Campfire Hacks: Easy Ways Start A Good Campfire

Sitting around a nightly campfire... There really is nothing like it. We've done it countless times, and it never grows old. Studies even indicate campfires can lower your blood pressure. Aside from warmth and cooking, a good campfire is a bit mesmerizing. But do you ever struggle to get a fire going? Yeah, we've been there too. And learned a lot along the way. With a few quick tips, it's easy to get a fire going. You'll be roasting marshmallows and swapping stories in no time.

Easy Fire Starters

  1. Dryer lint Save your dryer lint: Stuff loosely into used toilet paper rolls. Do this all winter for campfires all summer.
  2. Pencil boxes, matches and sandpaper: Secure sandpaper to the inside of the lid. Add a handful or two of matches. You'll always have a good surface to strike your matches on.
  3. Hand sanitizer and cotton balls: Add a generous amount of hand sanitizer to cotton balls or pads. They should be nice and damp, not dripping wet.
  4. Newspaper log: Recycle your newspapers, keeping the sections together and somewhat thick (7-10 pages). Soak in a plastic tub until throroughly wet. Then roll up, squeezing out as much water as possible, and place in the sun or in front of a fan until thoroughly dry.
  5. Crumpled and balled up newspaper or paper: Crumple up a few layers of newspaper or paper until it's in the size range of a baseball to softball. Not too tight, or it won't burn as well. You can make these over a period of time and drop in a kitchen garbage back to store.

First, always check and obey campfire rules, which can vary widely not only by season and location, but even on a day to day basis. Also, what are the rules around local vs non local firewood? Many national and state campgrounds do not permit you to bring wood from outside the area, from the risk of introducing non-native insects and disease. Use dry, (also referred to as seasoned or cured) firewood. In virtually all campgrounds, each site has a campfire ring. If you don't have a ring, be sure the area if free of all debris, a safe distance from structures, trees and shrubs. We use the teepee method, as it's easy, fast and ensures good airflow. Once the fire is going, you can add to it or let it burn down as your needs dictate.

What you need:

  • Fire starter material/tinder
  • Flame source
  • Large handful of kindling (dry twigs, sticks, firewood splinters, etc) about toothpick to pencil diameter
  • Fuel wood (smallish pieces of firewood)

Let's get started. In the center of your fire ring, place an ample amount of tinder. How much exactly depends on the type of tinder, but the amount roughly cover a dinner plate diameter and be a few inches high. Make sure you keep it loose to facilitate air flow. Next, place your kindling over the tinder so it forms a teepee. This doesn't need to be an exact shape, as long as it's layered over the tinder to so it has plenty of airflow, you should be alright. Then, take 2-3 pieces of small fuel wood and layer them against the kindling. Add flame to the very bottom, in the tinder.

As your tinder burns it will catch the kindling, which in turn will catch the fuel wood. Once the fuel wood really starts to burn, you can add additional firewood, a piece or two at a time. We always try and cross-layer additional firewood. That's pretty much all there is too it! Happy camping!