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How to build the perfect campfire

Having wild camped a couple of times we are no strangers to building a campfire. We were also taught some new fire lighting skills whilst we were at Camp Wilderness last year by the Bushcraft Company.

A fire will not only provide you with much needed warmth - it is essential for outdoor cooking.

It's a good idea to think about how you will be lighting your fire - whether you'll take matches, a firestarter, wire wool and a battery - there are many options.

Building a campfire

Make sure you build a safe campfire away from overhanging branches and dry grass and leaves. Clear back the ground to the dirt - and, if you can, make a circle of rocks to contain the fire.

Take or find some tinder and kindling - whether it's bits of paper or dry leaves, dry grass or pine needles - and start collecting your fire wood.

You will need "matchsticks" these are basically twigs that are the diameter of a matchstick - a good pile of these is needed to start your fire.

You will also need an armful of finger sticks (you guessed it - sticks that are the width of a finger) and as many thumb-width sized sticks that you can find to finish off the fire.

Pile your kindling into the centre of the circle including your tinder and the matchstick twigs. With a match or firestarter hold the flame to the tinder until it catches. Add more twigs until you have a good flame.

Once you have the kindling burning strong, push it into a loose tee­-pee of small twigs, adding the finger sticks as the fire grows - then add the thumb-width sticks.

Cooking on a campfire

You should now have a pretty good fire going. It goes without saying - campfires are VERY hot. If you are going to cook on them be very careful and use metal utensils. Skewers are good for kebabs and toasting marshmallows but we've also found it useful to take a large frying pan and a metal grill which can be propped up over the fire. Silicone gloves would also be a good investment.

Tin foil comes in very useful too - you can bake potatoes in the embers of the fire if they are wrapped in tin foil.

Putting the fire out

Keep plenty of water handy and drown the fire with it making sure all the sticks and embers are wet, move rocks as there may be burning embers underneath.

Stir about the remains of the fire and add more water to make sure it is fully out and feel above it to make sure it is cold - as a final precaution gather up the cold embers and scatter them in the woodland. Always remember to leave the woodland as you found it.

There is something about cooking on a campfire that makes food taste extra good. Hopefully we've given you some useful tips.

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