How to Build a Campfire for Cooking: Easy and Simple Techniques

Camping is fun especially for kids. But regardless of the delicious meals and amazing scenery, things won’t be complete without a campfire! For this reason, parents and campers have to learn ways on how to build a campfire for cooking. And that’s exactly what we’re going to share with you in today’s guide at Survival Camping World.

How To Build A Campfire For Cooking

Whether you’re on a weekend or out for the day camping, you have to make sure that food is cooked fresh – and that it tastes good!

And for campers, a camping trip just won’t be as memorable if they won’t be able to build a campfire, not only for cooking but also for gathering everyone around it for the evening. (Remember, marshmallow roasting over a roaring and steady campfire.)

Also, it has been a long-standing tradition in camping to prepare food over real logs regardless you’re cooking in foil, grilling or boiling. After all, food cooked over campfire also has this woodsy, smoky and interesting flavor and smell.

What you’ll need

  • Kindling materials are small twigs or sticks generally with one inch (diameter). They can keep the fire going even after the tinder materials have been used up.
  • Tinder is dry materials that can catch fire easily with a spark. Some of these include dry leaves and grasses. They can also be forest duff or some stuff from home, such as lint and newspaper.
  • Firewood is a large wood, which can sustain and keep the fire going all day or night.

The Methods

There are several methods in building campfire for cooking. So if you want to master how to survive in the wilderness, make sure to discover, practice and learn of these basic campfire-building skills.

Log Cabin Technique: The Practical and Basic Fire Building Method

  1. Have two logs in parallel to each other, but make sure there is at least a 7-inch space between them. Position them in the middle of the pit.
  2. Get your kindling material and lay one row of it. Make sure that they perpendicular to the two logs so that they can form a base together.  On top, put plenty of tinder.
  3. Turn 90 degrees, and over the kindling’s end, lay two logs.
  4. Again, turn 90 degrees, and then have another row of kindling materials, which must be perpendicular to the firewood.
  5. Keep on adding logs, smaller ones first while changing direction for every layer. This will help you come up with a log cabin like structure.
  6. To finish the log cabin fire-building method, get two logs and have them in the center so that they catch fire.
  7. Start lighting your tinder, and keep adding wood to keep the fire going.

Video Tutorial: Camp Fire: Log Cabin Method

Teepee Method: Easy Campfire-Building Technique

Pile some tinder materials in the fire pit’s center portion.

Just around the tinder, put up a teepee. Make sure that the sticks are leaning well enough against each other so that they support one another. Take note of the proper spacing between them to let enough airflow.

Light the dry leaves or grasses or any tinder materials inside your teepee. When the kindling started catching fire, you can start adding firewood on top of it.

Use the smaller firewood first. When the fire starts building up, you can begin adding the thicker and larger logs to keep strong and steady flames.

Video Tutorial: How To Make A Fire – TeePee Method

Finding Wood for the Campfire Cooking

NOTE: If you cannot find dry wood near the site, you may want to check out a local general store before the trip. In some campground, they also sell firewood.

Looking for wood in the campsite is another essential task to do when trying to building that ideal cooking fire in the campsite.

  • Generally, you will need hardwood because it lasts longer and can keep the flames going steady for the night.
  • You don’t have to cut off live tree branches because they will just make the entire experience more time consuming and bothersome.
  • Also, branches from live trees are wet and full of moisture, so they would just make too much smoke. They can also release more pollutants in the air.

Choosing the location for the campfire for cooking

Supposed you already have the firewood with you, the next thing you need is to choose the campfire location. What are the characteristics of the best spots?

  • Clear of any low-lying branches and any bushes
  • Rocky and flat ground

NOTE: Some campgrounds already have fire pits where the campers can cook their food.

A Beginner’s Simple Campfire Building Guide

  1. When you have the fire site picked out, look for and arrange at least a dozen of soft rocks.
  2. Arrange them to form a U shape. However, you should be careful in maintaining the fire if it is windy. Also, fire might start elsewhere due to the windswept ashes.
  3. If you can find a large rock, you can put it towards the wind direction to shield your pit from winds. This can help you start a good fire with your firewood, tinder and kindling materials.
  4. It will also help in funneling the smoke in a single direction aside from giving you a good start in making a campfire for cooking.
  5. When you have established your fire pit, gather old newspaper and crumple them.
  6. Put them at the pit’s bottom. You must be able to cover the papers with your kindling materials, but make sure these are in alternating directions and are laid flat across the papers.
  7. Light the papers. When the kindling materials are burning, you can start adding wood.
  8. Make sure to distribute fire evenly.
  9. When the fire turns to coals, you can use a small stick to distribute the fire toward the other or on one end, making a side hotter than another side is.
  10. Start cooking when the fire died.

More Tips and Considerations for Campfire Building

Planning is important for campfire cooking. There are other tips and considerations you may want to know in making a campfire for site cooking.

Campfire Cooking Equipment h4

Before setting out to camp, you should also be ready planning for the utensils and equipment to help you in performing the cooking task. Kitchen supplies, pans, pots and utensils are important.

  • A thick and large pot can be used directly to hang over the fire.
  • You can also use the Dutch oven, the most popular modern cooking tool.
  • Alternatively, you can bring some of your cooking equipment from back home. But then, make sure that they can withstand the outdoors. For example, avoid bringing wooden spoons because they are not suitable for open fire cooking.
  • Regarding pans and pots, cast iron types can be better options for fire pit cooking, even if they are quite heavy and bulky to pack and carry.
  • Also, you may want to consider taking longer utensils because they can keep your hands away from the burning heat from the campfire.


Safe drinking and cooking water for everyone in the campsite is crucial to keep everyone unharmed from water-borne disease-causing pathogens.

To filter water easily from sources, such as ponds and streams, you may want to use LifeStraw, a popular water purification tool or device used by hikers and campers alike to filter and clean water.


Choose one that is far away from combustibles and bushes, usually at least eight feet from them. No overhanging trees must also be near the pit.


The kindling must be laid in layers over the paper, and they need to be in alternating direction – and that is with every layer.

You should also use small dead branches or splits of wood.

The entire area may be covered with the stack of kindling. Near the fire area, you should have a bucket of water ready just in case you would need it later.


Take note of the wind, either medium or strong winds are dangerous. Windswept sparks can start forest fire or ignite fire from dry leaves elsewhere.

A windy fire pit will also reduce the wood easily and quickly, wasting instead of making it useful for cooking. You may also make or look for a wind shelter.


Camping is an enjoyable activity and so with campfire cooking in an open fire. However, it must not be entered into lightly because of the potential hazards, such as wildfire, involved.

For this reason, be responsible and aware of your surroundings. Let’s say, it is windy in the area where you are planning to set up the fire pit. If that’s the case, you may want to find a wind shelter or make one with a large rock, for instance, before lighting your materials.

Most importantly, you may look for another spot to build the campfire as much as possible.

Final Thoughts

You’re good to go that you know of the basics on how to build a campfire for cooking!

Hope you picked up something from this guide and be able to build a strong and steady campfire that will last long!  Finally, always be responsible and aware of your surroundings. Never leave fire burning when not in use and avoid windy places where to set up the cooking site.

You won’t want to keep this information to yourself, dear reader! Help others learn the basics of cooking in the campsite by sharing this post on social media today!

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