Introduction: How to Build a Campfire

This is a simple guide to building a stacked campfire in one of the quickest and easiest ways possible.


Seasoned wood, a lighter, wood shavings, an axe and a hunting knife.

Step 1: Location

It is important to find a location where you can set up a campfire safely as well as legally. I recommend finding a spot in an area that is not too dry so the fire doesn’t accidentally become a hazard. The best locations to build a campfire are in open areas away from roads, buildings and trees.

Step 2: Selecting Seasoned Wood

Find or purchase your wood. The more seasoned (dryer) the wood, the easier it is to light. Using wood that is too wet or still green is not a good choice because it is much harder to burn. (Using hard woods such as madrone, live oak, ash, hickory, walnut and fruit trees allows for a better burn and a longer campfire. It is a bit more expensive if you plan on buying your wood; but you can definitely tell the difference between seasoned wood and green wood.)

Step 3: Building the Base

Once you find a safe location and have a dry supply of wood, you can start building your campfire. To start, use the axe to chop the wood into little sticks (also known as pencils), these will act as the wall of the campfire.

Step 4: Pencils

Take two pencils and line them up side by side about 6-8 inches apart.

Step 5: Stacking

Once the base is secure, take another 2 pencils and line them up perpendicularly to the base on top of the previously placed pencils. Continue in this pattern until your pencils create a rectangular shape (it should almost look almost like a log cabin).

Step 6: Fire Safety

Place a circle of stones around the campfire (this step is optional but also recommended). The stones that surround the fire act as a containment barrier so the fire does not escape. Note: do not use cobble stone because they may explode in the heat.

Step 7: Kindling

Using the hunting knife, shave enough wood to use as a kindling agent to start the fire. Place the shavings in the center of the wood, start your lighter and place it in the center of the campfire.

Step 8: Burning

Blow gently on the fire to give it enough oxygen to burn. Once the fire is started, slowly feed it more wood until it grows to the desired size.