A campfire is a comfort, blessing, and a trouble all at the same time. Keep it simple and keep it small, that’s an unspoken campfire etiquette between my circle of RVers. 

There are two sides when it comes to a campfire. The first one being those who don’t find making a campfire necessary, especially during the summer and the other side making a campfire every chance that they get.

Some of those who chose to light a campfire may not be aware with good fire etiquette. Here, I will share with you some of the rules when it comes to a campfire. 

Lighting a Campfire

Lighting a campfire is harder than you think. A lot of people know how to start a fire by theory but don’t know how to actually do it since they think it isn’t really necessary when it is. This could really help when you’re in a survival situation.

If you like camping often, it’s nice to know how to start a campfire using different objects. Here are ways to start a campfire using different objects:


These are very cheap and lightweight. They’re also very common in starting a campfire since you could ignite the fire with any rough surface. This and dry timber can give you your campfire.


This is another cheap and lightweight option. Compared to matches, this doesn’t require a rough surface to ignite a fire. 

Magnesium Strip or Scraper

A magnesium strip is lightweight and can be used repeatedly to start a fire. With a knife, you can scrape magnesium shavings into tinder and then scrape the knife to ignite the shavings. 

Here are two primitive fire-making techniques to create a fire. Though it is quite hard to master, once you learn how to do it properly, it will be really helpful.

Bow Drill Set

You will need a fireboard, top piece, spindle, and a wooden bow with a string. Pull the bow back and forth while putting downward pressure on the spindle and into the fireboard. This creates an ember hole in the fireboard. The ember then can be transferred and then blown into flames.

Hand Drill

This is similar to a bow drill but a hand drill utilizes a stick that is rotated by spinning it , creating an ember.

Firesteel or Sparkling tool

This creates a hot spark when the back of a knife is forced down its length. The sparks ignite the material below and create a fire. However, doing this is a very frustrating skill that you must practice to learn how to do it with ease.

To begin with, the back of the knife should be at a 30 degrees angle from the axis of the sparkling tool. The position of both is very important. The pressure between the knife and the sparkling tool should be heavy. The speed however, must not be too quick or it will lose control. 


A tinder can be very helpful when starting a campfire as it can help maintain the campfire’s flame. There are many kinds of tinder found in nature and there are some that can be bought as well. 

Tinders come in different forms depending on your geographic region. In the eastern part of the USA, you can use the deciduous tree while in the western part, the most popular are pine needles and bark from juniper trees.

A few of the common forms of tinder are:

  • Pine needles
  • Leaves
  • Bark
  • Grasses

To avoid getting an eyesore, avoid getting materials from live trees and plants. 


These are a 15 inch long piece of standing deadwood. Use your knife to and shave each curl of the stick to at least an inch from the bottom. It is complete once you have 30 curls at the bottom of the stick.

If you’re having a hard time creating feather stick, it might be because your knife is not sharp enough. You must always keep your knife sharp. You’ll only hurt yourself more putting extra effort using a blunt knife than with a sharp knife. 

Creating a Nest of Tinder

After gathering tinder, create a small nest. Make a hole in the nest to carry the flame. Make sure the tinder is facing upwards as a flame burns up.

Man-made Tinder

There are materials laying around your house that could perform like tinder. These materials are:

  •  Cotton balls
  • Lint from dryer
  • Cardboard
  • Paper
  • Newspaper

How to Produce the Flame

Put your tinder on a cleared and solid base then place the end of your sparkling tool on the tinder. Put the top of the knife at the top of the sparkling tool and produce a spark on the tinder. By now, the tinder should have a small flame that you must nurture for it to grow bigger.

A silver birch tree works really well but if you can’t find any, you can use a feathestick. For you to succeed, make sure the feather stick is of excellent quality and your technique must be on point. 

Disposal of Campfire Ashes

In popular camping areas, they have established campfire rings that campground staffs clean and maintain. But at remote campgrounds there’s no one maintaining the campsite. Hence, it’s up to individual hikers to clean after themselves. 

Cleaning up campfire ashes is an easy task but you get dirty. You must first make sure the campfire is dead-out and the coals are cold to touch. Gather all the ashes in the center of the pit and grind them by using either your hand or a camp shovel. 

After all the ashes have been crushed, grab a handful and scatter them in the woods. Make sure not to dump them in one pile. Repeat this process until the pit is clean. 


Make sure to check the regulations of the campsite before starting a fire. 

Use large rocks for the fire pit if there’s none at the campsite.

To extinguish the fire, use water or dirt.

Make the campfire away from overhanging trees and keep the firewood away from the fire pit.

Don’t leave your campfire unattended.


To conclude, be responsible and make sure to create campfires in a safe and responsible manner.