What is the best wood to burn in a campfire? There are many types of wood that can be used, but some are better than others. In this blog post, we will explore ten great options for burning wood and what to expect from each type.
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How To Choose The Best Wood to Burn in a Campfire
When deciding on what wood to use in your campfire, you’ll want to make a few considerations:
Hardwood or Softwood?
Hardwood is generally considered to be wood from deciduous trees. This includes oak, maple, dogwood, walnut, and so on. Softwood is generally pine or other coniferous tree species. Hardwood burns longer but also emits more smoke than softwood because of the denser structure. Hardwoods are also more challenging to split into smaller pieces due to their density.
Softwoods are usually cheaper, produce less smoke, and burn faster than hardwood. Softer woods also have a low ignition temperature which makes them slightly easier to light up in comparison to harder wood types.
You’ll want to use hardwood if you’re looking for a long-lasting fire with consistent radiant heat. This can be good for cold nights, late nights, and meals that will take a long time to cook over the flames.
Softwoods are best for fast and hot fires. This may be best if you’re trying to cook something quickly or you want a fire that catches easily. It will also extinguish more quickly than denser woods, so you don’t have to worry about putting it out at the end of the night.
Is the Wood Seasoned?
Seasoned wood, also known as cured or dried wood, is wood that is dry enough to burn well. Furthermore, it will generally have a moisture content of less than 20 percent by weight, which reduces the smoke it produces during combustion.
Seasoned wood also has fewer air pockets in its structure compared to green or non-seasoned wood, which helps increase fire intensity and heat output through increased airflow within the fuel.
You can purchase wood that is pre-seasoned or season your logs yourself. In order to do this, you can stack your wood for about six months. Another method involves placing your wood in the sun for several days to accelerate the drying process.
Is It Easy and Affordable To Get This Wood?
Certain woods are easy to obtain, and this is usually because it is local and plentiful. Some woods may be harder to come by and more expensive and you may have to have them delivered.
Keep in mind that certain woods aren’t allowed in state or national campgrounds, due to invasive species or other reasons. Be sure to check the rules before you go.
Ten Best Woods To Burn In a Campfire
Next time you go camping, don’t simply plump for your standard fire starter logs. There are a whole host of affordable and easy to find types of wood that will suit your campfire perfectly:
Hickory is a popular campfire wood due to its high density and ability to burn slowly and evenly. It’s also a very desired smoking and grilling flavor, so it’s ideal if you want to cook meat and fish on your camping trip.
Hickory is pretty easy to find and buy, although it may be slightly more expensive than other options. It’s best for use in late evenings or when you want a long-lasting fire that will give off good heat steadily.
Maple is another great wood to burn in a campfire due to its low moisture content and high BTU rating. It’s very common throughout the United States and Canada.
Maple tends to burn longer than other woods, but it also produces more smoke compared to other options on this list. This is due to the wood’s density and low moisture content, which means you may have to put it out after a few hours if you don’t want too much smoke in your camping area.
Pine is another great option for campfires. It’s highly combustible because of its high resin content, so it will be easy to light and maintain your fire. There are over 120 types of pine trees in the world, so you’ll have no problem finding a good wood source for your trip.
Pine is fairly common and easy to find in many regions, but it’s also lightweight, so you may need more of it than other woods since it burns quickly. This might not be the best choice if you want long-lasting heat or aren’t able to come across a lot of large pieces.
Oak is a popular wood for campfires because of its long-lasting flame and high heat output. It’s also very dense, so it will burn slowly and steadily over a long period of time. Oak is also very heavy, so you will need to be prepared to do a lot of heavy lifting on your trip. This wood also takes a very long time to season – over a year – so you may want to purchase it pre-seasoned if possible.
Birch is a popular softwood that is easy to find in many forests. It’s also a lightweight wood that burns well and has a high BTU rating. Birch is best used after being seasoned since it can produce a sticky gummy substance if burned fresh, which may create some residue in the firepit.
Ashwood is a great wood for campfires since it is simultaneously lightweight and tough, making it easy to carry and long-lasting in a fire. Ashwood also creates a great coal bed which is perfect for slow roasting meals over your campfire. The longer you season this wood, the better it will burn in your campfire, so make sure to take some time to do this.
Black cherry wood is a perfect balance of hardwood and softwood. This means that it is easy to light and gets hot fast but can last for a decent amount of time without any additional wood being added. It lets off a medium amount of smoke in comparison to other woods and has an appealing and unique aroma. Many people enjoy smoking foods with this wood due to its flavor.
Beechwood is a great choice for campfire wood. It has a medium heat output and is incredibly dense so it can burn all night long. Since the logs burn slowly, there is a minimal amount of smoke, making it more pleasant for those that want to huddle around their campfire for warmth. This wood is so dense that it needs at least a year of seasoning to dry out and can be very heavy to carry.
Another incredibly dense and long-burning wood that is great for cold nights and those who want to build efficient-burning fires. Dogwood is also great for those who want an aromatic camping experience since it has a unique and pleasant smell when burned. You can also easily use its coals to roast food for long periods of time.
The Douglas fir is a great choice for a campfire. It is lightweight and easy to carry but also burns well with a high heat output that can last you all night long. Douglas fir is a very common wood so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find in most forests, but the branches are smaller than other woods so you may need to look for larger trees to have enough wood. Make sure to season this wood for about a year and enjoy its aromatic smell.
Campfires are a great way to create long-lasting warmth and safety during cold days or nights. It can be tough choosing what type of wood to use for your campfire, but the best option is typically one that burns well with high heat output like pine, oak, birchwood, ashwood, cherrywood, or dogwood.
Of course, personal preference will also play into this decision so make sure you think about which types of woods you prefer before making your final selection. Go ahead and try several different varieties to get a chance to enjoy the unique properties of each of them.