The campfire at a campsite is like a kitchen in a house--it's where everything happens! People love gathering around a campfire to socialize, eat, or just relax after a day of adventure. The campfire has many uses: warmth, cooking, and illumination. In order to make the most of your campfire, follow these tricks for an amazing campfire experience.
Reducing the Amount of Smoke in Your Fire
Sometimes a campfire can produce so much smoke that you can't stand being near it! This is usually due to the wood in the bottom of the fire pit extinguishing because it doesn't have enough oxygen.
To avoid getting smoked out, change how you make your fire ring. By putting a tall rock at one end (preferably the down-wind side if there is one) and leaving the opposite end open, you have created a way for oxygen to get in and a place for the smoke to go out. The smoke will be attracted to the tall rock and keep it out of your eyes. Remember to use the driest wood you can find as well. Moisture in the wood will always result in smoke as it’s prohibiting combustion and dousing the fire within the wood.
Keep the Bugs Away
To help keep bugs away, toss a sage bundle into your campfire. The smell and the amount of smoke and heat the sage produces helps to drive the pesky insects away from your campsite. You can also use citronella leaves and bark from a cedar tree for the same effect.
If you want your fire to burn all through the night, you will want to build it a bit differently than the traditional methods. Create a self-feeding fire for this. With this method, you're basically building the fire upside down. Start with your large pieces of wood on the bottom and build up to the tinder. This will burn downward and slowly. You can also get more wood on the fire and place it closer together since the oxygen source is from the top.
Fun Fire Reactions
There are things you can add to a campfire to create effects with the flames. You'll be amazed!
- Sprinkle sugar over the fire and you’ll get sparks!
- Toss in a few handfuls of powdered coffee creamer for flashes!
- You can change the colors of your flames with some Colorflame Crystals. You can purchase them, but it’s much more fun to make them yourself!
- DIY Flame Color Crystals
- What you will need:
- Candle Wax
- Paper Cups
- Chemical reactor depending on the color you want to make:
- White – Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom salt)
- Light Green – Borax (found near the laundry soap)
- Orange – Calcium Chloride (the stuff that comes in your shoe box and beef jerky that says “DO NOT EAT” and keeps everything dry)
- Green – Copper Sulfate (found near pool cleaning supplies)
- Pink – Lithium Chloride (order from Amazon.com)
- Red – Strontium Chloride (inside road flares)
- Purple – Potassium Chloride (sold as “light” salt by the spices)
- How to make it:
- Melt your candle wax
- Get an empty tin can and place it in a pan.
- Fill the pan with a few inches of water.
- Boil the water until the wax melts.
- Put about ¼” of your chemical in the bottom of a paper cup.
- Pour melted wax over the chemical in the cup, making sure it is completely covered.
- Let the wax cool and harden.
- The next time you’re around the fire, throw a cup in and watch your flames changes colors!