Campfire Tips For Caveman or Cavewoman Campers

There is nothing more satisfying, whether you are a caveman or a cavewoman, than getting in touch with your primitive side and honing those essential survival skills. Whether you are on a mountainside in the wilds or in a field in the home counties, building your own campfire is a great way to get that great glow of satisfaction from doing a job yourself and taking basic elements into your own hands. It could also be a great way to impress your other half, your friends or the kids. Melted marshmallows can make up for a lot of misery! If you have never started a fire before, or efforts have ended badly in the past, you may be reticent to show off your campfire building skills. But with a little preparation and know-how, anyone can start a fire, just like our cave-dwelling ancestors did.

There are many campsites that do allow campfires and many campsite owners are bowing to popular demand. They have realised our primal urge to make fire and how much fun can be derived from such a simple activity. Follow these hints and tips to make sure your campfire does not turn out to be either a blazing disaster or a damp squib.

  • First of all, it should go without saying that you should only start a fire in a suitable place where you are allowed and it is sensible to do so.
  • Place your fire carefully, make sure it will not spread and of course keep it a good distance from your tent.
  • Use dry firewood – if you think there is little likelihood of finding some on site then you could consider bringing some with you, or buying some, to ensure you don't get a dispiriting sizzling and a futile search for dry kindling.
  • Start small – there is no point trying to start your fire with big logs – these will not burn until you have got things going. Start with newspaper, dry leaves, sheep's wool or similar and then some small twigs.
  • Remember oxygen is an essential component of any fire. Placing your kindling in the centre of a tipi formed with small twigs is a good way to ensure your fledgling fire gets enough air. Never just bang down big logs on your fire when it is just getting started – you risk smothering it and putting it out all together. If there is no wind, blowing gently at your fire may help the kindling to take.
  • You can, however, have too much of a good thing. If it is windy then consider forming a wind break somehow to give your fire a chance to establish itself before it is blown out.
  • Don't be too hasty or impatient – No matter how desperate you are for those sausages or marshmallows, take your time at this initial stage – be gentle and build the fire up slowly. Be attentive but do not poke the fire too much or you do risk putting it out.
  • It is a good idea to have a large pile of wood on hand before you start as trying to keep up with collecting firewood as you go along can be difficult and time consuming. Once the fire is established, you should be able to just sit back, relax, and pop on another log or two from time to time.
  • And remember, you started the fire and it is up to you to put it out. If you need to put out your fire let it die down, then rake around it and bury it with soil if necessary.

All you campfire cavemen and women out there - have fun and be careful!