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The 5 Most Basic Types of Campfires and What They’re For



Small campfire with gentle flames beside a lake during a glowing sunset | The 5 Most Basic Types of Campfires And What They're For | featured

Learning to build a campfire from scratch is a feat. But knowing the right type of fire to build for your needs is equally important.

The type of fire you need to build depends on how much wood you have and what you're going to use it for. There are certain types best for cooking, for keeping you warm, or for a large group of campers.

RELATED: How to Build A Campfire

Camping 101: The 5 Most Basic Types of Campfires And What They're For

Whatever your purpose, here are the 5 most basic types of campfires and what they're for:


Red flames of teepee campfire on snowy ground at campsite-Types of Campfires

A teepee is the most common and most popular type of campfire. The cone-shaped structure has a base that's wide and circular which allows a good flow of oxygen.

In turn, this type of fire burns hot – ideal for gathering around it for a small group of people. It's also good for cooking quick meals and for warming. Teepee burns quickly, though – it consumes wood rapidly so it requires constant maintenance.

Log Cabin

Cozy fireplace in a cabin-Types of Campfires

The log cabin fire is created by stacking thick logs parallel to one another, leaving space in the middle to allow air to flow. This is a slow-burning fire, but requires little maintenance and burns hot for a long time. The log cabin is ideal for cooler weather when you need to keep warm through the night.


Camp fire bone lay in a circle on the grass during the day-Types of Campfires

Also called the upside-down pyramid, this type of campfire is similar to the log cabin. It is made by stacking thick wood together forming a pound sign and the fire is burned from the top, creating a platform of coals. Because of this, the platform campfire is most ideal for cooking food.

RELATED: Fire Safety Precautions When Building Campfires


big bonfire with sparks and particles in front of forest and starry sky-Types of Campfires

If you're low on firewood, this is the way to go. The star fire burns the wood bit by bit, unlike other types which burn the wood all at once. It is a slow-burning fire that creates a good flame.

This can also be extinguished easily just by pulling the logs away from the center. Start by creating a small tepee fire then lay 5 thick logs around it, forming a “star”.


Remains of a bonfire in a Yukon forest in Canada-Types of Campfires

Having a difficult time creating a campfire because of windy weather? The lean-to fire is your best choice because it uses its own wood as a windbreaker. Even though it's windy, this type of campfire requires little maintenance.

Now that you know the 5 most basic types of campfire and what they're for, you'll be more confident on your next camping trip!

Daniel J. Smith is a survival expert. Having lived the outdoor life since he was very young, he loves sharing his expertise about camping, hiking, traveling, RV living, and many more.

He has also started his own company called OutBright, which will soon be selling products that cater to campers, hikers, travelers, and all outdoor-loving adventurers.

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