Campfire Basics You Should Know
With summer camping season on the horizon, many of us are looking forward to weekends in the wilderness. Sleeping under starry skies after an evening around the campfire is the perfect antidote to the stress and pressures involved in urban living. However, before we can savor those s’mores-on-sticks and other scrumptious campfire-fueled culinary delights, we've got to make certain that our campfire-building skills are up to par. Few things are more disappointing than sitting around in cold and dark after the sun goes down because you can't figure out how to get a good campfire started. Following are a few tips to help the novice fire starter build a s’more-worthy blaze.
Start With the Right Raw Material
Most campgrounds provide firewood for campers, but don't just assume that this is the case with the spot you've chosen -- call or look on their website to make certain that there will be available firewood. If that's not the case, purchase some before you leave on your camping trip.
Those new to wildness camping may think that all they have to do for quality firewood is to forage for it in the woods, but this is generally a poor idea. Foraged wood that's been out in the elements usually isn't dry enough to produce anything but a very smoky fire. Properly aged firewood is necessary to produce good campfires.
Lay a Good Foundation
A good campfire starts with a good foundation. It's important to use fine, dry materials such as kindling and small, dry twigs. Avoid using leaves because they tend to blow away easily, and you could start a forest fire this way.
Crisscross a few layers of larger twigs and pieces of kindling over the fine tinder bed and place a couple of small-sized pieces of firewood over them. Make certain there's enough space between materials for proper aeration -- the fledgling flame will be smothered if materials are too close together.
Strike a Match
A waterproof match or a butane lighter should do the trick. Make sure that you're out of the wind as much as possible before using your fire source. Once you get a good blaze going, you'll be able to add more wood to the fire.
Never leave your campfire unattended, and always double and even triple check your fire before leaving the campsite to make sure that it's completely out.