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Different Types of Campfires To Build On Your Next Journey


Nothing makes for a more perfect night than sitting around a cozy, crackling campfire with friends and family. It’s one of the most primitive bonding experiences you can have, and it’s an always-reliable gateway activity to interesting conversations and long-lasting memories. When people come in to browse our selection of new and used RVs for sale at our Michigan RV dealership, we continually hear them remark about cherished moments of their childhood spent camping with family, just cooking s’mores over the fire and roasting hot dogs over the flames. But to have this idyllic camping experience, you need a campfire. So to help make sure you aren’t just left with a pile of twigs and tinder and a bunch of uncharred logs, here are five different types of campfires to build on your next journey!

The Tepee Fire

Perhaps the most quintessential campfire of them all is that of the tepee. This reliable design produces a hearty flame and makes for an easy build. To begin, start by leaning small, dry pieces of wood into a triangular 3-D shape so that it forms a tepee of twigs. Make sure to leave a door or opening in your logs so that you have a place to put the tinder inside. As you layer your twigs outward, feel free to increase them in size. Once you’re ready to light it up, place your nest of tinder through the door and into the center of your tepee. Then set it aflame. The shape of your sticks will help to concentrate the fire, and the openings between your sticks will allow air inside to feed the flames. As the fire grows, continue to add more wood.

The Platform Fire

If you’re looking to have a big bonfire on your next camping trip, then the platform fire might just be the right one for you! With a platform fire, each layer should be perpendicular to the one before it, so it creates a log cabin look. Start by carving out a shallow trench in the dirt below where you intend to build your fire. This trench will be used later to slide your tinder beneath your platform of wood. From there, create a four-sided foundation using your thickest sticks. On top of this foundation, place a spaced-out row of sticks. On both sides of this layer, place two sticks parallel to one another. Repeat this step, alternating sides so you create a hollow cavity surrounded by a wall of sticks. In this hollow, place a nest of dry tinder materials. On top of your tinder, place a layer of closely-spaced sticks. Use these sticks as a platform for kindling and top your kindling with thicker fuel sticks. Start your fire by putting your bundle of tinder in the trench and igniting it.

The Star Fire

For campers with a limited amount of wood, the star fire is a great building method to create a long-lasting fire that controls the rate of burn. And what makes this fire even better is that it’s so easy to build! Start by gathering together your tinder and kindling in a highly-flammable bundle. Place between 3-5 logs of this bundle so that they jut out in a star-like formation. Ignite your tinder and wait for your kindling to catch fire. As the fire grows and consumes your logs, push them deeper into the fire. For a more low-maintenance fire, use the fire ring at your campsite or dig a circular hole and lean your logs against it. With this method, gravity will feed your logs into the fire the more they burn down.

The Lean-To Fire

In heavy winds, this lean-to fire will be the way to go! Start making this fire with a large log, and use it to prop your kindling up so that it leans against the log on a slant. Beneath your leaning kindling sticks, place your bundle of tinder and light it. The tinder will bring the flame to your kindling while the large log will act as a wind break to protect against heavy gusts. As the fire consumes your kindling, add on larger sticks and branches to continue feeding the flame.

The Trench Fire

The last fire building method we’re going to discuss is the trench fire. This method is ideal for windy weather or when you are forced to use wood that is of poor quality. Start by placing two large logs parallel to each other so they are close together but not touching. Position them so that they follow the direction of the wind. If the ground is wet, line the ground between the logs with a layer of rocks. Put your tinder on top of your rocks or on the ground between your logs, and surround it with kindling sticks. For more fuel, you can also line kindling across the top of your two logs. To get the flames going, light your tinder and watch your trench fire ignite!

With your roaring campfire ablaze at your campsite, head into your fifth wheel, toy hauler, or travel trailer and grab some ingredients for a delicious campfire-cooked snack! Try this awesome recipe for campfire pizza nachos, and top it off with this blackberry cobbler campfire dessert! And if you’ve read this article, attempted any of these fires, and still can’t seem to get the flame to catch on, you can always check out this blog post on the best portable stoves for camping! Which type of campfire do you prefer to build on your RVing journeys? Let us know in the comments!

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