Once you’ve made your way to the campsite and set up a tent, it’s time to begin collecting firewood. Getting some initial firewood now means you won’t have to try and find it when the sun goes down. But not all wood is suitable for use in a campfire. Some varieties burn more efficiently than others, which is why it’s important to familiarize yourself with the different types.
The drier the wood, the hotter and more easily it burns. Therefore, you should avoid picking up wet or damp wood, and instead focus your efforts on wood that “snaps.” If it recently rained, you may have to search for some dry wood. Check under downed trees, against ridges, under debris, etc.
There are dozens of different tree varieties in North America, though one of the best for use in a campfire is oak. It’s highly dense, meaning it will burn for a long time once ignited. The only problem with oak is getting it lit. Because of its dense structure, it takes a really hot flame to ignite oak firewood. So, if you’re having trouble getting it lit, consider placing some less-dense firewood underneath and/or using more kindling. Once lit, oak will burn well into the night and possibly the morning.
Another excellent type of firewood for a campfire is maple. It’s classified as a deciduous hardwood species, and like oak, maple is also a dense and hot-burning wood. Maple also produces little smoke, making it an excellent choice for social settings such as bonfires where smoke can otherwise be a problem.
If the wood is rotted, it’s best to steer clear and choose different firewood for your campfire. Not only does it contain a higher moisture content, but it’s also less dense, meaning it won’t burn as long. Furthermore, rotted wood produces more smoke, which is something you should try to avoid.
When collecting firewood, pick up small twigs and branches to use when initially lighting your campfire. You can still use tinder and kindling, but you’ll probably need smaller pieces of actual firewood to get it going. But once the fire is going, you can add larger pieces of wood on top, which should keep it burning.
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