When building Campfires either out in the woods, at home in your yard in a fire pit, preparation is the key. I have made many fires of the years. My favorite two fire building techniques are the Tipi and the Log Cabin style. Sometimes I will do a combo of the two. My goto materials for starting a fire are:
Materials For Starting Campfires
Aim N Flame type lighter
Newspaper type paper – 8 1/2 X 11 pieces of paper
Enough dry kindling (You can never have too much burning!)
Smaller dry sticks of wood/branches the size of a pencil, 6 inches long (Pine, birch, eucalyptus or elm work well)
Medium size dry pieces of wood- ½ inch to 1 inch in diameter 8-12 inches long (Pine, birch, eucalyptus or elm)
Larger pieces of dry firewood – 2 inches to 4 inches in diameter X 12-16 inches long. Pine, birch, eucalyptus, and elm work well.
Instructions For The Building
The strategy is to use the faster burning material to create the heat needed to get the harder, denser wood ignited. Pine is excellent because it burns hot and fast but must be followed up with the harder wood such as elm, oak or eucalyptus. The wood available to you will depend on your area.
The softwoods such as pine and fir are generally lighter in weight when they are seasoned. Hardwood will be much more massive, even when seasoned due to the increased density of the wood.
I like to crumble up the newspaper 8 ½ X 11 type material into smaller than a tennis ball size, using enough to cover an 8 in X 8 in the square. On the top center of this material, I like to place my dry kindling, either dry grasses, small pieces of bark, or small sticks. Start the log cabin shape at this point. Build it up to about 3-4 inches high. In the center of the log cabin shape, I like to put small waded up pieces of paper, smaller pieces of kindling, and shavings of candle wax.
Once the kindling log cabin shape has been in the establishment, start to build an outer log cabin shape, close to your kindling. As you make it, you will understand more. Start to use the larger 1-inch pieces on the outside. Preparation is the key. Be sure to have sufficient, dry, smaller pieces so that you can keep the fire burning brightly.
Building The Interior Portion Of Campfires
As the interior portion begins to ignite, you can switch over to a tipi style, leaning the more substantial 1 & 2-inch pieces over the sides of your now burning log cabin. As you fire grows, add larger pieces of pine and fir. Once the 3 & 4-inch pieces have fully ignited, it is now time to add your hardwoods such as oak, eucalyptus, and elm.