How to make your campfire burn all night

Wednesday, November 25, 2015 by

( You’re out and about and you know you’re not going to get back to your home base so you decide it’s time to find a place to hole up for the evening.

You drop your pack, get out your shelter gear and set it up. Now, as the sun begins to set, the temperature starts to drop and you know you’re going to need the help of a fire to keep warm for the night.

One of the biggest drawbacks to a campfire, though, is that oftentimes they don’t last all night – or even half the night. So what can you do to make your campfire last so it will keep you warmer, longer?

As noted by Jarhead Survivor over at, there is a rule of thumb for firewood that says a log will burn an hour for every inch of thickness. So generally speaking, an eight-inch log should burn for about eight hours, though of course, in the wild, nothing is 100 percent certain.

To start, consider locating a couple of logs about four inches in thickness, and perhaps about 1.5-2 feet long. Use your survival axe to chop them up.

Once back at your camp, locate and prepare a campfire site by clearing the ground of leaves and other debris, as best you can, so that nothing but soil remains. Cut four green poles about four feet high, then flatten the two logs by shaving about two inches of wood off of each length, to leave a flat side on one side of each log. If you stacked one on top of the other they would lay flat without support.

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Next, drive your poles into the ground and stack the two logs one on top of the other, with tinder and kindling between them (here are some ideas for kindling/tinder).

Now, understand this will not be a huge fire; it’s being designed to smolder more than anything so it will last most, if not all, night, depending on how thick your wood is. Hint: Cut a couple extra logs so you can toss one into the smoldering coals during the night if you wake up, perhaps to relieve yourself, to make your fire last even longer.

Fire duration will also depend upon what kind of wood you are burning, wind speed and direction, dampness, etc.

The way this fire is set up, you’re likely to get a small blaze that will last for a few minutes, but afterward you should wind up with a fire that smoldered between the two logs. Tip: Fires like this emit a great deal of smoke so if you’re using it for heat, try to make sure you’re downwind so you’re not breathing smoke all night.

Check out this video for more instruction:

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