Camp fire Chatter The Camp fire


Well-Known Member
Oct 23, 2007
Ozark Mo.
When building a fire in an area that allows open fire what is your site preparation?
when building the fire for various reasons like for heat how do for place the firewood? For light? for cooking?
Choosing the firewood dead fall, green, driftwood?
Who tends the fire?
Breaking camp what do you do with the fire pit remains?


Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
Central , Florida
I start with a small twig "T"Pee with a piece of paper under it. Stack the wood so the air can get in there. You can forget the paper if you have some fat wood slivers to use. More on that later.

The "T"Pee is in the center with two larger pieces on each side , about 16 or so inches from each other. With the fat wood , light one end and insert it in the "T"Pee then as it burns add more and large twigs to it till you can add a few larger pieces across the opening , resting the ends of them on the two pieces that were 1st placed on each side. The keep building it as it burns. When the centers burn threw flip the ends into the center. Repeat the process as needed.

When some good coals are there insert a foil wrapped potato for supper and give it about an hour , turning it now and then, adding more wood when necessary. A grill can also be rested on those two logs for cooking a steak just before the spud is done.

After supper and sitting around it add more wood for a good campfire.

I like to use downed or standing dead wood. After supper anyone who thinks it needs another chunk usually puts one or a couple on the fire. Group camping we normally have a large fire to sit around , camping solo all I have is a small one for cooking (if wanted) but mostly for the cheer , warmth , satisfaction and the pleasure a fire give you.
Nothing like a clear night , stars twinkling overhead , a good fire and a strong ( Personally Preferred) drink as you sit there contemplating the wonders of this world.
I know ..It's no fun but someone has to do it.:roll:

Breaking camp , in the morning after a small cooking fire it is soaked really good till the whole thing is a mud puddle and not bubbling.
One trip with a guy , a camping expert according to him , I heard this chop , chop ,chop ,chop...crash. Then more chopping and some cussing. He decided to make the campfire while I set up camp.

Into the camp he comes with an arm full of green oak.( what we call a water oak , guess why it is called that)
He tried to make a fire but was rewarded with nothing. After the snickering I went and got some dead wood and made the fire , advising him to stack his wood over on the side and next year someone could use it for a fire. :lol: :lol: :lol:
Before you ask ....I haven't camped with him any time after that.



Well-Known Member
While I often used to carry a half axe in the car I don't remember ever using it in 30 years, never wanted firewood that badly that I wanted to chop wood for it , I normally just break off the dead lower branches of standing trees and then add some of the bigger dead stuff laying around , if there is a log handy I'll drag it over to a clear area and lay my fire against that so that it will eventually burn through the log and make it easier to handle , in the mean time the log makes a handy wind break ,
Once I have enough coals for cooking I generally drag the log back from the fire so it will either smoulder or go out ,
I don't like a big fire and what fire wood most people go through in a night will last me a week , actually after I've finished eating and cleaned up I turn the lights off ,
I find it very relaxing to sit there in the dark and have a quite drink , my camps are often fairly hard to find of a night , a few times when out shooting the property owner has come out to my camp to have a drink with me and hasn't been able to find my camp until I've turned my torch on , even when he knew exactly where my camp was ,

There have been a few times when I've come upon a downed tree across the road and I've thought that I'd have to get the axe out but after a second more thought I either go around it or just throw a rope on it and drag it out of the way with the car


Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2005
Queensland, Australia
I like a small fire,

I build it similar to Chuck and use what ever I can find that is nearby and dead.

Generally, I dig a small pit in the ground for the fire base and if a solid log is nearby, will drag it over like Dave, to use as a windbreak. I use just enough wood to cook my meals and a little comfort at night - slightly more, if I am using the fire for warmth.

tx river rat

Well-Known Member
Feb 23, 2007
Waco Tx
I do the twig teepe thing if I can't find about a 4 inch log, if I can find a small log I use it to lay my tiggs against which makes a tunnel you can feed another piece of kindling into if you have trouble starting it the first time ( on Jack and my trip I don't think it ever took more than one lighting) Twiggs I start with are mostly up of the ground bottom folaige of off trees is dryer.
After the fire burns down my fold up grill goes over it to cook on and usually a small fire. Jack and I had several nights around the fire with string cheese a adult drink and good conversation.
The water oak reminded me of a trip in Colo hunting ,I forgot my grill ,
I dugg a trench about a foot wide mounded the dirt up on two sides then cut some green aspens layed across about every 4 inches made coffe cooked on them with cat iron skillet for 5 days before they were getting burned into. The sap would be running out both ends

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
For a cooking fire, I like to dig a small hole or trench, according to how many pans I need to put on. Usually a tee pee, or a lean to like Ron said. I usually clean the ends of a couple of sticks, dip them into the gas can, put them at the base of the tee pee and casually drop in a match.

If we're going to have a bonfire-type campfire, I let someone else build that. When I feed it, I put the ends of larger logs & sticks into the fire and edge them forward as they burn.


Well-Known Member
Sep 9, 2007
South Louisiana
I usually do a lean-to against a 3-4" diameter log. I use dried, black Spanish moss for tinder and a few small twigs and a strip of paraffin soaked paper towel for kindling. For a quick cooking fire, I add finger sized branches as needed and let them burn down some. I then lay another log parallel to and 6" away from the first one and use them as my pot support.

For a warming fire, I add bigger branches in a teepee shape allowing plenty of air circulation. If you make the fire as tall or taller then it is wide, you get a lot more heat and light for the amount of wood you burn.

When I break camp, I drown the fire, stir the ashes and drown it until there is no more heat or smoke. After I am sure it's out, I kick the leaf litter back over it and scatter the unburnt wood to make the area look as untouched as possible.


Ps : Dang, this is making me feel like going camping again soon. :)


Well-Known Member
Oct 23, 2007
Ozark Mo.
jdupre' said:
If you make the fire as tall or taller then it is wide, you get a lot more heat and light for the amount of wood you burn.
I wondered if anyone else did that.


Well-Known Member
Jul 22, 2006
Denham Springs, LA
it's a workng platform, they weren't finished building it

it's part of the bonfire on the river tradition here in south LA. local folks burnt fires along the Miss River on Christmas eve to light the way for Papa Noel (Santa Claus).

when the levees were built in the 20's the bonfires moved to the top of the levee. This stack was in Lutcher a couple of years ago and was probably 10' across and maybe 30' high

grandpa paddler

Well-Known Member
May 25, 2005
WNY-land of exhorbitant taxes
Camp fire

Our campfires are primarly for atmoshere, occassionally for warmth or to dry out wet gear/clothing. About the only fire cooking I do anymore is when I use the dutch oven. Usually it's the pocket rocket and an alcohol stove.

On those rare trips that we don't find an established site, we don't build a fire unless it's a necessity, easier for LNT.

The style of fire depends on the site and whats available. Might break off small dead branches but don't cut standing timber even if dead. Some of the areas we go to allow you to use only downed timber.

Now when we're camped at the farm, fire is another matter... it's large, almost always going and there is at least 75 heavily wooded acres to keep us supplied (and busy collecting wood). Usually only camp there over holiday weekends to avoid the crowds eveyplace else. From Memorial day thru Columbus day, we probably burn enough wood to heat my house for the winter.


Well-Known Member
Oct 23, 2007
Ozark Mo.
Here an interesting fire starter trick I found on Grizz's forum

i read in a backwoodsmen magazine,that you can use vasoline
cotton balls and drinking straws to start a fire.
rub vasoline on cottonballs until covered,roll cottonballs between palms of both hands to make it long,then shove it into straw.take
a cigerrette lighter and melt both end of straw to is now completely water use cut a slit in straw bend enough to allow cottonball to come out.pull cottonball out just a little bit
use a magnesium striker.the cottonball catches will burn up catching straw on will burn long enough to get wood to burn.i would imagine a flint and steel striker will work

Too Busy

Well-Known Member
Apr 1, 2008
Summerville, SC
Bringing out the Boy Scout in me

I like to do a leave no trace fire whenever possible. If there is an existing fire ring or fire pit I'll use that...No sense adding to destruction right :wink:

If there isn't a pit or ring here's my site prep options
1. Dig a fire pit 4 ft diameter and at least 1 foot deep. I will remove the sod layer first and as much intact as possible. When I'm done with the fire I can return the earth and sod. The site "heals" in about 2 weeks.

2. I use this one streamside camping a fair bit. Place a ground cloth or a double layer of aluminum foild as a base. Cover with a 4 inch layer of river sand. Build whatever fire style best suits your needs. do your best to fully burn your fuel for easy cleanup. Just scatter ashed and return sand to river bank.
The thickness plus the ground cloth or foil helps protect underlying area from heat.

As for fires
Cooking: a keyhole fire where I drag hot coals into the key slot and place my pots pans on the logs of the slot

ambiance: either a log cabin or a star lay. The log cabin gives more light and heat than a star

Heat for sleeping: a nice long trench fire. Preferably built in front of a nice reflector like a big flat rock


Well-Known Member
May 3, 2008
So Cal USA
Charcoal lighter fluid. Some rocks. Some deadwood. A bic lighter.
This ain't exactly the official boy scout way, but who care's?

Make circle with the rocks. Put in some wood. Helps if it's dry.
Squirt it down with the fluid and light. Bingo! Instant fire. Add wood
as required and sit down and enjoy. If you like you can make a
trypod to hang your dutch oven.

I just use a coleman stove.

Regard's Keith

Deer Slayer

Active Member
Sep 4, 2006
I carry a small metal wash basin which is used as a firepit.....a layer of sand/dirt etc goes in the bottom, small rocks are lined on the inside around the perimeter. If need be, they can be bricked in with a little mud. Larger rocks are used to elevate the "firepit" to keep it off the ground, and if need be the ground beneath can be wetted down a bit. Allows me not to worry about smoldering duff in pristine areas......

Breaking camp, I simply chuck the large rocks back to where they belong, wash off the smallers one a wee bit before chucking them, pack up and out the cold dead ashes, and return the sand to the river......... I always leave a site where no one can tell that I've been there....