Whether you’re camping in the wild, in your own backyard or in a camper trailer, a campfire hearth is an essential component of a successful and relaxing stay outdoors. It will keep you warm, provide light and help you cook your food. With a few basic tips, you can build your own hearth that will make any camping trip more comfortable and enjoyable.
First, you need to gather tinder, kindling and fuel wood. You can use anything from a bundle of crumpled newspaper to dried twigs or pine needles to dryer lint. You should also bring a long match and some fire starters to get the fire started.
Once you have your tinder, kindling and fuel wood together, form a small teepee around the tinder. Leave an opening on the wind side to ensure that air gets in and fuels the fire. Start by placing a match under your tinder and continue to add kindling until the blaze is big enough to burn your fuel wood.
Next, build a larger teepee structure over the teepee of tinder and kindling using your fuel wood. This structure will help the fire build quickly because it directs the flame upwards.
The teepee will not only allow the fire to burn faster, but it will help the logs and embers burn better. Once the smaller logs and embers catch, the larger ones will start to burn too, creating a roaring fire that is sure to warm you up.
Depending on how well the fire catches, you can add another layer of smaller logs and embers on top of your stack. This will keep the flames a little longer and let you enjoy fuss-free warmth for hours without needing to constantly stir or move your fire.
You can then add a few more logs, leaving enough space between each to give the fire room to breathe. Repeat this process until your logs are burning well.
For a fire that is going to last all night, you’ll need to add some large logs to the bottom of your stack. Be sure to place these in a straight line, not leaning side to side or back and forth, because it will take some time for the bigger pieces of wood to catch fire.
After a while, the larger wood will start to dry out and the fire will slow down. You’ll need to add more logs as the fire dies down, but you should only do this after the embers have died down and you’re no longer having to stir the fire.
You can always put out the fire by hand, but it may be easier to use a grate for extra safety. If you don’t have one, just layer ash and a few pieces of loosely balled up newspaper in the center of your fire. This will help prevent the ash from catching on fire and create a mess.