How to Create a Campfire - Part 2: The Wood

How to Create a Campfire - Part 2: The Wood

To continue our series on making a campfire we now going to chat about collecting firewood.  Don't underestimate the important of selecting the most appropriate wood for your environment.

Collecting Firewood

To burn a successful fire, you’ll need three types of fuel: tinder, kindling and firewood.

  • Tinder includes small twigs, dry leaves, needles or forest duff.
  • Kindling consists of small sticks, typically less than one inch around.
  • Firewood is any larger piece of wood and is what will keep your fire going long into the night.


Use only local firewood. Nearby stores often carry firewood, and sometimes campground hosts offer bundles of firewood or kindling for sale.

Do not bring wood with you if you’re traveling from more than 50 miles away. Campgrounds may even ban bring-your-own firewood regardless of the distance you travel. Why? To avoid introducing troublesome insects into a forest.

Call the campground or a local ranger office in advance for information and advice.


If you forage for firewood, gather only downed wood far from your site. Never cut live trees or break off branches from standing trees, even dead trees. Birds and wildlife make use of dead branches and snags.

Do not gather or burn pieces thicker than an adult’s wrist. This is because thick chunks of wood are rarely allowed to burn completely and are typically left behind as blackened, unsightly scraps.

Remember to follow Leave No Trace principles when gathering wood. 

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