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No matter where you are or what your situation is while camping, having a campfire is a great way to enjoy the entire experience. Whether it be for relaxing and toasting marshmallows or the main source to cook dinner, a campfire is a mainstay for many outdoorsmen and travelers. Thankfully, there are a few tips and tricks to know to optimize your campfire experience.
One way to enhance your experience is by making your campfire burn hotter. This will allow more people to enjoy the experience as well as make the fire more efficient for whatever your need is. Whether this just is for warmth or cooking food, having a hotter fire is a huge plus.
The Science Of A Campfire
If your new to campfires all-together, check out our guide here to How to Build a Campfire
Before you can know how to make your campfire burn hotter, it is important to understand the science behind it. With this background knowledge, the tips and tricks will make much more sense and can be practically applied.
There are three elements that all come together and form a fire: Oxygen, fuel, and energy. There cannot be fire without all three of these elements present and working in perfect harmony.
Fuel is the wood that is used for the fire to feed off of. Once you have viable fuel, energy is applied usually in the form of a spark or flame. As these two come together, Oxygen makes everything work together and your campfire is born.
This is important to note because when altering your fire, you are altering the science behind it. Now, you have the framework to make your campfire hotter!
4 Ways To Make A Fire Burn Hotter
Create better airflow
As mentioned above, no fire can happen without access to Oxygen. One of the biggest mistakes a beginner can make is by smothering a fire before it has the chance to take off. Creating better airflow will allow your campfire burn hotter and light quicker.
On the most basic level, blowing on an early flame will help kickstart your campfire. As your fire starts to build and can sustain itself with a constant flame, there is another strategy for adding more Oxygen to your fire.
There are a couple of companies that sell machines known as bellows that are either electric or manual. The entire use of these tools is to create a higher Oxygen content sent into your fire to increase the flame heat. However, these are fairly short-term solutions, so you need to be ready for another way to make your campfire burn hotter if you desire it to be even more intense.
Use Dry Fuel
The next tip may seem obvious, but it is more important than you may realize. The dryer the wood that you can use, the better off you are. This not only makes lighting your fire much easier, but the campfire will burn much hotter.
It isn’t impossible to start a fire with wet wood, but once lit, the fire will not be very hot compared to a dry wood fire. Plus, you will spend way more time trying to light a wet fire than a dry fire. So, if you have the option, the dryer the better.
So, when finding wood to use, pick the aged, dry option over the young, green option. When a piece of wood of dried, all of the inner moisture is gone, and the fire will fill the fuel quicker and thus create a better, hotter flame.
Use Softer Wood
Another way to make the fire hotter is by using softer woods. To fully understand this tip, you need to know a little bit about wood. Generally speaking, the two types of woods are hard and soft. Each one can be broken down, but for the sake of this article, we are only going to focus on softwoods.
This is because softwoods burn better and hotter than hardwoods. A big reason why softer woods burn better because is they dry out much quicker. Hardwoods are far denser and will hold inner moisture for long periods.
There is the main perk of hardwoods that you should consider. Hardwoods will make your fire last far longer as it takes a significant amount of time to burn down. However, this long burn will not be as hot as what softwoods can offer. You will have to add more wood over time, but the experience will be significantly a campfire that burns hotter.
Some examples of softwoods include birch, cherry, pine, oak, and ash, just to name a few.
Spread The Base Out
Finally, a great way to make your fire burn hotter is by increasing the size of the firebase and cover more surface area. When I talk about the “base’ of a fire, this means to use the entire fire ring that is at your disposal. Rather than building the fire up, build it out, safely.
When the foundation of a campfire is larger, more Oxygen can get to it. In turn, you make your campfire burn hotter.
There is a technique to making this successful. When starting to build your fire, keep it small, and build up as it goes. That is obvious, but this trick comes into play once you have some coals established. Coals form after your fuel starts to break down and form your base layer.
Once you have your coals, use a stick or fire-proof poker to spread them out enough to keep the fire going but the layer is spread out as much as you can. This allows for more oxygen exposure and creates a hotter fire.
I hope that this information will set you up with a far hotter campfire than you usually have! It doesn’t take much for you to maximize your campfire and get the most out of it with a hotter flame. This will cook your food faster, warm you up quicker, and improve your overall experience tremendously.
For more information from the Forest Service about campfires, check out their helpful page here, Forest Service Campfire Information.
Just remember the three elements of fire (fuel, Oxygen, and energy) and how changing each one of these slightly can bring your experience to a whole new level! Happy camping!
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