Campfire tips and techniques
When camping on a chilly evening a warm fire is the greatest treat and the perfect centre piece for an evening full of stories and toasted marshmallows.
The trick to a building a quick and easy-to-light campfire is dry wood. The most ideal set up for camping is to bring or purchase 8-12 inch logs that have been dried out for at least a year. Of course, many of us would prefer the experience of finding our own campfire wood and starting from scratch so when hunting for firewood you want to find pieces that are as dry as possible and preferably not green. The trick is with whatever wood you use to cut it according to its dryness. So the dryer the wood the chunkier the logs can be. If you wood is green or damp the wood needs to be cut and split so that it is in smaller pieces and can dry out and light more easily. As you split the wood try to collect some shavings and chips as they will provide great kindling for your fire.
Kindling is little pieces of wood or paper that easily light and burn to spread the fire. Dry twigs and twine make excellent kindling and tightly rolled newspapers are also a good fire starter.
Starting the fire
Make sure your fire pit is clear and dry. Place crumpled newspaper, shavings, twigs and other bits of kindling onto a mound in the centre of the fire pitch. Stack 3-4 of your logs or pieces of wood over the mound making a pyramid shape. Light the paper underneath the logs in 2-3 places until it has caught fire. The kindling and the logs should begin to burn, fan the fire or blow to increase the oxygen levels which help the fire burn. Start adding more wood to the fire starting with the smaller softer pieces of wood and working up to the chunky hard pieces.
A good tip when you’ve got your fire going is to stack any damp wood near the heat of the fire to begin to dry off. Make sure that the wood is not close enough to catch fire and remember that fire can jump so make sure that you continually turn the pieces of wood to make sure they are not dry enough to catch alight.
Make sure that your campfire is small and manageable. Always supervise small children around the fire and keep a bucket of water in case of emergencies. Douse the fire with water before leaving it and make sure the area is left clear and safe.