How to Build a Log Cabin Campfire

The log cabin style of making a campfire is, in my opinion, the easiest and most reliable way to start a fire if you are car camping.  I am surprised by how many new campers I have met that think they know how to start a fire, but they soon find out that it is a little more difficult than they thought.  Using the log cabin technique can make you look like a pro without much effort.

The design allows for air flow, tinder in the middle and kindling near the top.  This is perfect for the heat, air, fuel combination of fire starting.  Let’s get started:

First gather together some dead sticks, preferably no thicker than a 1/4 inch in diameter.  You should be able to break the sticks pretty easily.  Also gather some small sticks for the top.  Grab some newspaper or dead, dry leaves, and the matches as well.

Lay two larger sticks parallel to each other.  Then turn 90 degrees and lay two more on top of them.  Do one more layer each direction and this time make the sticks a little smaller and move them in a little closer to the middle.

Now add the newspaper or dry leaves.  If you use newspaper, make sure you crumple it up and twist it tight.  It will catch fire easier and burn longer this way.  Fill up the middle of your cabin with your tinder.  Continue laying smaller sticks for one or two more layers.

Now add small sticks across the top and feel free to cover with bark which helps it burn even better.

With the initial construction complete, light a match and light the tinder in several places around the cabin.

As your fire begins to burn, remember not to add large chunks of wood until you get a good flame and some coals.  This concept of fire making can be used for the smaller campfire or even for large bon fires.  When I was younger, I constructed and burned a log cabin fire that was about 10 feet tall.  I don’t recommend doing that in a park though.  ;)

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One Response to “How to Build a Log Cabin Campfire”

  1. [...] Log cabin campfire Use the same kinds of fuel, except now you want to place two large sticks parallel to each other on the ground, then turn 90 degrees and lay two more on top (like a log cabin).  Add another layer in each direction, but use smaller sticks, moving them closer to the middle. Add your tinder in the middle, kindling on top (you can add a large piece of bark over the top of everything to make it burn even better). Light the tinder/kindling in several different places. As it burns, make sure you don’t add any large logs until there’s a strong flame and a few coals. [...]

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