When the sun goes down and the temperature starts to drop, there’s nothing better than gathering around a warm campfire. The flickering flames provide comfort and warmth, and they also create a sense of community. The last thing you want is to keep having to stoke the flames, so knowing how to keep a camp fire going all night is crucial.
With a little preparation and know-how, it’s easy to keep your fire going strong.
Read on and we will show you ways to keep your campfire burning all night long.
How To Keep A Camp Fire Going All Night: 7 Easy Ways
1. Use Dry Seasoned Wood
This is the most important thing you can do to keep your fire going. Green or wet wood will create a lot of smoke and make it difficult to get a strong flame.
This is because the water in the wood needs to evaporate before it will start to burn. Seasoned wood is dry and has a lower moisture content, making it much easier to light and keep burning.
Technically, dry wood may burn faster, because there is less water weight. But, it will also create less smoke and produce more heat.
Make sure to purchase seasoned wood or cut and split your own a few months in advance so it has time to dry out. Some people even let their firewood sit for 1 to 2 years in order to fully dry it out.
You can tell if the wood is seasoned if it is a deep brown colour and makes a hollow sound when you hit two pieces together. The end of the logs may also have cracks in them from drying out.
Most wood at a camping facility such as a state park or national forest will be dry and seasoned. However, it’s always a good idea to bring your own just in case.
If you’re unsure, ask a ranger or the camp host about the best places to find wood for your fire.
2. Bring Or Make a Fire Reflector
A fire reflector is a piece of metal or foil that you place under your wood to help reflect heat back up. This helps to create an evenly burning fire and prevent hot spots.
If you plan on having a fire roasting all night long, a reflector will help to retain the heat, which will make it easier for you to keep your wood burning.
You can find fire reflectors online or at most camping stores. You can also make your own using heavy-duty aluminium foil. Simply fold the foil into a large square or rectangle and place it under your wood.
You can even use cookie sheets, pie tins, or other pieces of metal that will reflect heat.
Keep in mind that the fire reflector will get extremely hot during this process. Try to keep small children and pets away from the area to avoid any accidents.
Also, be sure to place the fire reflector on a non-flammable surface such as dirt, sand, or gravel. Otherwise, the heat could concentrate and start a larger fire in an unintended area.
3. Increase the Size of Your Logs Over Time
Logs serve as the foundation for your fire. If oxygen is the fuel, then your fire logs are the car. In order to keep your fire going, you’ll need to add more logs as time goes on.
The general rule is to add one log for every half hour to 1 hour that you want your fire to burn. So, if you want your fire to last all night, you should have enough wood to last at least eight hours.
Keep adding larger pieces of wood as the fire increases in size and heat. This will help to maintain a consistent temperature and prevent your fire from dying down.
Each log that you add will be on a slightly hotter, more energetic fire, and it will be able to quickly light the new piece of wood.
You can start decreasing the size of your logs in the final 1 to 3 hours that you’ll be burning. This will help to conserve your wood and prevent fires from getting too hot.
4. Make Sure Your Fire Has Oxygen
Wood and heat alone aren’t enough to create a long-lasting fire. It’s important that the fire is fed with oxygen in order to maintain a strong flame.
It’s usually best when oxygen is pulled into the lower central region of your fire. This is because the hottest part of the fire is typically near the bottom. The hot air will rise and carry the heat up through the flames.
The best way to achieve this is by using a fire pit with a spark screen. This will allow air to flow into the bottom of the fire while also preventing embers from escaping.
Building a teepee-style fire is another good option. This is where you stack your logs in the shape of a teepee with an opening at the top.
The opening allows oxygen to flow into the center of the fire while also providing a way for heat and smoke to escape.
You can also build a log cabin-style fire, which is similar to a teepee but with the logs placed in a horizontal log cabin style. This pulls oxygen in from the sides and bottom of the fire.
Whatever method you choose, be sure to keep an eye on your fire and make adjustments as needed.
You can use a hand fan to help increase the oxygen flow if your fire starts to die down. Simply use the fan sparingly to push air out of the center of the fire, creating a temporary vacuum. Then pause so that the oxygen has a chance to be drawn in.
Doing this too often can actually put out your fire, so use it sparingly and be patient.
You can also blow gently on the flames to increase oxygen flow. Be careful not to blow too hard or you could get a bunch of embers blowing back towards your face.
Be mindful of the wind as well, which can have a significant impact on your fire. If it’s blowing hard, you may need to build a windbreak to keep your fire going.
5. Choose the Right Night
As much as we would like to be able to control all of the conditions that affect our fires, this isn’t really possible, and nature has a role to play as well.
The best you can do is choose the right night to have your fire. Look for a clear night with little to no wind. This will help to prevent your fire from dying down or getting out of control.
It’s also important to consider the temperature. If it’s too hot, you may find it difficult to keep your fire going all night. There may even be a burn ban in your area, which means you’re not allowed to have a fire at all.
The ideal temperature for a campfire is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If it’s any hotter than that, you may want to consider making your fire smaller or using less wood.
Conversely, if it’s too cold, you’ll need to make sure your fire is big enough to keep you warm all night.
You should also have some extra wood on hand in case you need to add more to the fire.
Paying attention to humidity and rain is also important. If it’s too humid, your wood may be damp and difficult to light.
And if it’s raining, you’ll obviously need to take measures to keep your fire going and prevent it from getting wet.
Building a lean-to or using a tarp are both good options for keeping your fire dry in case of rain. If you don’t have a lot of experience with sheltering fires, you should research this beforehand. This will help you to avoid any accidents such as fires getting out of control or spreading to the surrounding area.
Of course, you can always choose not to have a fire at all if conditions are unfavourable. This is sometimes the best option, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Make sure you have alternatives in mind for cooking food and warming up your campers in case these conditions arise.
6. Use Slow Burning Woods
Did you know that different types of wood have different burn times?
Hardwoods like oak, hickory, or maple will last much longer than softwoods like pine. This is because hardwoods have a higher density and contain more energy.
So, if you want your fire to last all night, it’s important to use the right type of wood. Here is a list of some of the best woods for a long-lasting fire:
Many of these woods are commonly available both at a campground and for purchase elsewhere.
Since these slow-burning woods may take longer to light, it’s important to have plenty of tinder and kindling on hand. Tinder is small and easily combustible, while kindling is made of slightly larger pieces of wood that help the fire grow.
You can find tinder and kindling at most camping stores or even gather them yourself from nature. Just make sure that the materials are as dry as possible so they will catch fire easily. You can also use a commercial fire starter or even lighter fluid to get your fire going.
Here are some good tinder options:
- Dryer lint
- Cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly
- Pine needles
- Egg cartons
- Small twigs
Cut down the first few pieces of your slow-burning wood when starting your fire. This will help create a hotbed of coal that can then be used to ignite the larger pieces of wood.
7. Add Rocks to Your Fire
One way to make sure your fire lasts all night is to add rocks to it. This may seem counterintuitive, but it actually works.
The rocks will absorb the heat from the fire and then radiate that heat back out over time. This means that you’ll be able to enjoy the warmth of your fire long after it has died out as well as the next morning.
This is a great option if you have limited wood but want to prolong the life of your fire. It’s also a good way to conserve wood if you’re trying to be eco-friendly.
Of course, you’ll need to use the right type of rocks for this to work. Avoid any rocks that have been in the water as they may explode when heated. The best rocks to use are ones that are smooth and have a flat surface.
You can find these types of rocks near rivers or streams. Or if you’re lucky, there will be several near your camping site. Just make sure to put them back after using them if you’re camping in a public area.
Similar to the heat reflector, it’s important to keep these hot rocks away from small children and pets. They can easily be mistaken for cooler objects and can cause serious burns.
How Do You Build an Outdoor Fire?
Now that you know how to keep a fire roaring all night long, it’s time to learn how to build one.
Building a campfire is actually quite simple and only requires a few materials. You’ll need:
- A Lighter, matches, or flint
- A shovel
First, you’ll want to gather your tinder and kindling and create a small pile in the center of your fire pit. If you’re using a lighter, matches, or flint, make sure they’re easily accessible.
Once you have your small bits of fibers and wood in place, it’s time to light them. If you’re using a lighter, simply light the tinder and then let the fire grow.
If you’re using matches or flint, strike the match or flint against a rock to create a spark. Then, touch the spark on the tinder and blow on it gently until it catches fire.
Next, you’ll want to add your wood to the fire pit. Start with smaller pieces of wood and then add larger ones as the fire grows. Make sure to stack the wood in a way that will allow plenty of oxygen to reach the fire.
Once your larger firewood is lit, use the shovel to move any early coals around so that they’re evenly distributed. This will help your fire burn evenly and last longer.
Now you can simply add larger logs of wood to the fire and occasionally reposition them in order to increase airflow and prevent the fire from going out. Check out the below video which shows you just how to create the perfect campfire:
There are many ways to keep a campfire going all night. By using dry wood, building a reflector, and choosing the right type of wood, you can ensure that your fire burns long into the night.
Now that you know how to keep your campfire going all night, it’s time to put these methods into practice. So grab some wood, gather around the fire, and enjoy your evening under the stars.
Do you have any sure-fire tips for prolonging the life of a campfire? Or have you tried any of our methods with success? Be sure to share them with us!