Six ways to build a campfire

Campfires provide heat, light, comfort and protection, plus a way to cook and purify water. There are many ways to construct a campfire depending on your location and your needs.

Tipi Campfire

The Tipi campfire is so called due to its resemblance to the shelters made by Native Americans. Arrange thin sticks of dry kindling leaning together in a semi-upright circle. Introduce the lighted tinder into the center, or ignite it in place. As the fire grows, add larger pieces of wood. This is one of the easiest fires to light, so it is frequently used as the starter for other types of fire. It provides good light and radiates warmth but as it has a large air intake the fire burns quickly and so consumes lots of wood. 

Log Cabin Campfire

This type of campfire is made up of larger, slower burning logs and so requires less maintenance. Place two thick logs parallel to each other and about 8-inches apart in the fire pit. Place two more logs perpendicularly across these logs- just like building a cabin. Repeat the procedure. Place kindling, or construct a small tipi fire in the center and ignite.

Platform Campfire

Place thickish logs next to each other to form a solid base. Place slightly shorter logs perpendicularly on top. Keep adding layers of subsequently shorter logs to create a stable pyramid form. Build a tipi fire on top and keep feeding it with wood until the logs underneath catch. It may take a while to get started but once it’s going this fire will burn for hours and provides good hot coals for cooking on.

Parallel Campfire

This fire burns slowly and evenly for perfect cooking. Place two similar sized logs parallel to each other and start the fire between them. Place your cooking pot directly on top of the logs.

Star Campfire

Place several long logs to form a star and start the fire in the center. Also known as an Indian fire, this is a great type of campfire to sit around in a group throughout the night, slowly pushing the logs in as they get consumed. Care should be taken when moving around the fire not to trip over the end of the logs which may be in the dark.

Lean-To Campfire

Also known as a reflector fire, this is not actually a fire but a flat surface which is located behind any type of fire to radiate the heat in a particular direction. Place a couple of stakes into the ground at an angle and stack up logs or thick bark to form a screen. Particularly useful in cold conditions to direct warmth towards the tent or to protect a fire while getting it started in rainy or windy conditions.

Alex Kafure

Alex Kafure

As South Floridian native, my first camping experience was right along the beach in the Florida Keys. Since then, it's been nothing but exploring what the rest of the world has to offer. From moving to the Pacific Northwest to now residing in Costa Rica, I've had the chance to experience all kinds of environments. The question that always lingers in my mind is, "where to next?" I can't wait to find out.

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Camping Is Easy® was founded by lifelong friends who shared a passion for both the great outdoors and the gear required to enjoy it to the fullest. Erik & Alex now travel the world searching for the best camping spots all while reviewing the products they use along the way. Thanks for visiting!

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