The secret to lighting a campfire quickly, and keeping it going all night long? Finding the best firewood! The right campfire wood can make your campsite entertaining a whole lot easier and comfortable, without heavy smoke or effort to keep it burning. To help you understand what is the best firewood to use on a camping trip, we’ve bundled our expert tips in one, handy overview.
In this Buying Guide, we’ll explain the differences between hardwood and softwood, and fast-burning and slow-burning wood. We’re also highlighting the best woods for a firepit and campfire, and which types of wood you should avoid, for example, because they produce a lot of smoke… Furthermore, we’re sharing some tips and tricks on how to start a fire at your campsite.
We’ve also included some top-rated firewood sets available via Amazon. These campfire wood sets are a convenient alternative to scoping around your campsite looking for twigs, and contain the essentials to get a roaring fire going quickly, easily!
Our Top 10 Campfire Wood Essentials are:
- Fatwood Fire Starter Kit
- Zorestar 3-in-1 Fire Starters Box
- Timbertote 0.75 Cubic Feet Natural Hardwood Mix
- Smoak Firewood Kiln Dried Premium Oak Campfire Wood
- Smoak Campfire Kiln Dried Oak Oak Wood
- EasyGoProducts Fatwood Starter Kit
- 500-Piece Kindling Wood Sticks Set
- Light-A-Fire 100% All Natural Starter Pods
- CHENCY 100% Natural Fire Starters
- Oak Kiln-Dried Firewood Box
Check out our Best Wood for Campfire Buying Guide and Product Guide below, and upgrade your camping comfort by investing in the right kind of wood to get the fire – and the outdoor party – started!
The 3 Main Campfire Components
Before we dive into our review of the best wood for building a campfire, it’s important to understand the difference between tinder, kindling, and firewood: the 3 main components of any campfire. Tinder is a term for small natural mass, such as leaves, moss, wood shavings, and other small scraps used as firestarters to create the initial fire. Kindlings are small twigs and branches, about the thickness of a pencil, used to supplement the tinder to help the initial fire take shape. Firewood, also called fuelwood, is the main type of wood you use to fuel the fire, once you’ve got the flames going. Together, tinder, kindling, and firewood (fuelwood) built a great campfire, though you can replace tinder with other firestarters if desired.
In the product overview below, we’ve included some of the best woods for campfires available on Amazon. Buying your firestarters, kindling sticks, and firewood online is a convenient and hassle-free alternative to collecting your own. We’ve included all 3 types of materials: firestarters kits, kindling sets, and ready-cut firewood boxes. You’re welcome! Discover our favorite Amazon Campfire Wood products below:
Top 10 Products to Get the Fire Started
Fatwood Fire Starter Kit
Zorestar 3-in-1 Fire Starters Box
Timbertote 0.75 Cubic Feet Natural Hardwood Mix Fire Wood
Smoak Firewood Kiln Dried Premium Oak Campfire Wood
Smoak Campfire Kiln Dried Oak Cooking Wood
EasyGoProducts Fatwood Starter Kit
500-Piece Kindling Wood Sticks Set
Light-A-Fire 100% All Natural Starter Pods
CHENCY 100% Natural Fire Starters
Oak Kiln-Dried Firewood Box
Best Campfire Wood Comparrison Chart
Finding the Best Wood to Fuel a Campfire
The difference between Hardwood and Softwood
When shopping for wood for a campfire and/or fire pit, you’ll come across two important terms: hardwood and softwood. These terms describe the type of wood and are important buying factors to consider. Both hardwood and softwood can be used to light a campfire, and each type has specific pros and cons.
As its name already suggests, hardwood is a denser type of firewood, meaning the wood is packed tightly. The density of wood directly affects the speed at which the wood burns. The harder/denser the wood, the slower it will burn. This is why hardwood is also referred o as slow-burning wood and makes it the type of choice for campers who want to keep a fire lit all night long. The advantage of using hardwood is that you’ll have to restock/refill your fire pit or campfire less often. In effect, hardwood fires require less tending than softwood. Another pro is that hardwood burns hotter than softwood. This means that if you want a campfire with plenty of heat output for cooking, hardwood is recommended. A con is that hardwood can be more tricky to light up properly: meaning you’ll have to be patient when starting your fire.
Trees that fall in the hardwood category include oak, hickory, maple, walnut, ash, mahogany, beech, poplar, elm, and birch.
Softwood is less dense than hardwood, making it easier to ignite and faster in wood burn time. Softwood is great for creating a crackling campfire quickly, but also requires regular restocking and tending. Lightweight softwood tends to be very resinous, which makes it burn extra hot and fast, resulting in quite a few sparks and crackles. If you want a bonfire style firepit, this could be exactly the type of hot you’re looking for. However, if you’re looking for firewood that has a slow-burn and will keep you warm for hours: we recommend hardwood over softwood. Furthermore, softwood is known to produce quite a lot of smoke, which can be a bit of a nuisance. That said, smoke from a campfire is also said to deter mosquitos, so this isn’t necessarily a con.
Instead of using softwood for your entire campfire, we’d recommend choosing it for kindling instead. Softwood is a great natural fire starter and can help easily help you light hardwood when used as kindling. Even better: you can even purchase ready-to-go softwood kindling sticks online – saving you the hassle of roaming around your campsite looking for appropriate wood.
Softwoods (a.k.a. coniferous trees) include pine, cedar, spruce, fir, and larch.
The Best Types of Firewood
Now that we’ve determined the differences between hardwood and softwood, let’s take a closer look at our favorite types of wood to use for campfires and firepits:
One of the most common types of firewood is oak: a hardwood that, when dry, produces high heat and has a long burn time. Oak is good firewood for campfires due to its slow-burning properties and high-density. Oak is also known for having a low output of smoke and sparks. Making it an ideal choice for campsite cooking or roasting ‘s mores. Do note that when using oak, using dry wood or seasoned wood is always recommended, as freshly cut oak doesn’t have the same slow-burning quality.
Maple is another popular hardwood for campfires and firepits, as its high-density results in a slow-burning time – ideal for a campfire that needs to remain warm all night long. When burned, maple produces high heat and little smoke – which also makes it suitable for fireside cooking. You can use all varieties of maple to fuel a campfire, including sugar maple and red maple. Do note that maple isn’t ideal for kindling due to its high-density, which is why we recommend using softwood kindling or other natural fire starters to start your maple wood campfire.
Hickory is known for having one of the highest heat outputs of all hardwoods: perfect for creating a good campfire. Hickory is dense and contains very little moisture, resulting in not just a high heat output but also a slow-burn time: combining the best of both worlds. Once lit, a hickory wood campfire requires little tending and will stay warm for hours. Hickories are also a popular choice for campsite cooking since they can add a delicious smoky flavor to your meats and dishes.
Commonly found in hardwood floors, Black Cherry can also be used campfires and fire pits. This type of hardwood produces little smoke and sparks. The biggest perk of using Black Cherry in a campfire is its smell: as the wood releases a lovely aroma – great for slow-cooking meats! Do note that black cherry firewood has a relatively low heat output when burned, which makes it less ideal for heating compared to heavier woods like Hickory and Oak. That said, if you simply want to light a campfire for fun, not to heat up, Black Cherry and its delicious fragrance could be a great choice!
Douglas Fir is officially classed as a softwood, but this type of wood is denser (harder) than some actual hardwoods, such as chestnut. This makes it one of the best softwoods to use for a campfire or firepit. Besides producing great heat output and relatively little smoke, Douglas fir also smells wonderful when burned – adding fresh aromas to your camping entertainment. Do note that campers recommend letting Douglas fir wood dry/season for a full year before packing it on a camping trip – as this improves its burn quality.
Ashwood is ideal for fueling up a campfire to high temperatures. This type of American hardwood is known for its ability to burn very hot, ideal on colder nights around the fire pit or campfire. This all-round favorite amongst campers also burns slow and steady, requiring less tending than softwoods. Any type of ashwood will work for a campfire, but for the highest heat output, choose white ash. If you plan to use ashwood for a campfire, let it season for a year for the best results.
Beechwood burns hot and clean and has one of the highest heat outputs of all hardwoods, especially when you let it season for a year. Beechwood can produce high heat, without the nuisance of a lot of smoke or sparks – perfect for campfire cooking or roasting marshmallows. This type of wood is dense, heavy, and can burn for a long-time, meaning you can keep a campfire going with beech for hours on end.
Types of Wood to Avoid for Campfires
Are there any types of wood we’d avoid for campfires and fire pits? Yes, though in the end – this is a matter of personal preference. Our team agreed that most softwoods, like alder and spruce, are tricky to use. Though they burn quickly and easily and can add a wonderful crackling noise to your fire, they also tend to produce quite a lot of smoke and sparks. This, especially when sitting around a campfire with a large group, can put someone at risk of being smoked-out or burned.
That said, as long as you keep a close eye on softwoods, and tend the fire regularly, they can still be a suitable option. Plus, softwood can be great for kindling – as it burns easily and can act as a firestarter when paired with hardwood logs… If you want good heat and a slow-burn, we’d avoid softwood as the main component to fuel your fire, and recommend a hardwood like oak, maple, or hickory instead.
How to Start a Campfire
You can easily start a campfire at your campsite in just a few simple steps. Below, we’re giving a quick overview of these steps, helping you start a fire without the hassle.
Collect Your 3 Main Components
To get a campfire going, you’ll need 3 types of main components: tinder, kindling, and firewood (the main type of wood to fuel your fire):
Tinder is the term for easy-burn material that catches fire quickly, such as leaves, wood shavings, grass, bark, etc. Whatever tinder you choose, make sure the material is throughout dried – as wet tinder simply won’t work.
Kindlings are small twigs and branches, use to fuel to the fire once you’ve sparked your initial flame. As tinder burns fast and furiously, you’ll need something slightly bigger and with a longer burn time to grow the fire and keep the flames going. When using kindling, make sure that it’s about the thickness of a pencil, not too thin – and not too thick: creating the perfect burn. Just like tinder, kindling does need to be fully dried to burn properly, so don’t just wet twigs or branches in your campfire setup. You can buy pre-cut kindling sticks on Amazon, which save you the hassle from scouring a campsite for twigs. Simply stick a few pre-bought kindling sticks in your backpack before your set off on your camping trip and voila: you’re good to go!
Firewood to Fuel Your Fire
Fuelwood is the main type of wood you use to keep your burning. You can choose all kinds of wood, including softwood and hardwood options. Keep in mind that for a campfire, logs don’t need to be the same size as you’d use in a fireplace – as this only means a fire will take longer to become hot. If you’re debating which is the best type of firewood for you, we recommend you take a look at the top section of our Buying Guide. Here, we are highlighting our favorites types of wood for a campfire, such as oak, maple, beechwood, and ashwood. The best wood for campfires is dried and seasoned for months (or even years), reducing moisture to ensure a clean, long, and hot burn. If you don’t want the hassle of chopping your firewood at your log cabin or campsite, simply purchase it online! There are various firewood bundles available directly via Amazon. This means that instead of pouring sweat and tears into chopping and drying, you can get it delivered to your front door – much more convenient! We’ve even included a few of our Amazon favorites in this post, navigating you towards the firewood products worthy of your time, money, and attention. Collecting the right type of firewood to fuel your campfire has never been easier!
Create a Fire Bed
When starting a campfire, make sure to select a safe fire bed first. You want to pick a location away from trees, bushes, and other vegetation that could burn. A fire bed should be on bare earth to prevent the spread of the fire, so avoid grassy areas. If you’re unable to find a place without vegetation, create your fire bed by digging and/or raking away the plants/grass until you’re left with a bare patch of soil.
Once you’ve cleared the spot you want to build your campfire, create a fire bed. Simply scoop some dirt and place it in the center of your selected spot to form a ‘bed’ about 4 inches in elevation. This will serve as the base of your campfire.
Lay Your Campfire
There are multiple ways to lay/build your campfire, though our favorite lay is the classic teepee:
A teepee lay is a classic and easy way to start a fire. Firstly, you place your tinder in the middle of your fire bed. Secondly, you form a teepee shape above your tinder using kindling. When building your kindling teepee, leave an opening on the side the wind is blowing against. This helps promote airflow and will brush the flames straight towards the kindling, fueling the flames. Once you’ve built a kindling teepee, create a larger teepee on the outside by using your fuelwood (kind of like a layered cake). When you’ve created both teepee structures, hold a match or lighting under the tinder in the center and let it burn until the kindling teepee is fully burned up. Then continue to add regular firewood as desired.
Tip: Want more lay options to construct a campfire? Simply type in ‘How to Lay a Campfire’ in Youtube, and you’ll get dozens of usual hits on expert videos with step-by-step instructions.
How to Extinguish a Campfire
Knowing how to put out a campfire is equally important as knowing how to start one. You don’t simply want to leave your fire pit or campfire smoldering, as this presents a big fire risk to your surroundings, plus may harm local wildlife or other campers. Extinguishing a campfire is relatively straightforward and easy, as long as you follow the correct steps:
Reserve Enough Time
It takes a while to get a campfire going, but it also takes quite some time to fully put it out. That is why we recommend you start putting out the fire at least 30 minutes before you’re due to leave, as this will give you sufficient time to extinguish and clean the fire properly.
Be Gentle with Water
Your first instinct may be to pour a bucket of water on your campfire, but you should never do this when camping in a public location. When you flood the fire pit in one go, you’ll completely ruin it for others who may want to use it after you. Though this isn’t an issue when building a fire in your backyard, other campers at public campsites won’t appreciate your frantic bucket action. Instead, we recommend gently pouring smaller amounts of water (or sprinkling) on the campfire until you’ve put out the embers and charcoal.
Stir the Embers and Coals
Whilst you are sprinkling water over the charcoal/embers, make sure to simultaneously stir them with a stick, shovel, or another heat-proof utensil. This guarantees all the remaining residue in the campfire/firepit getts sufficiently wet. Once the hissing sounds and steaming stops, you’ll know you’re nearly done. To check whether the embers have sufficiently cooled down, hold the back of your hand near the remaining residue (without actually touching anything!). If there is no more radiant heat emitted from the campfire, you should be good to move on to the final step: disposing of the ash.
Clean Up the Ashes
Just like you don’t want to leave a flooded firepit for the next camping enthusiast, neither do you want to leave a pit filled with ashes. If you’ve built your fire bed in the middle of nature, you should also clean up properly according to the Leave-No-Trace method. As the ashes of the firepit are natural residue, you can simply scatter them around your campsite, or bury them in a shallow pit – no need to carry them out of the park. Just make sure you know which way the wind is blowing, as you don’t want to send a flume of ashes straight into another tent or your face.
Recap: Best Campfire Woods on Amazon
Want to get your fire started, without the hassle of searching your campsite for suitable firewood, kindling, and/or tinder? Then upgrade your camping comfort by buying your campfire essentials before you leave on your camping trip. From slow-burn oak firewood to instant fire starters: you can find all your campfire components ready-to-use on Amazon. Even better: these wood kits are delivered straight to your front door, so no muscle power is required. These are our Top 10 Campfire Wood Sets on Amazon: