In today’s article, we cover campfires, whether they are on the ground, fire pits or Swedish log candles. We also look at how to keep the camp fire burning through the night
There’s no denying the fact that a campfire is the best thing about sleeping in the great outdoors. Of course, camping is always a fun holiday for families and groups, but the ability to have a fire going in the evening really brings the whole experience together. There are many campsites in the UK that allow campfires on the ground, and some that will allow raised fires only – great if you have a portable fire pit to bring with you.
The Easy Camp Campfire is a portable fire pit with tripod is a great option for having a campfire anywhere and for cooking at the same time, and at under £40 it won’t break the bank. It can be taken on holiday, used at home and even taken to friends and relatives’ houses for barbecues and social gatherings. There’s no reason why you have to be camping in order to have a fire outside, and fire pits are fast becoming a trendy thing to have in the garden, along with outdoor ovens, smokers and traditional barbecues. The Outwell portable fire pit folds up for easy carrying and comes with a cover to stop spitting embers escaping. As the grill rests on top of the structure there is no need to transport and set up the tripod that comes with the Easy Camp model and it is supplied with a lifting tool to remove the grill and cover when it is hot.
For those who prefer to build a fire straight on the ground there are many techniques for laying these fires, which we have covered in previous blogs, but the self-feeding campfire is one for the advanced fire builder. There are frames available for setting up this style of fire, but it is easy enough to build your own with four sturdy green logs. It is vital to use green wood for the frame, as this will not burn easily and will keep the structure solid all night. The idea is to set up four poles in a V shape, with a space in between, in which to build the initial fire. Green wood can also be used to raise the fire off the ground and keep air circulating into it. Once a fire has been lit in the centre, round logs are rested against the v shapes and as a log burns down, gravity feeds the next one in, taking away the need to regularly feed the fire. This is a great technique for building a fire that will last all night and can be valuable in cold weather when you don’t want to be re-lighting a fire to get a morning cuppa.
Swedish log candles are another long-lasting source of heat and light, but are more suited to providing ambience and a place to cook rather than a central heat source. They are made from large logs, with a cross cut in from the top about ¾ of the way down, although some people make three diagonal cuts rather than a cross. A small fire is lit at the top and pushed down into the notches which causes the log to burn from the inside out, meaning that, as with the self-feeding fire, there is no fire tending needed. It is vital that the log sits level on the ground, as you do not want to have to pick one of these up if it falls over while lit. You can even cook on these with a pan set on top of the log. They are easy to make but can be purchased if you don’t have a chainsaw or large enough logs to make your own.
We have mentioned this nifty gadget before, but it is worth revisiting due to the ingenuity of the device. The BioLite camp stove is not strictly a campfire, but it does burn wood rather than using gas or solid fuel. It can be used to cook over, will provide some heat and also charges electrical items and is a lightweight and practical solution to cooking and making hot drinks while camping, without having to carry gas bottles or solid fuel blocks. It keeps the fire off the ground and is very useful for power cuts at home, as it not only provides heat for cooking but will keep mobile phones charged.
In-tent heating is another matter altogether, but there are portable log burners that can be retro-fitted into bell tents that will provide heat and cooking functions inside a tent, all while keeping the fire off the ground and safely contained. The flue lets fumes and smoke escape from the tent, but they can also be used outside as well. We have looked at these brilliant portable log burners before, so if you want to find out more, take a look at our blog from February.