish it properly. The best way to do this is to use a shovel to cover the flames with sand or dirt. Once the fire is completely extinguished, you should make sure that there are no embers left behind. Once the fire is out, make sure that there are no hot spots remaining before you leave the area.
Now that you know how to build the perfect campfire, you're ready to enjoy all those outdoor adventures! Just remember to be safe and always follow local fire regulations.
With a little bit of practice, you'll be able to build the perfect campfire every time. Just remember to stay safe, and have fun! What is your favourite thing to do around the campfire? Let us know by and tag us on Instagram @offmain.offroad
At Offmain, we believe that 4WDing and outdoor adventure is for everyone, and getting started should be easy. Founded by a team of female 4WDers and a rookie hiking adventurer, Offmain is a positive and inclusive community for people of all experience levels, from those researching Vehicles, Camping and adventure options - all you need is the love to explore.
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