How To Build A Campfire – Step By Step Guide

how to build a campfire

So, you are wondering how to build a campfire? I have built many of them and if you like to learn how to start a campfire I think you came to the right place.

Key Takeaways On How To Build a Campfire

  • Find a safe spot.
  • Build a fire ring
  • Use Tinder which ignites easy
  • Use Kindling to start the fire
  • Use firewood to keep the fire burning,

As you might know, I started doing more cooking on a campfire on the firepit in my backyard.

With this experience, I have built a routine on how to start a fire easy and safe by using the right types of firewood.

Here you can read all my tips and advice about that.

Find or Build A Fire Ring

For building a  campfire a fire ring is a must-have item when it comes to outdoor gatherings or camping events.

It is an excellent way to contain the fire and keep your fire safe.

You can either find a pre-made fire ring at your local hardware or camping store, or you can build one yourself, as I did and use this as base of your fire. 

If you are looking to purchase one, there are many options available that you can choose from. They are usually made of heavy-duty steel or cast iron and come in different shapes and sizes.

Some may have designs or patterns on them, while others are plain and simple.

If you decide to build one yourself, you can either use stones or concrete blocks to create a circular or square shape. 

The fire ring should be placed in an open area away from any flammable objects, such as trees or bushes.

“You should also consider the local fire regulations in your area before starting a fire.”

Once your fire ring is set up, you can sit around it with friends and family and enjoy the warmth of the fire while roasting marshmallows or telling ghost stories. 

Well built campfire

Build The Campfire

The first step is to find a suitable location for your campfire, which should be a flat area with no potential fire hazards nearby, such as overhanging branches or dry vegetation. 

Clear the ground of any debris, dirt, or rocks, and create a circle of stones or rocks to contain the fire.

The next step is to gather firewood – dry kindling and larger logs – from the surrounding area, or from your firewood pile. 

It’s essential to respect the natural environment and avoid damaging any living trees or plants by collecting fallen branches or using a portable camping stove instead if necessary. To start the fire, place the kindling inside the fire ring and light it with a match or lighter.

As the flames grow, add the larger logs one by one to keep the fire going.

“To keep the fire stays under control, don’t stack the wood too high and keep a bucket of water or sand nearby in case of any emergencies. “

Materials You Will Need For Building A Campfire

It is important to gather the materials you will need before you start a campfire. Finding a designated fire ring or building one yourself was the first step.

The next one is to collect Tinder, kindling, and firewood. This can range from thicker branches to logs.


Tinder refers to small materials that will ignite easily, such as dry leaves, grass, or paper.


Kindling is slightly larger and typically consists of thin sticks and twigs.


Firewood is the larger piece of wood that will keep the fire burning for a longer period of time.

Begin by placing two small pieces of firewood in the center of the fire ring, perpendicular to one another, creating a cone shape.

Place some kindling and tinder in the center of the cone to get the fire started. As the tinder begins to ignite, slowly add more kindling and firewood to maintain the fire.

Remember to always keep a close eye on the campfire and never leave it unattended.

campfire wood on a pile

“With these materials and proper precautions, you can enjoy a cozy and safe campfire experience.”

Light The Campfire

Lighting the campfire the right way is a crucial skill. T

The steps to light the campfire are as followed.

1: Light the tinder using a lighter or fire starter.

If a lighter is not available, waterproof matches can also be used.

2: Once the tinder ignites, it is time to start adding larger twigs and branches to increase the size of the fire.

3: Add even bigger sticks or logs to keep the fire going.

For a more in-depth answer you can read my how to start a campfire article

It is important to maintain a safe distance from the fire and keep a bucket of water nearby in case of an emergency.

Another thing to keep in mind as discussed before is that the fire should be built in a designated area to avoid spreading and causing harm to wildlife and natural surroundings.

Although the warmth and ambiance of a campfire are delightful, it’s important to acknowledge that fire burns and how dangerous it can be.

“Always practice proper fire safety when building a campfire.”

By doing so, you can create a cozy atmosphere while ensuring the safety of yourself and others. 

How To Keep The Campfire Burning 

It can be challenging to finally know how to build a campfire and not knowing how to keep your fire burning all night long. The key to maintaining a steady and robust fire is starting with a good foundation of dry kindling and then slowly adding larger pieces of firewood as the fire burns. 

If the fire starts to die down, don’t simply add more wood; instead, break up any larger pieces into smaller logs or add some dry leaves and twigs to help the fire catch them.

On the other hand, if the fire is becoming too big, use a stick to push the logs further apart.

Never pour accelerants like gasoline onto the fire, as this is extremely dangerous and can result in dangerous and unpredictable fires.

“With a bit of careful attention and maintenance, keeping a campfire burning brightly and safely for hours is achievable. “

How To Make A Smokeless Campfire

Making a smokeless campfire is a great way to enjoy your campfire even more. No one enjoys sitting in a bunch of smoke coming from the campfire. 

The key to a smokeless campfire is to use small, dry twigs and branches instead of large pieces of wood.

Start by making a small pile of kindling and place it in the center of your fire pit.

Use a fire starter or matches to light the kindling and then add more small pieces of wood as the fire begins to grow.

Make sure you do not add too much wood at once, as this can cause the fire to produce smoke.

It is important to keep the fire small and contained. Another way to make a smokeless fire is to use charcoal, which produces less smoke than traditional wood fires. 

I have seen people using a small handheld fan and this can help increase airflow to the fire, which can also reduce smoke production. 

“By following these tips, you can create a smokeless campfire and enjoy a safe and comfortable outdoor experience. “

cooking on a campfire

Extinguish The Campfire 

Before leaving your campsite, it is crucial to ensure that all flames and embers are fully extinguished.

This can be done by dousing the flames with water until the fire is no longer burning. It’s important to continue pouring water until the coals are cool to the touch.

Never leave your fire unattended or assume that it’s out because there are no flames.

Even a small ember can quickly ignite and start a wildfire.

Remember, fire can spread quickly and cause immeasurable harm to the surroundings and even your own yard or house(1).

It’s vital to act responsibly and extinguish your fire completely before leaving. 

Also, be sure to rake any remaining coals and ashes and scatter them around the campsite. 

Wetting these remnants will help ensure that they do not reignite. Properly extinguishing your campfire will help preserve the natural environment and keep everyone safe.

“Be a responsible camper or backyard over-the-fire pitmaster, and always remember to extinguish your campfire completely before leaving any campsite or going back inside. “

Clean Up The Campfire

After the campfire is out, the first step is to remove all the larger logs and sticks that did not end up burning.

It’s important to pack out any garbage that was brought in. Though these actions may seem small, they greatly contribute to preserving our natural environment.

So, the next time you enjoy a campfire, remember that the environment is equally crucial and give back by taking responsibility for cleaning up. 

As in most of my posts I am trying to find a video that can explain things a little easier.

YouTube video player

How To Build  A Campfire – My Exprience

I have built many campfires in my backyard firepit to cook meals with my cast iron pots and pans. If you like to know what I use have a look at my post about the, in my opinion, best open fire cooking equipment.

Throughout the years I have learned, sometimes the hard way, that there is a right way how to build a campfire and not get smothered in smoke.

I wrote this article purposely also including how to do the whole campfire thing safely on the campground or when camping out in the wild.

Is this the ultimate guide? Probably not. But it will help you get a fire started the right and safe way by using pieces of tinder and kindling and slowly adding larger sticks to build up the fire.

Eddie van Aken

Eddie van Aken brings years of experience from running a full-service restaurant, where he honed his skills with all types of kitchen equipment. His expertise extends to mastering the art of outdoor cooking, utilizing the right recipes to enhance flavors on grills and smokers. Eddie’s in-depth knowledge allows him to provide comprehensive grill reviews and valuable outdoor cooking tips, helping enthusiasts make the most of their grilling adventures. You can read more on the About page for Eddie van Aken

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