Camping 101: The 5 Most Basic Types of Campfires And What They’re For

Learning to build a campfire from scratch is a feat. But knowing the right type of fire to build for your needs is equally important. The type of fire you need to build depends on how much wood you have and what you’re going to use it for. There are certain types best for cooking, for keeping you warm or for a large group of campers.

Whatever your purpose, here are the 5 most basic types of campfires and what they’re for:


Teepee is the most common and most popular type of campfire. The cone-shaped structure has a base that’s wide and circular which allows a good flow of oxygen. In turn, this type of fire burns hot – ideal for gathering around it for a small group of people. It’s also good for cooking quick meals and for warming. Teepee burns quickly, though – it consumes wood rapidly so it requires constant maintenance.

Log Cabin

The log cabin fire is created by stacking thick logs parallel to one another, leaving space in the middle to allow air to flow. This is a slow-burning fire, but requires little maintenance and burns hot for a long time. The log cabin is ideal for cooler weather when you need to keep warm through the night.


Also called the upside down pyramid, this type of campfire is similar to log cabin. It is made by stacking thick wood together forming a pound sign and the fire is burned from the top, creating a platform of coals. Because of this, the platform campfire is most ideal for cooking food.


If you’re low on firewood, this is the way to go. The star fire burns the wood bit by bit unlike other types which burn the wood all at once. It is a slow burning fire that creates a good flame. This can also be extinguished easily just by pulling the logs away from the center. Start by creating a small tepee fire then lay 5 thick logs around it, forming a “star”.

Lean To

Having a difficult time creating a campfire because of windy weather? The lean to fire is your best choice because it uses its own wood as a windbreaker. Even though it’s windy, this type of campfire requires little maintenance.

Now that you know the 5 most basic types of campfire and what they’re for, you’ll be more confident on your next camping trip!


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