The cornerstone of every camping trip or patio party is a good fire to gather around. What’s better than sitting around a good crackler and sharing stories and laughs with your nearest and dearest? Not much. The answer is not much.
But did you know that not all campfires are one size style fits all? Some are built for long lasting heat, some are built to cook a quick meal, some are even built to burn in the rain! We’ve created a quick list of fire lays, their purposes, and easy instructions for you to reference before setting up your next burn.
The reliable blaze is the standard lay of campfires. This is a great fire for novices and pros alike and is a quick build that provides the best heat for cooking a simple meal. Aside from its food prep prowess, the tepee’s intense fast burning flames also throw out enough heat to warm everyone who gathers around it, and it usually lasts a few hours before collapsing on itself, making it perfect for small, short social gatherings. If you need to get a fire built quickly, this is your go to!
1. Cooking skewers, hot dogs, or smores
2. Gathering friends for a short, warm, social fire
1. Situate all of your kindling and tinder (dry leaves, twigs, paper) in the middle of your firepit
2. Set up your firewood outside of the kindling, standing on end, tips touching in at the top, making the shape of a tepee
3. Light the tinder
The log cabin is a long lasting, low effort fire that is known for creating long duration warmth. Its consistent heat output and level lay also make this fire the best choice for cooking larger meals and heating liquids. This build burns evenly, creating a stable temperature, and the flat cooking surface is a great place to (safely) set a pan down without worrying about a hot pot precariously balanced on uneven firewood over an open flame
1. Long term warmth with minimal work to keep burning
2. Cooking larger campfire meals, boiling liquids, or grilling over its coals once the fire has burned down
1. Place your tinder in the center of your fire pit.
2. Grab the two largest log and use them as your bottom layer (with your kindling between them). You’ll lay these parallel to each other, then stacking two more in the opposite direction on top of that, and two more in the opposite pattern on top of that until your stack reaches your desired height.
3. Ignite your tinder and enjoy.
Rain and wind are usually not conducive to a great fire, but if you’re staying out in elements and need to get a campfire going despite the less than pleasant conditions, the lean-to is your go to! You’ll be constructing a lean-to style structure, using a large log as the back, downwind wall and some smaller firewood leaned up against it in a tepee style fashion. The space in between the back, or reflecting wall log and the smaller kindling is your fire area, which will be protected from the weather if built correctly. One thing to keep in mind when leaning is that although this is the most useful lay for rainy and windy conditions, you will still need dry firewood to get started.
1. Cooking and heat in wet camping conditions
1. Lie a large, sturdy log in a downwind position. This will be the back wall of your lean to.
2. Rest smaller firewood sticks in an angled, standing position against the back wall.
3. Place kindling/tinder inside the open area between the back and side walls of your lean to. You’ll add larger pieces of wood on this pile once the fire is going.
4. Ignite your tinder and enjoy.
These fire lies are just a few that you can add to your outdoors toolkit, and ones that you don’t need to be an Eagle Scout to build. Impress your friends and family with your new found fire pit prowess and enjoy the warm glow, the delicious food, and the hours of laughs and conversation that come with your newfound skill!